Picked: Cameron Payne (14th overall draft pick), Dakari Johnson (48th overall)
Traded for: Randy Foye, 2018 second rounder (unlikely to convey)
Signed: Nazr Mohammed
Hired: Billy Donovan Keep Reading…
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Anthony Slater on the Stache Brothers: “At 22, Adams has already been labeled a franchise cornerstone by general manager Sam Presti. But Presti is paying Kanter, Adams’ backup, $14 million more this season. Adams is up for a contract extension this summer. But production often dictates value in the NBA and Kanter’s presence directly cuts into Adams’ numbers. In professional sports – where money and fame and playing time are craved but not passed out equally – a relationship like theirs isn’t supposed to work. But with these two, it so easily does. Why? Take a lesson from the mustache origin story, which is just a peek into their budding, genuine friendship. Right away, the outgoing Adams embraced the mustache like he embraced Kanter’s arrival, without worry. And because of it, the tentative Kanter learned to accept Adams then the mustache then the diminished role.”
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com on dangerous teams: “Their defense has been at times a lot like ice cream rolling down a steep hill in the middle of July, and their late-game offense still struggles despite their coaching change. They’ve blown more fourth-quarter leads than any other team. Best-case scenario: They catch the Spurs with their athleticism, avenging 2014, and then sneak up on the Warriors after a series of “good losses” in the regular season. Kevin Durant re-establishes himself as the dominant scorer in the NBA and re-signs with OKC after they defeat Cleveland for Oklahoma’s first pro title. Worst-case scenario: The Spurs stomp a mudhole in their porous defense and Kevin Durant decides if you can’t beat ’em, join the Warriors.” Keep Reading…
Authors Note: Due to “real world” responsibilities, I was unable to publish the Week in Review last week. As a result, this week’s edition will cover the last two weeks.
Okay, guys and gals. I think I’ve come up with a ground-breaking strategy for the playoffs. I sure hope Billy Donovan and the rest of the team will read this article, because I’m sure it will change their whole perspective.
In the playoffs, each possession is a precious commodity. In the regular season, possessions are like those chocolate diamonds. I mean, they are valuable in some way because they are diamonds and all, but let’s not kid ourselves, these so-called “chocolate” diamonds are just the least valuable diamonds being repackaged by marketers to increase value. Keep Reading…
Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider gives the Mavs a 1.1 percent chance of an upset: “After Blazers-Clippers, the shots become increasingly long for other West teams to knock off the favorites. Since 2003, the biggest upset in terms of point differential was the 2007 Warriors over the Mavericks (the third time a No. 8 seed upset a No. 1, and first under the best-of-seven format). Dallas’ differential was 7.6 points per game better than Golden State’s — identical to the margin between the Thunder and Mavericks this year. It’s worth noting that the three biggest upsets in that span by point differential (Atlanta over Orlando in 2011 and Memphis over Russell Westbrook-less Oklahoma City in the 2003 conference semifinals) all came when the lower-seeded team had won the season series. And that’s where the news goes from bad to worse for the Mavericks, who got swept 4-0, albeit with a couple of close losses.”
Tom Ziller of SB Nation ranked all playoff players: “We can’t know whether what happens to Durant and the Thunder over the next one to two months actually matters. Perhaps he’s already decided to stay in OKC one more year to line up his free agency with that of Russell Westbrook; perhaps he’s hitting the open market regardless. But you have to believe that how the Thunder do here will impact the color of Durant’s decision, his feelings heading in. As such, all eyes will be on how he and Westbrook carry the team together.” Keep Reading…
The schedule is set. It’s Thunder-Mavs in the opening round. Here’s how it looks:
Game 1 — Saturday, April 16th in Oklahoma City: 8:30 p.m. CT, ESPN
Game 2 — Monday, April 18th in Oklahoma City: 7 p.m. CT, TNT
Game 3 — Thursday, April 21st in Dallas: 6 p.m. CT, TNT
Game 4 — Saturday, April 23rd in Dallas: 7 p.m. CT, ESPN
Game 5* — Monday, April 25th in Oklahoma City: Time and TV to be determined
Game 6* — Thursday, April 28th in Dallas: Time and TV to be determined
Game 7* — Saturday, April 30th in Oklahoma City: Time and TV to be determined
Anthony Slater: “On the game’s first possession, Andre Roberson — 4-of-23 on non-corner 3-pointers this season — swished in a 3-pointer from the right wing. On the Thunder’s next possession, Cameron Payne, getting his first career start, drove at Tony Parker, shook by him with a spin and then finished over LaMarcus Aldridge with contact. Payne finished with a game-high six turnovers. Parker scored 20 points, baiting Payne into some overaggressive fouls. But in all, the rookie held his own, going for 17 points, seven assists and a pair of late lefty scoops that helped keep OKC in it.”
Zach Lowe’s NBA awards: “Kanter might win the damn thing, and I’d have no problem with that. Post-up brutes do better against backups; dump the ball to Kanter against some second-unit sad sack, and he’s eating buckets. Pair him with a drive-and-kick star like Westbrook or Durant, and Kanter morphs into perhaps the league’s pre-eminent scoring mooch — gobbling up drop-off passes and offensive rebounds when his man leaves to help on a Thunder stud. He’s still bad on defense, but not as bad as he once was. Kanter is trying harder this season, and he can usually survive if the other team plays at least one traditional big man. Still: Kanter gives back a lot of points, and the Thunder will have to cut his minutes against elite postseason offenses who target him like chum.” Keep Reading…
So it’s a 55-27 regular season. On to the postseason. But first some notes.