Justin Kubatko of ESPN.com says KD’s the early MVP: “Once again acknowledging the imperfection of the available data, there is nothing to suggest that Anthony has any kind of defensive advantage over Durant. In fact, the evidence points to Durant being the better defender. Win shares is a statistic that attempts to summarize all of a player’s accomplishments in a single number. Durant currently leads the NBA in both win shares (5.5) and win shares per 48 minutes (.280), while Anthony is 11th and 12th (3.0 and .204, respectively) in these categories. None of this is meant to be an indictment of Anthony as a player — it is an indictment of the primary argument being used to support him as MVP. Durant’s clearly better season, coupled with the fact that Oklahoma City has the best record in the NBA, negates the “best player on the best team” argument. If you’re looking for the MVP of the first eight weeks of the season, look no further than Durant.”
Tom Ziller of SB Nation on assists: “In the end, on the question of the value of the assist, it turns out that the correlation between assist percentage and offensive efficiency (points per possession) is basically nonexistent. How well you shoot determines roughly half of how good your offense performs. Turnover rate is about 20 percent. So it makes sense that while assists have a smaller impact on shooting than on turnover rate, the outsized impact of shooting on an offense overall makes them even out. Again, it’s all in the execution. If there’s light to be shed here, it’s that passers who can rack up assists without committing turnovers are perhaps most valuable. Free Brevin Knight.”
John Rohde on Kevin Martin: “Thunder coach Scott Brooks continues to insist the evolution of Kevin Martin as the team’s sixth man remains a work in progress. After yet another breathtaking performance from Martin, exactly how much more progress should be expected? In a 107-93 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night, Martin scored 20 points while shooting 7 for 10 from the field, 3 for 5 from 3-point range, 3 for 3 from the free-throw line and committed just one turnover in 32 minutes of play. Martin has been a key component to OKC jumping out to a 20-4 start and extending its winning streak to 11. All this has transpired despite Martin being with his new teammates just 7½ weeks since the Thunder obtained him in an Oct. 27 trade for reigning Sixth Man of the Year James Harden.”
Not that I’m advocating a trade, but man, I’ve always loved the idea of J.J. Redick in OKC.
Darnell Mayberry with more thoughts on the Spurs win: “Popovich talked before Monday’s game about how the two teams reversed roles in last year’s West Finals. The Thunder on Monday again seemed to outplay the Spurs at their own game, which relies on nonstop ball movement that leads to open shots. Much like it’s been for most of the year, OKC’s ball movement was again good against the Spurs, and that led to high-percentage shots and balanced scoring. The Thunder finished with 22 assists and came within one Durant point of having four players score at least 20. That’s long been the recipe for success for OKC, and if the Thunder can do it against San Antonio, it can do it against anyone.”