Berry Tramel on Mo Cheeks: “I don’t know who gets credit in Thunderville for Russell Westbrook’s development. My best guess is Russell Westbrook. But to whatever degree Cheeks helped Westbrook into becoming an elite point guard, it’s been impressive. So really, I don’t know what Detroit is getting as a head coach. But I know what Cheeks is getting. A wayward franchise. The Pistons were historic in their consistency early in the 2000s. Now Detroit is consistent again. The wrong way.”
Seth Wickersham of ESPN the Mag on the Spurs and international players: “Near a mural in his office, Spurs general manager R.C. Buford has just finished reading an article. The mural is an action shot of a Spurs game, but it’s really of an era and a mentality frozen in time. Parker’s arms are extended, following through after a pass to Ginobili, who’s shooting a layup. Duncan is under the glass, not leaping to dunk a potential Ginobili miss but boxing out. Three future Hall of Famers, including one whom many fans — and not just in San Antonio — consider the premier player of his era, all playing hero-agnostic basketball. The article that Buford has finished, printed from ESPN.com, sits on his desk. Its headline: “The Entitlement Culture of Elite HS Hoops.” In it, recruiting analyst Dave Telep writes about not only witnessing AAU players complain about the food at a Ritz in California during a tournament but also what he calls the slow and steady crumble of American grassroots basketball: loafing, lousy fundamentals, a pervasive disinterest from players in showcasing anything but themselves.”
KD tweeted last night: “Watching the finals(pissed might I add lol) any questions?” You know why he’s pissed? Because he knows a healthy Thunder could beat this Heat team.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com with a great postgame piece on LeBron: “For the first two games he could generally be described as average, which is to say he nearly put up back-to-back triple-doubles while giving off the impression he was just idling. This deep into his career — with so many experiences to draw on — the time had come for James to step on it. Rather plainly, he has not, and it’s hard for him to swallow that he’s back at this point again. The Spurs are disrespecting his game, his improvement and his recent history by playing him roughly the same way they did six years ago. They are following up on what the Dallas Mavericks did two years back, going back to a scouting report and game plan that James thought he’d sent to the incinerator. They are playing the numbers and playing on the psyche, and it’s working better than they could’ve imagined. Before, James didn’t have the experience to grasp it. Now, though, he does, and it leaves him with nothing to display but candor.”
Darko Rajakovic did a mailbag: “Right now I’m focused on watching film from our games last season and trying to learn from our experience and find out more details. Usually you can see more things when you have had some time in between and aren’t just focused on playing the next game night in and night out. I’m trying to learn from the whole experience and take notes, analysis and summaries of our whole year to prepare for next year. I’m also trying to pick up and watch more clips of the Thunder’s games. Just being around the organization, talking to coaches and being proactive with the opportunity to be around the Thunder this summer. I’m using all of that to become a better coach and come prepared into next season.”
George Gervin on KD: “I think it’s quite accurate. I think most people compare us because of our size … He can’t do a left hand and right hand hook shots, but once he adds that to his repertoire of shots, I think he’ll be much better than me. I cannot shoot another jumper and it count. But I see this kid and this kid’s tremendous ability. He can flat out play the game and he loves the game. Over the summertime he’s working to get better so that’s why I say his potential is scary.” Gervin also said he thinks strength is overrated, which I tend to agree with.
Darnell Mayberry on Cody Zeller: Cody Zeller seems to have the right personality. “Take, for instance, his response to a light-hearted question during the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Before top-seeded Indiana took on 16th-seeded James Madison, a reporter asked Zeller and the boys from Bloomington if they knew the man their opposing school was named after. After guard Victor Oladipo stumbled through his best guess, Zeller leaned in and quipped to the reporter ‘Do you know what a Hoosier is?’ Or go back a year earlier. Same setting. This time, Zeller and his teammates were asked if their parents were able to make it to Portland to take in the second round of the 2012 tournament.”
Danger Guerrero of With Leather reviews Thunderstruck: “Anyway, you can probably figure out the rest of the movie. The talent goes to his head, he gets cocky, he starts ignoring his hacker friend, Isabella gets pissed and tells him she liked him the way he used to be, the coach — played by Jim Belushi, fyi — gives him a heart to heart, he decides to gives the talent back, blah blah blah. The problem is that they can’t figure out how to swap back. They try everything, including tasering the basketball. Nothing. But later that night, while he’s watching the game, Brian remembers that the ball hit the mascot in the head before it rolled to Durant. So he hops on his bike, rides it to the basketball stadium, zips past some very incompetent security guards, corrals Durant, and wings the ball at the mascot’s head again. Then they both say the magic words and everything goes back to normal. Because they hit the mascot in the head with the ball. That’s what made it magic. Obviously. Like I said, this movie is not good. But it is also amazing. I give it 2.5 out of 4 magic basketballs.”