Darnell Mayberry with a great piece on OKC’s rotation: “The Thunder has had only minimal minutes to offer first- and second-year players since becoming a league heavyweight. But Brooks’ reluctance to award even those minutes to his younger players through the years, dating to D.J. White four seasons ago, continues to raise two popular questions: what does the Thunder have buried on its bench and why exactly aren’t those players playing outside of garbage time? To many, they have become a perplexing pair of questions for a fan base that’s been bombarded with analysts annually acclaiming the team’s young bloods. For the first time since taking over as head coach, Brooks on Thursday spoke candidly about his philosophy regarding his rotations, providing details and insight into the decisions he’s made since 2008.”
Berry Tramel on changing names: “The whole concept of name changes is relevant to the NBA, especially with the Hornets in town Wednesday. The name that forever will be remembered in Oklahoma City is about to go bye-bye. Or at least East. The Hornets plan to change their name to the New Orleans Pelicans. It’s sound theory. If you can’t change your backcourt, change your name and get everyone’s mind off the backcourt. If Chris Paul and David West still were sending New Orleans into the second round of the NBA playoffs, like they did in 2008, then nobody would even think to change the name. But CP3 and West are long gone, and so soon will be the Hornet name birthed by George Shinn back in Charlotte.”
John Hollinger to the Grizzlies. I’ve had the pleasure to get to know John a bit over the last few years and he’s just a super guy. Incredibly excited for him.
Ben Golliver of SI.com has Westbrook as a loser in the first ballot All-Star returns: “Durant’s teammate, Westbrook, gets it bad here. There’s just no way Westbrook can be considered fifth among the West guard choices in terms of quality. Some would argue he should be above Paul for second and, if not, there’s no disputing he should be either third or forth, depending whose style you prefer, his or Parker’s. Westbrook logged just 143,437 votes, less than half of Lin’s total. That’s ridiculous for a player with a 24.45 PER averaging 21.1 points, a career-high 8.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game for the best team in the West. Almost everything that was just said about Westbrook can be said for Parker and it’s even worse because Parker earned just 69,983 votes, less than one-quarter of Lin’s total. Parker ranks No. 4 among point guards in PER, his Spurs have the second-best record in the West and he finished fifth in MVP voting last season. He’s currently averaging 19 points, 7.6 assists and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 50.9 percent, and it’s unfair to either Parker or Lin to put the two players in the same sentence.”
Orton and Lamb have been assigned to the 66ers again.
Ian Thompson of SI.com: “The NBA has turned into a league of mysterious injuries. So far this season, Eric Gordon, Danny Granger, John Wall and Andrew Bynum haven’t played a minute because of knee ailments that were aggravated or failed to be rehabbed over the summer. Could more have been done to improve the players’ health before training camp? One team executive believes the NBA should consider rules that would enable franchises to have more oversight on players’ training methods during the offseason.”