ESPN’s rolling out a project ranking the top 500 “NBA” players. Robert Vaden (499) was the first Thunderer to appear with Byron Mullens at 462 and Cole Aldrich and Reggie Jackson popping up in the 420s. Yay?
Zach Lowe of SI is in the top 20 of his list and has Russell Westbrook 12th: “In other words: After three NBA seasons, Westbrook has some work to do to reach his potential as a point guard. He’s 22, and he barely played point guard before entering the NBA. Too much of this criticism missed a very fundamental thing, though: The Thunder had a top-five offense all season with Westbrook leading the way. Scoring was not Oklahoma City’s problem, in the big picture. It ranked so high despite starting Thabo Sefolosha at shooting guard; monkeying around with Jeff Green, who just didn’t fit; trading Green for Kendrick Perkins, a limited offensive player who was limited even more as he recovered from a knee injury; and relying on Serge Ibaka, a raw offensive player, to take Green’s minutes.”
Via SBN, KD scored 42 at the Goodman Sunday: “Add another notch on the Kevin Durant summer league belt. The Oklahoma City Thunder star scored “only” 42 points to lead Awash & Associates to a 140-124 win over Linkin Park in the Goodman League championship game at Spingarn High School on Sunday. There’s no video yet, but rest assured, once it’s posted, we’ll bring it to you. Former Virginia Tech guard Brian Chase added 28 points, and current Memphis Grizzlies guard Josh Selby chipped in with 26 to lead Awash. Awash had more NBA talent, but Linkin Park hung in there thanks to Dele “Daylight” Ojo, Donte Greene of the Sacramento Kings and Gooman League legend Hugh “Baby Shaq” Jones. In the end, though, Durant was too good, as Awash never really trailed in getting the win.”
Eric Freeman of BDL on KD asking Stephen Jackson for advice: “Being friends with Stephen Jackson or having a lot of tattoos doesn’t mean that everyone’s wrong about Durant. It just serves as a reminder that he needs to be viewed in full rather than as a totem of simplified morality for certain observers to brandish against all that makes them uncomfortable in the modern sports landscape. People are more complicated than that, and we do Durant a disservice if we don’t consider him as such.”
Henry Abbott of TrueHoop talked with KD’s agent Aaron Goodwin: “I have always seen overseas markets as huge opportunities for NBA players,” says Goodwin, “but to do it properly, where the players shared in the licensing and marketing. These opportunities did not exist. The players’ ability to openly explore overseas relationships was primarily through programs run by the NBA or endorsement relationships. Because of the lockout, there is a window for the players to explore these opportunities for themselves and expand their own brands.”