Berry Tramel: “The Thunder won’t always hit a home run on draft night or even looking through a rummage sale. Cole Aldrich didn’t develop. Ronnie Brewer never got off the bench. Tibor Pleiss, the German draftee, still hasn’t crossed the pond and might never. The Spurs whiff some, too. James Anderson was a draft bust. T.J. Ford was a risk who didn’t pan out. The Spurs waived Steve Novak, who became a valued Knickerbocker. But the Spurs keep believing in their system and their organization. They know what they’re looking for. They focus on what a little-valued player can do, instead of what he can’t.”
Tom Ziller of SB Nation on Finals myths: “In no way will Game 1 decide the series. The result of Game 1 won’t even suggest what type of series this will be. As proof, I submit Game 1 of the 2012 Finals, which the Oklahoma City Thunder won by 11. The Heat won the next four games for the gentlemen’s sweep. Of course, that Thunder win came at home; a Spurs win in Miami would be different in that it would shift the balance of home court advantage. But the Heat have shown they can win on the road against very good teams, and the Spurs dropped a game in San Antonio to the Warriors earlier this postseason. Game 1 simply gets one of the teams closer to their goal of four wins and could potentially shift home court advantage. That’s it. A loss by either team does not remotely foretell doom.”
Dennis Velasco of TBJ on draft needs: “It’s totally possible that Kevin Martin leaves Loud City this offseason and with the collection of picks that they have, albeit in a perceived “weak” draft, they could move them to a team to acquire a veteran, either to take Kevin Martin’s place or to add to a talented pool of players that mesh really well. If they keep the picks, they’ll be adding to a solid young bench already. Just in time to develop for when Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook are hitting their strides and important role players like Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins are gone. What a well-run organization. Sure, luck plays a factor too to some degree, but the Thunder make the most of their opportunities.”
Darnell Mayberry on Hasheem Thabeet: “At 26 and entering his fifth season, Thabeet might not become the defensive star he was projected by many to be when he was selected second overall in 2009. But no longer is it laughable to think the Thunder might have picked up a diamond in the rough. Thabeet has shown promise as a rebounder and shot-blocker, two of the most critical things the Thunder seeks from the center position. Extrapolate Thabeet’s production over 36 minutes, or a starter’s typical playing time, and his value becomes much more apparent: 7.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocked shots, 1.4 and 60.4 percent shooting.”
Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com’s mock: “Dieng can do everything Scott Brooks thinks Kendrick Perkins can do, and he can do it better and at a cheaper price.”
George Karl fired in Denver. Wow, right?