Beckley Mason of ESPN.com on if the Nuggets can contend: “The Nuggets are deep with speed. There won’t be many lineups that don’t have a decided collective advantage in end-to-end quickness against just about every team. But speed isn’t like size. Andrew Bynum is the biggest guy in the league whether he wants to be or not on a given night. But a fast player is only as fast as he chooses to play. For the Nuggets to max out their ability, every player will need to commit to playing at that intense pace because though they have loads of skill, the peak talent on the Nuggets isn’t anything to shout about. This team is all about motor, about using effort level to unleash wave after wave of talented athletes toward the rim.”
FIBA is considering adding 3-on-3 to the Olympics and Ben Golliver of CBSSports.com looks at what America’s team might look like: “LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul. Undersized, sure, but with premier play-making, shot-making, excellent defense and commitment. Could struggle on the boards but a match-up nightmare sporting three of the best five players on the planet. The presumptive gold medal favorites.”
Chris Mannix of SI.com on Team USA’s Rio roster: “Team USA’s top scorer at the 2010 FIBA World Championship (22.8 points) picked up right where left off in London, leading the gold medalists with 19.5 points and making 52.3 percent from three-point range. Durant’s fluid perimeter stroke removes the need for a shooting specialist, and his size gives the U.S. lineup versatility. They don’t get more selfless than Durant, who didn’t offer a trace of annoyance when initially benched in favor of Anthony while Krzyzewski experimented with different combinations during pre-Olympic exhibitions.”
Dan Devine of BDL: “Now, what do you think about Dwight Howard going to the Lakers?” Fallon asked. The guests met the question with shrugs and silence; the audience met the silence with laughter. “Come on, though, that’s major — the Lakers are getting a crazy team,” Fallon pressed. More silence. And then: “Good for them,” Harden said, with the disaffected tone of a man who hasn’t forgotten beating the Lakers four games to one just three months ago. “Yeah, man,” Durant added, barely even registering it. Man, can I not wait for the start of the season.”
Chad Ford of ESPN.com revised his offseason grades and OKC stuck with a B: “Every year, I write the same opening paragraph about the Thunder. Every year it proves to be true. The Thunder tend to be overly conservative during the offseason. In their case, it’s a virtue. Too many teams panic and believe they have to spend all their money or the offseason is a failure. Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti waits and waits and waits for the right deal to come to him. When it does, he pounces.”
Check out my friend Jake Trotter’s book. Not Thunder related, but some of you will enjoy it.