Danny Chau of The Classical on Perry Jones III: “Jones’ freakish ability on the court had me smitten, but his self-awareness is what made me a real believer in his success. Despite a ridiculous NCAA suspension at the end of Jones’ freshman year—one of the NCAA’s using-a-bazooka-to-remove-a-ketchup-stain specials in its long-running conflict against picayune violations—Jones decided to return for his sophomore year, mature enough to know he wasn’t yet mature enough for the pro game. His time with P3 was a preemptive measure to help his body best defend against the unknowable future. It’s the kind of proactive effort that could have saved the prime years of Tracy McGrady’s career. Potential is fleeting, but Jones is doing what he can to protect it while he’s still young.”
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com on the lockout a year later: “As far as reducing player costs as a percentage of revenues, that goal was achieved almost immediately. The players’ share of basketball-related income (BRI) was reduced from 57 percent under the previous agreement to 51.15 percent for the 2011-12 season and to a sliding scale between 49 and 51 percent thereafter, based on revenues. The escrow system remains in place to account for any shortfall or overage in the amount of negotiated salaries. How that reduction is being achieved will be the most interesting and important aspect of the agreement. With only one truncated and one full free-agent signing period under the agreement so far, it’s too soon to conclude whether the player cost reductions are being achieved in a way that promotes competitive balance.”
Stein’s power rankings from yesterday: “We’ll dig into the Thunder’s recent defensive slippage or the most well-rounded ball of Kevin Durant’s career some other Monday. Nothing else in Loud City matters this week beyond James Harden’s first return to town — and his only scheduled return this season — in Rockets colors.”
The Thunder will have their 1000th community appearance today since moving to Oklahoma City. That’s pretty impressive.
Mike Wallace of ESPN.com picks Z-Bo and Perk has his top individual rivalry: “Kendrick Perkins-Zach Randolph. Forget Pacquiao-Mayweather, which may never happen. Thanks to NBA conference scheduling, we already know we’ll get at least a few more rounds between Z-Bo and Perk, who carried their last on-court beef into the arena hallways and locker room areas. The intense rivalry between their respective teams is just as fascinating.”
Jeremy Lamb is writing a rookie diary for NBA.com: “I have one rookie teammate, Perry Jones. That’s my man! I chill at his house and we eat together sometimes. He’s a cool dude, and since he and I are both rookies, I’m thankful we are going through our first season together. It’s nice that there’s another guy to look up when someone yells “Rook!” and somebody who else who has to do rookie chores.”
Darnell Mayberry: “Here’s something else I noticed tonight. You know who is starting to benefit from moving the ball more? The Thunder’s second unit. The B Team came in and shared the rock and got one high-percentage shot after another as a result. Not just in garbage time, either. In the second quarter, even when KD started the period with them, they moved it so well you barely even knew Durant was out there.”