Bradford Doolittle of ESPN Insider on contenders: “Oklahoma City, Brooklyn, Houston and Chicago all won between 6 and 8 percent of the simulations, so there was enough of delineation that I could have created a separate tier. Historically, as a season progresses, I’ve considered any team whose title odds are at 5 percent or greater to be part of the championship conversation, so I’ve left it at that. The Nets were the one team in the group that didn’t get a large boost from the postseason emphasis on the top of the roster, but Brooklyn’s one-through-eight roster strength was enough to keep the Nets solidly in the first tier.”
Anthony Slater breaking down Ibaka’s opening game: “At 6-foot-10, a common criticism of Ibaka’s offensive game is that he falls in love with the jumper a bit too much. But in reality, an open mid-range look for Serge is one of the Thunder’s most efficient plays. He shot nearly 55 percent from between 10 and 16 feet away last season, a great clip. But beyond 16 feet, stretching past the three-point line, that number dipped to below 44 percent. On Wednesday, he went 2-of-7 on jumpers, with all of the misses coming in the 18-20 foot range.”
Darnell Mayberry: “Jackson played 32 uncomfortable minutes in the Thunder’s season opener at Utah, nursing obvious discomfort in his lower back area. At several points during the game, Jackson placed a heating pad on his back when he was on the bench and attempted stretching near the bench at other points during the action. At one point, Jackson needed to retreat to the locker-room area. After the game, Jackson walked gingerly through the team’s dressing room, grimacing as he sat at his cubicle. When asked about the injury, Jackson just looked up and smiled, choosing to not comment. Asked how long he’s been dealing with discomfort, Jackson again declined to comment.”
Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider: “The elite center has been on the endangered species list since the late 1990s, but it’s time to rethink that theory. Last season, 11 centers were among the 48 players who posted at least seven wins above replacement by my metric, a group that doesn’t even include players such as Chris Bosh and Tim Duncan who are capable of playing center as well as power forward. Add in Bosh and Duncan and all four of last year’s conference finalists had All-Stars in the middle, suggesting the center position remains as important as ever despite the rising value of outside shooting.”
Jimmer Fredette didn’t get his option picked up. And reportedly, six teams have inquired about him. Could the Thunder have been one? Seems like a nice fit to me.
Ballerballer Tyler Parker says OKC’s got lots of x-factors: “Lamb, Westbrook’s knee, the development of Serge’s post game, Steven Adams minutes, Scott Brooks and his in game mic moments, Clay Bennett and his T-shirt over dress shirt combo, the potential for a Hinder national anthem…X Factors all over the court in Bricktown this season.”