Ben Golliver of SI.com grades OKC with a D+ for its offseason: “It’s possible to appreciate Oklahoma City’s long-term vision while also bemoaning its inability to add a meaningful piece to a team that should be playing in June. Part of the “thud” or “whiff” feeling that permeates the Thunder’s offseason could simply be the expectations game rearing its ugly head: Presti set the bar so high in the years leading up to the Harden trade and he’s yet to execute a signature move in its aftermath. Come on, Merlin, make us some more magic!”
David Thorpe of ESPN.com on how to beat the Heat: “Likewise, the Spurs’ success through the first four games of the NBA Finals was surprising. Although Miami ultimately made adjustments, the Spurs’ approach proved a solid strategy. The Spurs dared the Heat to shoot from 3 or deep 2-pointers, and focused on paint and rim protection. With Mike Miller gone to Memphis, if Dwyane Wade does not add a deep shot to his game, Miami will struggle to be a better shooting team this season than it was last season. And teams will continue to dare the Heat to shoot until they prove they can hit their shots. It is imperative contending teams keep Miami from getting inside to get easy buckets or free throws. And indeed, many contenders have at least one guy or a team strategy that can effectively build a wall around the rim. The Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers, as well as the Pacers and Spurs, all should be able to employ this type of defensive plan.”
The top five toughest coaching jobs in the NBA. Not included: Scott Brooks.
Darnell Mayberry looks at the idea of trading Serge Ibaka for LaMarcus Aldridge: “The Aldridge you see in Portland simply couldn’t be the same Aldridge with the Thunder. But Ibaka, so far at least, has been willing and able to sacrifice and play his role. That role includes some important defense that, while far from perfect, still gives the Thunder an interior presence and an intimidator that Aldridge is not. Aldridge also isn’t a consistent rebounder. His 9.1 rebounds per game this season were a career high and marked the first time he’s averaged more than eight rebounds. So the Thunder wouldn’t necessarily be upgrading there either. Aldridge is a far superior passer and much more adept at creating for himself, and both of those skills would add a scary dynamic to the Thunder’s offense. But with Aldridge’s higher price tag, his drop off on defense, his lack of postseason experience and his need to be the primary option, the Thunder is better off continuing with Ibaka.”