Monday Bolts – 3.30.09

Pro Basketball News on Shaun Livingston: “Playing for the Tulsa 66ers is not a demotion but another opportunity for thunderbolt2322me to better myself,” Livingston said. “There’s no substitute for actual game time. You can’t simulate the movement. And contrary to popular belief, basketball is a contact sport.” Livingston is getting almost 30 minutes a game and is averaging 9.5 ppg, 6.0 apg and 3.5 rpg in 11 games in Tulsa.

Ryan McNeill of Hoops Addict talked one-on-one with Scott Brooks. (Audio inside.)

And the article mentioned in the interview, where Charley Rosen says he’d vote for Scott Brooks for Coach of the Year: “If I had a vote, I’d pick Scott Brooks. When Brooks took over, OKC seemed doomed to challenge the 1972-73 Sixers for having the worst record in the history of the NBA. Philly finished at 9-73, and under the sad-sack leadership of P. J. Carlesimo, the Thunder started the current season at 1-12. Granted that the Thunder is only 18-37 with Brooks in the command seat, but they’ve won six of their last 10 games — including a stunning victory over the Spurs. Moreover, several of the Thunders’ most recent wins have been accomplished without the services of their two leading scorers, Kevin Durant and Jeff Green. Indeed, Brooks has miraculously transformed OKC from a pushover to a dangerous ball club. The key word here is “miraculously.”

Young Thunder talking about playing in Boston: “It motivates you to want to get better, to want to be at that championship level,” Green said. “It’s an honor to play in a building where some of the greats, Bill Russell, who have banners hanging up, Larry Bird, Parish, all those guys. They paved the way and made it possible to do what we do today. But we’ve got to build our own type of history. We have to start somewhere. And I think the more that we work, the better and better we get and the closer we wil get to that championship level.”

The National Post on Kevin Durant: “I was shocked,” Durant said of the move from Seattle. “I haven’t seen that in the NBA in a long time, I guess when Vancouver moved to Memphis. “At first I didn’t know what to think about Oklahoma City, but now that I’m out there, I love it. It’s the best place for me to be.”

HoopsWorld Most Improved award: “While the masses seem to have Devin Harris’ name already engraved on the MIP trophy, Durant’s numbers can’t be ignored. His points are up five, his rebounds are up two and his assists are up two when compared to his numbers from a season ago. He’s doing all of this in just about five more minutes per-contest. Perhaps most impressive, though, is Durant’s increased efficiency. He’s shooting five percent higher from the field (48%) and almost 14 percent higher from three-point land. Simply put, Durant has shown the most meaningful statistical increases of any player on the list.”

KD endorses Scott Brooks for next year: “I believe that [management] will make the right decision,” Durant said. “I have [Brooks’s] back, but I’m not the type of guy that will go in the office to tell them what to do. But I want him to be back as our coach of the future.”

TrueHoop on end-of-quarter killers: “Also it occurs to me that the Thunder, Sixers, and Blazers all have surprisingly good end-of-quarter scorers. Brandon Roy is something special — highest efficiency in the list, and among the higher volumes. Kobe Bryant and Roy both have 68 plays, but Roy turned then into 82 points, instead of Bryant’s 60.”

BDL, Behind the Box Score: “Seriously? Well, Oklahoma City is pretty awful on offense, they struggle to put up 20 points in a quarter even against crummy teams, and the Celtics are the defending champs. They’re also the defending champs at defending, and even with Kevin Garnett out, still a pretty rockin’ defensive outfit. Also, Paul Pierce needed only 18 shots to score 27 points.”

Basketbawful, Worst of the Weekend: “After their 112-96 blowout loss to the Raptors in Toronto, the Thunder fell to 2-5 since Kevin Durant returned from injury. This, of course, followed a stretch in which they had gone 5-2 without him. I understand they’ve had some hard games, but still … They capped a winless weekend with their second straight blowout loss, this time a 103-84 defeat to the Kevin Garnett-less Celtics in Boston. That makes them 2-6 since Kevin Durant — who shot 6-for-15 and finished with more fouls (4) and turnovers (2) than rebounds (2) and assists (2) — returned from injury. Oh, and for the record, KD also lit a fire under Glen Davis. Durant delivered a Karl Malone-style elbow smash that opened up a 10-stitch gash in Baby’s head. Davis returned to score 15 points in the final 10 minutes as the Celtics ran away with the game.”

D.J. White was sent back down to Tulsa: “Under NBA rules, teams can assign players from their 15-man rosters to the D-League only three times during the season. White, however, is expected to rejoin the Thunder at some point prior to the season’s end and make his NBA debut after missing the entire season after undergoing two surgeries to remove and repair a benign growth in his jaw.”

okcnba
2009-03-30 14:14:37
Durant saying "I want brooks to be our coach of the future" is almost the same as him walking in the office and telling the front office what to do. If KD wants Brooks, KD will get Brooks.
Nix
2009-03-30 13:43:41
K...If DJ White would have just sat the whole year he could have gone as a rookie next year...Why didn't they do that? Also...is their a financial benfit (for the Thunder) if he plays this year as opposed to waiting till next year? I understand the talent/growth/maturation part...but I wonder if there is a money side as well...
Crow
2009-03-30 14:34:21
There might or might not be money benefit from White sitting out. I don't know if the team took out insurance on low salary guys. I'd guess probably not but they might have. If they did maybe they save half a million or so. If White plays strong he might be able to get in the rookie-soph game. Not that who the NBA chooses is that fairly done. His main prizes will be playing time and the next contract. But he could do Carl Landry level or better and get some notice next season.