David Thorpe of ESPN.com in a 5-on-5: “I love OKC for Zeller. They always need shooters to surround Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Ibaka can defend most centers, allowing Zeller some playing time with their top players. And his speed fits in well with the pace Westbrook pushes the Thunder to play.”
Berry Tramel: “Grant Hill retired Saturday, 19 years after making his NBA debut. Hill, always a class act, was feted for many things. Including his basketball. Injuries eventually robbed Hill of sustained superstar status. But those early years in the NBA were quite special. Through six seasons, Hill averaged 21.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game. Those are phenomenal numbers. And here’s how phenomenal. Only five other players in NBA history have averaged at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists per game over their first six NBA seasons: Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and LeBron James. That’s how good Grant Hill was. He’s in a club in which outside of Hill himself, the worst player is Jerry West. And here’s how good Russell Westbrook is. He’s got a decent chance to join the club.”
Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press: “Some Detroit Pistons fans might be surprised to learn that Thunder assistant Maurice Cheeks has emerged as a strong candidate for the head coaching job. He had uneven tenures as the head coach of the Blazers and Sixers — his last stint was in 2008-09, when he was fired 23 games into the season with the Sixers. But maybe part of the appeal has something to do with Brandon Knight, who has two promising, yet inconsistent, seasons. Do the Pistons think Cheeks’ presence could help Knight develop into a top-flight guard after his work with Thunder All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook?”
Darnell Mayberry: “He came to town as an unknown on an unlikely mission. Make the team — a championship caliber team — as a training camp invitee. DeAndre Liggins did that and more, establishing himself as a tough and tenacious defender before briefly becoming a rotation player. His next goal? Stick.”
Anyone else sort of relieved the Heat won? If the Pacers had advanced, it wouldn’t just have been “what if” with Russell Westbrook, but what if the Thunder had beat the Grizzlies too.