Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider on how players age: “One of the most important discoveries of sabermetrics was that the peak age for baseball players was much younger than conventional wisdom held. For the most part, basketball research has found a similar prime to baseball, with a peak age around 27. However, the answer depends on the metric of choice because different skills age differently; players grab fewer offensive rebounds from the time they enter the league but shoot more accurately. Defense might peak latest of all because of the importance of experience. The continued success of this generation’s veterans, such as Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan, also is forcing us to rethink how players decline in their 30s.”
Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com in a 5-on-5 on OKC’s biggest hurdle: “The San Antonio Spurs. Same as it was last season. The matchups are mostly the same but don’t think Gregg Popovich hasn’t spent a long time thinking about how he’ll construct his strategy in a rematch.”
Henry Abbott of TrueHoop on success: “Stat geekery serves many purposes, but one of them is to take the full meal of NBA success and get a look at the ingredient list. Bad shot selection, for instance, is something more and more teams are discovering they’re allergic to and want to avoid. Similar things are emerging about players who can’t get to the line, rebounders who don’t move to the ball, ball handlers who can’t find the open man … and on and on.”
The Heat did the Harlem Shake thing. Kind of hoping the Thunder do not.
John Rohde: “Denver still flies high at home and owns a 24-3 record at Pepsi Center, second only to the 25-3 world champion Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. While Durant (28.6) and Westbrook (23.1) remain the NBA’s top scoring tandem, the Nuggets counter with an attack that has six players scoring in double-digits and nine players ranging from 8.0 points to 16.9 points. Denver’s defense feeds its offense. The Nuggets are second in rebounding, second in steals, third in scoring, third in assists, fourth in blocks and fifth in opponent turnovers.”