Thunder top 10 of 2013-14, according to the league. Keep reading »
Andre Iguodala has fired a shot at the wrong man. Keep reading »
Ethan Strauss of ESPN.com on the league’s globalization: “The story the NBA tells itself about the emerging, globalizing force of basketball is a good one, and I wish it were completely true. I love how the 2014 champion San Antonio Spurs dominated with an international approach. The sport is better for diversifying, for absorbing perspectives and approaches from all over. AAU camps now teach American kids the Eurostep because Manu Ginobili brought his diagonal stylings to the NBA. As thrilling as the collectivist Spurs are, they don’t boast potential international stars. Kawhi Leonard is from the Inland Empire. The horizon isn’t replete with young Manus, Yaos and Dirks. Sadly, Team USA’s success represents a failure of basketball on the global level — for now, at least. The sport hasn’t grown by leaps as it seemed it would in the mid-2000s. The NBA still uses the story of world conquest as a bulwark for the insecurity caused by football’s stateside dominance. That narrative can’t survive so many Team USA victories.”
Marc Stein of ESPN.com on Team USA’s victory: “No one out there seems capable of even pushing the Americans at the moment, which is obviously the disheartening part. Especially when another 10 or so top Americans were back at home. Krzyzewski himself admitted that, until Irving and Harden went off in the title game, this edition of Team USA “had to invent new ways to score” after Durant removed himself from the roster and took much of the intended offense with him. Ball pressure to create turnovers and offensive rebounds to generate extra possessions became the go-to sources of point production for this group, which didn’t have anyone scoring better than Harden’s 13.1 points per game — and thus no clear-cut MVP candidate — until Irving did what he did in the title game.” Keep Reading…
Here’s an old video talking about young high schooler Steven Adams.
1) Steven Adams has always been Steven Adams.
2) 3-pointers? What?
3) His free throw motion looks better in high school than it does now. Smoother, steadier and more fluid. Go back to that.
The Deadspin 51, which ranks the most useless thinkers and doers in sports, has Scott Brooks 10th: “Vestigial chaperone for a team that could probably win 55 games and a playoff series with a googly-eyed garden rake holding the clipboard on the sideline. Actively makes team worse whenever he makes a decision.”
KD in promoting Strong and Kind: “I’ve been on the other side. I grew up in a neighborhood where kindness wasn’t the norm. I witnessed the opposite of kindness. Then, some role models came into my life and taught me how to respect myself and how to look out for others. They taught me why this was important. … My mom is definitely a kindness role model. I saw her sacrifice for me every day growing up. She is living proof that you can be strong and kind. My former coach Chucky is another. He’s one of the first people who taught me what it meant to respect others. I was lucky to have positive role models. But not everyone has someone. … It’s important to spread the Strong & Kind message to them because they might not hear it anywhere else.” Keep Reading…
The league has officially spoken on the Thunder’s top 10 plays of last season. Definitely a little different than my top 10, but to each their own, I suppose. And this version is the complete kind, regular season and playoff combined.
One thing that I’m reminded of in watching this: How absurd was Westbrook’s steal against the Grizzlies in Game 5? I mean, that’s the kind of thing that never happens. Like when the announcers are saying, “OK, you go for the steal here and then you have to foul.” Nobody ever actually gets the steal.
And in the Thunder’s case, they entirely mangled the situation and risked the clock just running out on them, but Westbrook bailed them out. Had the Thunder finished it off and won the game, we’re talking an all-time moment, I think. In fact, they had like three of those potential moments in this top 10 (KD’s four-point play, Westbrook’s four-point play), except they lost those games.
Solid premise in this new-ish Jordan Brand commercial: Russell Westbrook jumps high.
Tom Haberstroh of ESPN Insider on NBA rest: “To be clear, the NBA has bigger fish to fry at the moment, which is unfortunate in more ways than one. Surely, the league would rather have the time to plug every hole, but that’s unrealistic. No one enjoys seeing Kobe Bryant, Paul George and Russell Westbrook looking on from the sideline. However, Czeisler isn’t the only one who is skeptical that the NBA’s schedule tweaks will improve the game. Some team officials around the league worry that the longer break, at the expense of rest days in the season, will make the players out of shape and more susceptible to injury upon return. Indeed, this was a trying first season for Silver, and he has certainly shown he is open to new ideas. This is just Year 1 of the Silver era and more changes might come down the road. This much is clear: The NBA’s problem of sleep deprivation will not be solved overnight.”
From a few years ago, KD recounted his 9/11 experience: “I heard a big boom and I saw some smoke, and I was like, ‘What?’ ” Durant told Yahoo! Sports on Monday. “They let us out of school early and they said the Pentagon got hit. My mom said [on the phone] she could see the smoke from her job, so I was worried about her. My grandma came and picked me up and we heard planes flying over. Everyone was scared. It was like something out of a movie.” Keep Reading…
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports with a terrific piece on Serge Ibaka: “Everyone who has played and worked with Ibaka in Oklahoma City will tell you there’s no better teammate, no one as fiercely loyal as Ibaka. In Kendrick Perkins’ experiences, only Kevin Garnett could compare in the locker room, Perkins told Yahoo Sports. When Thunder physicians told Ibaka he would be lost for the Western Conference finals – perhaps two months – with a calf injury, he refused to recognize the prognosis. Rehab the tear, push through the pain and I’ll see everyone in Game 3.”
Ibaka on KD2016: “He’s a grown man,” Ibaka says. “He runs his life. But one thing I know about Kevin. He likes to win. No matter what. That’s the one thing I know: He likes to win. That’s for sure. Of course, I think it’s too early to talk about Kevin staying or going. It’s going to distract people. It’s going to distract the team. He’s got two more years. Let’s [talk] when the time comes, and we are going to see. It’s too early. We have to work to do. We have things to do as a team.” Keep Reading…
The Thunder are third in ESPN.com’s future power rankings: “Internal development will be crucial because of the Thunder’s unwillingness, thus far, to exceed the luxury tax, as reflected in their bottom-five ranking in money. Oklahoma City’s marquee offseason acquisition was journeyman shooting guard Anthony Morrow, who replaces departed starter Thabo Sefolosha, to give the Thunder more shooting but weaker defense at the position. Besides staying healthy after untimely injuries to Westbrook and Ibaka the past two postseasons, the key to the Thunder breaking through will be the progress of recent first-round picks such as Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones to bolster the team’s bench. There’s added urgency to win now, too, with Durant’s free agency looming in the summer of 2016.”
Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider on Spain: “Even factoring in Spain’s home-court edge, the USA rates as an eight-point favorite in a potential clash in the finals. However, at some point overall ability only determines so much of the outcome of an individual game. Matchups matter, and that’s where USA-Spain is fascinating. Spain’s edge in the frontcourt with Marc and Pau Gasol will be tough to match, and this version of the USA roster doesn’t appear well equipped to take advantage of Spain’s biggest weakness: lack of size on the wing. So if Spain continues to roll through the medal rounds, the USA may find itself an underdog in the final.” Keep Reading…