- Free Agency
- Thunder rotations
- Enes Kanter’s minutes
- Alex Abrines
- the 7th and 8th seeds in the West
- …and what makes us Miffed and or Peeved
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Happy Saturday. Thank you for your support of Daily Thunder. Keep on.
You’ve already seen all these dunks. Probably many, many times. But watch ’em all again, this time in compilation form with a good video title — Brutal Dunks.
Fran Blinebury of NBA.com has Enes Kanter on his shortlist for possible Most Improved: “Did Kanter improve or was he just given more of a chance to play after being traded at the deadline by the Utah Jazz? He averaged 18.7 points and 11 rebounds in 26 games with the Thunder. That got him the whopping offer sheet from Portland that OKC had to match, even if it meant overpaying. His numbers aren’t likely to go higher. In fact, his points will probably drop with the return of a healthy Kevin Durant to the lineup. But now Kanter gets to reap the benefits of playing with Durant and Russell Westbrook, which means just hanging around the post and receiving passes for even easier shots. If he’s going to be a serious contender for the award, Kanter will have to show that he’s more than just a disinterested spectator on defender and use his size — even just raise his arms — to try to protect the rim. If new coach Billy Donovan can get higher effort there — with Serge Ibaka at his back — a lot could be looking back up in OKC after a lost season.”
Ben Dowsett for Basketball Insiders on Enes Kanter: “OKC brass is banking on a change of scenery and coaching to help nurture his continued development. He’s still only 23, and with the futures of Durant and Westbrook uncertain, Kanter could serve as an insurance policy of sorts. But he has so much ground to make up in certain areas, and has offered so little proof that he’s capable of doing so. If he can’t make major strides, $17.5 million a year could be a thorn in a typically frugal front office’s side even with an increasing cap.” Keep Reading…
Yeah, of course you do. The Slim Reaper era was something else, wasn’t it?
Some people seem to have forgotten, (or maybe are just skeptical of his health), that Kevin Durant is one of the two most dominant players in the world and with him back, the Thunder will therefore be very good.
If you’re looking to kill off 30 minutes of this offseason, here you go.
Kelly Dwyer of BDL with the ThunderSonics’ all-time starting five: “Had the team stayed in Seattle, the comparisons between Gary Payton and Russell Westbrook would have already resulted in several Sports Illustrated covers touting the two’s similarities. It may seem like a bit of a jump to place Westbrook on a list that features a roster of players that dates back to 1967, but it’s just impossible to ignore what he’s done so far. On a team with Kevin Durant taking up much of the scoring load, Westbrook has averaged 21.1 points, 7.1 assists and 5.1 rebounds in only 34 minutes a night, including a 28.1-8.6-7.3 turn in a mostly Durant-less 2014-15. Westbrook’s induction into the starting lineup after just seven seasons with the Thunder might surprise a few, but what also might surprise is this: Gary Payton isn’t even the franchise’s all-time steals per game leader.”
Kelly Scaletta of BBall Breakdown on scoring types: “The goal here is a way to distinguish the pairs beyond the numbers, but not just by trusting in the ‘eye test,’ which is prone to both subjectivity (beauty is in the eye of the beholder) and confirmation bias. Now, it’s important to note that these primarily represent points out of set offenses. They don’t include things like transition points or putbacks. But if you want a tool to see who is effective out of set plays, and how they get their points, we’ve got something for you.” Keep Reading…
Berry Tramel: “Sure, basketball coaches have to know the game. Have to know how to deal with professional athletes. But does anyone believe Hammon or Lieberman doesn’t know the NBA game? And as for dealing with ballplayers, we’re not talking about stock personalities. Everyone is different. Do Russell Westbrook and Anthony Morrow have the same personally? Dion Waiters and Kevin Durant? It takes different kinds of people to reach different kinds of athletes. Some athletes will recoil at the idea of taking direction from women. Some athletes will revel in it.”
Dave Cathey of NewsOK: “Then an impromptu news conference broke out, KD fielding questions about his plans for free agency, what the Thunder’s chances were for the coming season and what was up with his sneakers. ‘I’m just focusing on this year,’ KD answered to the question every Thunder fan has. ‘I think we’re gonna win it this year.’ They asked him about what he did to be a leader when he was young, how cool was it to play in the NBA and what it felt like “to be that tall.” KD basked in their sincerity, perhaps enjoying respite from the demands of super-stardom. He conversed with them, listened and wasn’t shy about tickling someone’s ribs, palming someone’s head or using it as an elbow prop.” Keep Reading…
By Keaton Lamle
Special to Daily Thunder
Longtime NBA fans will remember whole summers when the league essentially went dark, disappearing from headlines and public consciousness between Father’s Day and Halloween. If you wanted a summer hoops fix in the nineties or early aughts, you either had to pull out VHS tapes from the previous year or scour USA Today to see which of the JailBlazers spent the night in the slammer. Things have changed. The summer is now, if anything, an even busier NBA news cycle than the actual season, with Cold-War levels of espionage and misdirection playing out via summer league and social media gossip (google “Deandre Jordan news”). Keep Reading…
Tim Cato of SB Nation: “Ultimately, the Thunder have to hope this is their year. Assuming health, Oklahoma City should be a top four seed in the Western Conference once again, but all that really matters is what happens in May and June. They’ve had playoffs runs derailed by injuries when the path to the NBA Finals seemed more clear and it’s only getting tougher. Golden State and San Antonio may both end up being better than any team the Thunder have faced in the playoffs during this era. At the very least, the top six seeds in the West are as strong as they’ve ever been.”
An idea for a neutral site Finals: “The media would love the idea since they could set up their broadcast facilities well in advance of the contests, instead of finding out a few days ahead of time where to send all their equipment and lodge their personnel. That’s a logistical nightmare as events already booked need to be moved around by the host arenas. All but two contending teams would not have waste money on useless tickets, programs, personnel, etc. The dissenters would be the two cities that host the NBA Finals. In a democracy, they would be out-voted 28-2 by cities that have empty venues during the Finals. To make matters interesting, the conference champions could have drawings for lucky fans of the home teams to visit the host city, with all expenses paid by the NBA. It would heighten excitement and interest by fans nationwide to see who would be the lucky winners.” Keep Reading…