Tom Ziller of SB Nation: “What would mark the transition from a LeBron solo act to a Durant duet? KD could win the MVP, or win a second NBA Finals battle between the pair. Those would be definitive answers. But let us gauge this admittedly nuanced issue with nuance. Let us judge Durant by LeBron and LeBron by Durant and determine if they are equals or not. If not, that’s fine. While we consider the ’90s to be of Jordan, we don’t ignore, misremember or underrate Hakeem, Drexler, Barkley, Reggie or Ewing. Fans of all sports are smart enough to genuflect before the greatest and respect the others at the same time. We can appreciate Dr. J right along with Magic and Bird, and sing the praises of Gilmore, Unseld and Walton right after bowing to Kareem. Kobe, T-Mac and Vinsanity took turns jockeying for positioning at the beginning of the century, and we remember it all even though Bryant rose (far) above his peers. Durant will be not slighted in the slightest if he cannot catch LeBron, if James stands with Jordan on Basketball Olympus, eschewing all rivals. We will appreciate Durant appropriately if that’s how things shake out. But make no mistake: Durant is chasing LeBron. That’s the reason we watch. There won’t be any more compelling theater in the NBA this season.”
New Zealand Hoops writing about Steven Adams defense: “The first defensive possession in which Adams really has a blunder comes with 5:29 to go in the second quarter. Chicago again run a side pick and roll, with Rose on the ball and Gibson as the screener. Here Taj craftily switches the angle of his screen at the last moment to allow Rose to split the double team and get all the way to the cup for an easy deuce. This is a trick that many of the best screeners know to use in the NBA, and is a nuance that Adams will have to grow accustomed to if he is to harness his full potential defensively.”
Interesting piece about the Raptors fanbase that is applicable everywhere, especially for the Thunder.
Caleb Nordgren of HP: “There are a couple of ways to look at this, but I’m only interested in one: It seems very much like Brooks is reluctant to fix what he feels isn’t broken. After all, the Thunder won 60 games last year and earned the number one seed in the West. They lost in the second round, but pointing to that as evidence of failure seems unfair, given Russell Westbrook’s knee injury. What’s more, the Westbrook/Thabo Sefolosha/Kevin Durant/Serge Ibaka/Perkins starting lineup, which struggled mightily to score points in 2011-12, posted a mark of 111 points per 100 possessions in 2012-13, per 82games.com. Yet the perception remains — particularly amongst Thunder fans, but also around the NBA — that Perkins needs to be replaced for OKC to win a title.* This has only been made worse of late with rookie Steven Adams looking competent in preseason action.”
Marc Stein of ESPN.com on KD’s future: “The Thunder, though, would be wise not to relax. The odd hints from the 25-year-old over the past few months that suggest he’s starting to get antsy about winning his first ring — be it Durant announcing on media day that he’s “starting to get up there” or the uncharacteristic way he abruptly ended an interview in July when asked about OKC’s summer — have to make his bosses wonder in moments of weakness. Rest assured that the next three years, without a championship or a new Durant deal, will be the longest for them.”
Ben Osborne of SLAM, who has KD ranked No. 2: “When I first started thinking about this write-up, I was almost going to write it negative. Like on some “I’m sick of Kevin’s narrative” shit. He was the second-best two seasons ago. He was the second-best last year. He’s gonna be the second-best this year. He’s fun to watch. He’s nice. He’s not nice. He shows out in the winter. He shows out in the summer. It’s all good, but none of it is new. But being “bored” with that? That’s my problem. Or the problem of the copy writers who need to think of new and inventive ways to use Kevin to move product, when the greatest help any of us who have to tell KD’s story could be given is for him to surpass LeBron James, either in popular opinion or at least by winning his first NBA title.”