John Rohde on James Harden’s nonsense: “Truth is, this all didn’t come down to one hour. There were 16 previous weeks of talks. Evidently, at no point while winning an Olympic gold medal, throwing an all-white (attire) yacht party and making it rain at a topless bar during the offseason did Harden feel any urgency to ponder the Thunder’s latest offer. From the get-go, it was evident Harden would not get a four-year max extension from OKC, or roughly $60 million, before the league’s Halloween deadline. At Media Day on Oct. 1, Harden said point-blank his demands were not for the max or nothing. “I’m not really worried about that,” Harden said that day. “I’m not focused on it.” Evidently not.”
Sam Anderson of NY Times Magazine wrote a brilliant feature on the Thunder: “Toward the end of our post-practice conversation, Durant leaned over and started unlacing his shoes. I took this as a signal that he was ready to leave. He was tired, no doubt, and had other things to do. I wrapped up our interview and thanked him for his time. He popped immediately out of his seat and walked away. After a few steps, he seemed to catch himself. He turned around, walked back and shook my hand. “Nice to meet you,” he said.”
ESPN Stats and Info: “Two bench players this season are averaging 19.0+ PPG for their new teams (Jamal Crawford and Kevin Martin). Since 1987-88, only 5 bench players have averaged 19.0+ PPG on their new team through the 1st 4 games of a season. The last time it occurred was when Donyell Marshall averaged 20.0 PPG for the Chicago Bulls.”
The latest installment of Nick Collison’s post-apocalyptic diary: “Perhaps that means I will find women soon. One can pray, Diary. Rihanna, where have you gone? Can we find love in this hopeless place? If the ocean is where he says it is, and I do believe him, I should be there by tomorrow. Not a moment too soon either, Diary. I am wearing down like Ewing’s knees and the world is crumbling with me. The sky is so grey it looks dead. Like the patch in Rasheed’s hair. I am more tired than I’ve ever been. As tired as “Hand Down, Man Down” was during Mark Jackson’s reign of terror as a NBA broadcaster. It is a good thing that nobody else is around for I am more irritable than Pop fielding a question from Sager.”
Jared Dubin of HP on Westbrook: “Players who play with Westbrook simply do not improve. That is just a fact, as I outlined above. It is undeniable, and it is because Russell Westbrook is the worst. He hogs all the shots. He takes so many shots, in fact, that nobody else on the team even takes any shots. Kevin Durant, who used to be great before he teamed up with Westbrook, is so wanting for shots. As a rookie, Durant took 17.8 shots per-36 minutes. But that was before Westbrook came around. With Russ on his team, Durant only took 18.5, 18.2 and 18.3 shots per-36 minutes the past three seasons. And in those three seasons, Durant’s scoring suffered so drastically that he scored more points per game than any other player in the league. If Westbrook weren’t his point guard, he’d be able to do so much more scoring. He’d probably lead the league.”
The Thunder’s new alternate is officially unveiled and will debut Friday against the Pistons.