Matt Moore for PBT on scorers: “But the environment has changed. And it’s less about all the other star-studded teams because those teams aren’t putting up 125 offensive ratings and having three guys score 40 a night. It’s not the talent. The defensive systems have changed, which kick-started the accumulation of talent to override that. But now the defenders are better, because the talent is better. It’s a vicious cycle. And the solution is to get back to the idea of ball movement and of team-actualization.”
Sekou Smith on OKC’s top spot in the Ultimate Rankings: “Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the rest of their Oklahoma City Thunder teammates spent their entire summer with a nagging pain eating away at them, knowing that they didn’t finish last season the way they wanted to. Losing to the Miami Heat in The Finals is a stain on their record that won’t be shoved aside until they get back to The Finals and break through. But in the absence of a championship won on the court, the Thunder can revel in the fact that they’ve finished on top in another race.”
Jenni Carlson on… something: “That reality might be starting to dawn on Thunder fans, but Monday afternoon, it seemed to have already set in with those close to the situation. As soon as the subject of Harden’s contract arose, Ibaka and Thunder coach Scott Brooks went completely and totally stone faced. Will signing Harden be impossible? Sure looked and sounded that way.”
Kurt Helin of PBT on KD and LeBron working out together: “The bottom line is LeBron and Durant are the two guys on the planet capable of pushing each other on the court. If you are a fan of the Thunder and want Durant to grow his game, this is one way he can do it. It may be the best way he can do it. And he comes to camp in better shape and more ready. So long as these friendships don’t carry over to games, it doesn’t matter. And if you think LeBron and Durant went easy on each other in the finals, I think you were on the wrong channel watching some baseball interleague games. Because they went at it hard.”
I’ve seen a lot of places dropping that Presti quote about Harden out there today where he talks about challenges, Presti has been saying that for months now. I left it out of my post because I didn’t think it was anything new. And the idea that signing Harden is impossible? Yeah, that’s too strong a word.
Darnell Mayberry on Serge Ibaka: “It wasn’t long ago that Serge Ibaka was just another poverty-stricken kid in the Republic of Congo, short on necessities but full of dreams. Before he blossomed into the NBA’s leading shot blocker, Ibaka went through parts of life living without running water or electricity. At times, shoes had to be lined with cardboard to cover holes in the soles.”
Obviously a solemn day in America. Hard to believe that it’s been 11 years.