Friday Bolts: 8.18.17

Nick Gallo with a great look at Paul George’s celebrity fishing tournament: “More than 20 years after his last visit, he was back at the lake of his childhood. His dad was there with him at Castaic Lake, just like old times. So was his new Thunder family. As a part of his first ever Celebrity Fishing Tournament on Sunday, George teamed up with Bass Pro Shops and a variety of professional anglers to host a bass-catching competition for charity. When George hopped into his boat, comfortably donning a grey t-shirt, grey shorts and a backwards hat, it was clear he was in his comfort zone. That’s exactly where the Thunder wants him to be, which is why Head Coach Billy Donovan and fishing enthusiasts Josh Huestis and assistant coach Adrian Griffin all traveled to California and joined George out on the water.”

Chris Herring predicts OKC to have the best defense/make the conference finals: “The Thunder solidify themselves as the best defense in the league, and find a rhythm with new acquisition Paul George much quicker than anyone thought they would. They make a strong push for the No. 2 seed in the regular season, and follow that up by meeting the Warriors in the Western Conference finals in their first season with this group.”

B/R picks Alex Abrines as the Thunder’s breakout player in 2017-18: “Abrines shot 38.1 percent from deep as a rookie last year, and if that conversion rate doesn’t improve, it’ll only be because his shot volume will have exploded enough to include tougher looks. Either way, Abrines is going to score waaaay more than six points per game as a sophomore. With Russell Westbrook and Paul George drawing loads of defensive attention and Patrick Patterson further spacing the court, Abrines is going to get plenty of chances—especially with only Andre Roberson ahead of him at the 2. After making 94 threes last season, Abrines could double that figure.”

Rockets GM Daryl Morey says OKC should have received more for James Harden: “When you get a player out there like James Harden, the reality is that Oklahoma City should probably get a lot more him. There should be a rush to the door to try and trade for him. But because people only criticize the errors you do, when you’re trying to make a move, you generally don’t get as much as you should.”

Berry Tramel on what Kyrie Irving tells us about KD & Russ: “It’s quite likely that Durant, at age 28, just wanted to try something new. And playing with someone other than Westbrook most certainly was new. Either way, the Durant departure and the Irving trade request shows that some of the traditional factors we have long assumed appeal to players have changed.”

Kevin Durant says he won’t visit the White House if invited: “I’m representing a lot of people. As far as what’s going on in our country, for one, as an athlete, you have to commend Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, CP3  and Dwyane Wade for starting that conversation last year. Russell Westbrook also said something in his speech. A lot of guys with platforms have drove the conversation in a good direction. And what’s going on in Charlottesville, that was unfathomable.”

B/R  selects every organization’s all-time depth chart: “PG: Gary Payton, Russell Westbrook, Gus Williams, Nate McMillan // SG: Fred Brown, Dale Ellis // SF: Kevin Durant, Detlef Schrempf, Rashard Lewis // PF: Shawn Kemp, Serge Ibaka, Spencer Haywood // C: Jack Sikma // Head Coach: George Karl”

Video from Paul George’s celebrity fishing tournament last weekend: