Programming note: While the world is ending today, Daily Thunder might be down for a bit off and on. I’m initiating a server change — which is going to be awesome — but it means that there could be some fuzzy moments. If DT doesn’t load, blame the Mayans. Not me.
Ethan Sherwood Strauss of Bleacher Report on KD’s MVP candidacy: “It doesn’t just stop there. Durant rebounds 12.7 percent of his team’s shots to Carmelo Anthony’s 10.2 percent. Durant gets 4.2 assists to Anthony’s 1.9 per contest. If we’re citing wins, the Thunder have the best record in the league, and they’re doing it in the tougher Western Conference. If we’re citing surrounding talent, the Thunder just traded a Team USA member and did not miss a beat. Again, Anthony has been fantastic. It’s just that Durant has been even better than fantastic. It’s not a slight to Melo, but it’s hard to find something he’s good in that Kevin Durant isn’t even better at. It’s a long season and that could change. But for now, Durant’s MVP credentials are pretty unassailable in comparison to Anthony’s.”
A 5-on-5 talking best point guard from the last five drafts, where no one took Westbrook first. Here’s Kevin Arnovitz, who put him third: “Speaking strictly between the lines, is there a more polarizing player in the league than Westbrook? For those who want purity at the point, Westbrook’s distributive powers have traditionally been wanting, especially considering that he plays alongside Kevin Durant. But have you seen Westbrook’s impressive assist rate this season? That improvement shows he’s growing into a complete playmaker.”
Darnell Mayberry: “Again, judging by my Twitter timeline plenty of people want to throw Brooks under the bus as well. Apparently, many feel Brooks should have played Jeremy Lamb over Jackson. (Exhales). I’ll make this one brief. Did you really want Jeremy Lamb out there guarding tiny little J.J. Barea? Think about that. And just because Lamb played last night at Atlanta and played well in five minutes doesn’t mean he earned the right to play tonight. Brooks did what so many seemingly have been begging him to do, play his young guys. Last night it was Lamb’s turn. Tonight, with a matchup more conducive to trotting out a point guard, it was Jackson who got the nod. Not sure what the big deal is there.”
Perk tweet last night: “I’ll take the blame for this 1 tonight , I played soft”
Brendan Bowers of SLAM on Hasheem Thabeet: “The Championship-or-bust Oklahoma City Thunder are not giving roster spots away this season. With such a deep and talented roster those minutes come with a price. You must earn your way into the rotation that currently leads the NBA at 21-4 overall. Quietly signed to a three-year contract by General Manager Sam Presti this offseason, Hasheem Thabeet has cracked that rotation. He is earning both minutes and trust from his new team right now while adding depth to the OKC frontcourt.”
David Thorpe of ESPN.com writing about Damian Lillard: “We still have a lot to study as Lillard plays out the season, and we won’t know much about his defensive talents for another season or two. But it’s clear he has a chance to get to the level of Rose, Westbrook or Irving, which is saying a lot. The Trail Blazers, as a franchise, have to be pleased that their pick has, at least, the talent and upside to be a potential All-Star. He projects to be better than many of the starting guards who have entered the league in the past five seasons or so. And his rookie season has the potential to measure up to — and even exceed — them all, which is huge when you consider how marvelous Irving was just a season ago.”
Westbrook is considering the dunk contest. I fear for him in the dunk contest, because I think he’d try to dunk it so hard he’d break his whole arm.
Doug Smith of the Toronto Star : “Remember all the concerns about the Oklahoma City Thunder and the impact of the James Harden trade? What impact would it have on a close-knit young team to have one of its anchors taken away? How would it affect Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the court, taking away the third part of an extraordinarily talented young Big Three? What message would it send, people wondered, now that the Thunder bowed to the economic realities of the NBA and shipped off a crucial piece of a young core to save a few bucks? Um. Never mind.