- South East Division Preview
- Thunder Olympians
- Best Thunder Lineups
- Billy D’s importance
- Can Kyle Singler or Mitch McGary bounce back?
- And more!
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Erik Horne: “Yet, the 27-year-old is just two seasons removed from shooting 39.8 percent from 3-point range in 80 games between Detroit and Oklahoma City. The Thunder doesn’t have a small forward on the roster with Singler’s combination of size (6-foot-9), length and shooting ability. There’s hope the 6-7 Huestis can contribute, but he has just five Thunder games to his credit and spent most of last season in the D-League, where he made just 31.3 percent of his 3-pointers.”
Mark Kizla of the Denver Post: “With LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook back at home, getting some well-deserved rest, Team USA does not have an alpha dog. Our old friend Carmelo Anthony is past his prime. Kyrie Irving has some mad skills, but stepping out of King James’ shadow, it is apparent that Cleveland’s young point guard lacks the chops to step up and direct a team loaded with all-star egos. Durant bolted Oklahoma City as a free agent, taking the path of least resistance to an NBA championship by joining Golden State. There was nothing wrong with that decision. Working hard and landing your dream job is a cornerstone of the American dream.” Keep Reading…
It’s mid-August so you know what that means? It’s perfect time for some reckless prognosticating. And on top of that, in probably the most unpredictable Thunder season yet.
Let’s take it 10-ish games at a time and see what we come up with. Disclaimer: I have know idea what I’m going to come up with here. Keep Reading…
Jeremy Woo of SI.com on breakups: “Hang whatever hat you want on this. Believe whatever. The NBA’s latest great what-if scenario ultimately comes down to a long-standing relationship between two people, one of whom decided he would be best carrying on without the other. I think we can safely say that KD genuinely loved growing up—effectively—in Oklahoma City. We’ve seen superstars get fed up, fight and bicker, demand trades and walk away. We’ve seen teams and teammates drive each other out. So it’s undeniably weird that Kevin Durant left Russell Westbrook behind after eight years, after neither guy ever said one bad thing about the other, at least publicly. They were close friends. They did not call or text each other during the process. They may only ever play together again at All-Star Weekend. They have not talked about it since.”
Jay Caspian Kang of the NY Times: “Durant versus Westbrook will be next year’s dominant N.B.A. motif because it brings in the full breadth of the rich, if at times overblown, metaphors that have always driven the best sportswriting: loyalty versus self-interest, the individual versus the empire and solidarity with the underdog versus the cynical efficiency of the superteam. The personalities of both players, on court and off, should be enough to compel our attention, supplemented by all the data analysis you could ever want. Even if we should balk at any easy moralizing, there’s no need to sacrifice a good story in the process.” Keep Reading…
Erik Horne: “Antsy for a move? It’s getting late, you say? There’s still more than two months before the Thunder tips off on Oct. 26 at Philadelphia. Harden was traded to Houston four days before the Thunder opened the 2012-13 season, so there’s precedent for the team waiting until much closer to the season to make a deal. There was special circumstance to the Harden deal. The Thunder had until 11 p.m. on Oct. 31, 2012, to re-sign Harden or else he would hit restricted free agency in the summer of 2013. The Thunder faces similar circumstances with Victor Oladipo, Steven Adams and Andre Roberson — each of which will become a restricted free agent in 2017 if they are not signed to extensions by Oct. 31 — but Oladipo and Adams, at the least, are expected to be core players who will be re-signed.”
Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “I came here to the land of sand, futebol and rhythm, on my maiden voyage to South America, expecting very little. But fear not. You aren’t about to be subjected to yet another foreigner’s rant about the accommodations, logistics, traffic, insects, crime or any of the other things jittery Americans such as myself railed about for months in advance of these Olympic Games and with inevitably greater volume since they started. I’m talking about the basketball. If I may borrow from Dick Vitale’s dictionary: Rio was supposed to be Blowout City.” Keep Reading…
Anthony Morrow on KD: “The thing is — with me personally — we talked all offseason, and it wasn’t really about basketball. Nothing was really basketball. It was just whatever’s going on with our families and stuff like that. So, for him to make that decision, I didn’t feel betrayed or anything like that. I think we were more shocked at where he went and all that. I think that was more of a shocking factor right there. But other than that, it is what it is. I didn’t feel like he owed me anything, but at the same time it is what it is. It’s business; it’s basketball. That’s that man’s career. That’s that man’s life, and he made his own decision as a man. Like it or love it, hate it or love it, he made his decision.”
NY Mag on hot hand: “Once the young researchers completed their analysis, out popped a hot hand — well, a warm one, at least. All else being equal, they found that an NBA player who hits four shots in a row is about 2 percent more likely to hit his next one than one who has hit just two of his last four shots. This translates to about one percentage point. So if a player normally shoots 45 percent from the field, the SportVU data suggests that, after four makes, even controlling for shot difficulty, he will be a 46-percent shooter on his next shot.” Keep Reading…
When the Olympics first started, I debated whether to do a primer for every Lithuania and Spain game. But then I realized I’m not Fran Fraschilla. I’m not classically trained in the international game, and it likely would’ve been a disservice to just speak of the players that I did know about (which is likely less than 50% of the Olympic men’s basketball participants). So I targeted this game to do the primer, and it turns out to be a pretty pivotal game in Group B play.
In the preliminary stage of the tournament, each team has to play every team in their allotted group. Once the round robin stage is done, the top 4 teams in each group play in a single elimination tournament with seeding decided by the points system (2 points for a win and 1 point for a loss) and various tie-breakers if necessary. Currently in Group B, Argentina leads the group with a 3-1 record by virtue of having won their earlier game today against host country Brazil. Lithuania is currently the only undefeated team in Group B with a 3-0 record, and is almost guaranteed to make it to the elimination tournament. Keep Reading…