Good day Lockouters. Thank you for support of Daily Thunder. Lock on.
Good day Lockouters. Thank you for support of Daily Thunder. Lock on.
In ESPN.com’s massive player ranking project, Russell Westbrook has been put 15th among all active NBA players. That’s pretty darn good. Especially considering he only completed his third season and is just 22 years old.
The question is, too high, too low or just right? Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com makes the point as well as I could: “Statistically, he’s on par with Derrick Rose, right down to their essentially identical player efficiency ratings (23.6 and 23.5, respectively). Westbrook’s decision-making still makes you cringe sometimes, but then again, I made far worse decisions as a 22-year-old.”
I guess the right question to ask might be, who are the 14 players in front of Westbrook and should they be there? We don’t know the exact order, but we know LeBron, Kobe, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash (14th), Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Blake Griffin and Amare Stoudemire. Keep Reading…
Henry Abbott of TrueHoop on the federal mediator’s role: “Barely 48 hours after talks fell completely apart, the two sides agreed to meet early next week with a federal mediator. My best guess is that the key value of a mediator in this case will not be in getting the two sides to see eye to eye — both sides have dropped hints that they have a pretty good idea what the final deal will look like. What is could do, though, is help the two sides go back their respective camps and say ‘the federal mediator said this is fair.’ In other words, there’s a shot this will help David Stern and Billy Hunter in convincing their hardliners to swallow bitter pills.”
Two Sonic fans try and prepare us for a lost NBA season: “All of that energy you spent complaining about your team’s defensive sets and substitution patterns can be expressed in different ways. For example: Did you know that taxes are too high, traffic is only getting worse, corporations run this country, and people are always on their phones?” Keep Reading…
David Stern was on WFAN with Mike Francesca this afternoon and he laid it on heavy, smearing Billy Hunter, talking doom and gloom and even awkwardly saying “I despair” when asked if there was no deal by next week.
“If we don’t make it on Tuesday,” Stern says, “my gut is that we won’t be playing on Christmas Day.”
“Each side is going to meet with the mediator on Monday, and if there’s a breakthrough, it’s going to come on Tuesday,” Stern told NBA.com. “And if not, I think that the season is really going to potentially escape from us, because we aren’t making any progress … how many times does it pay to keep meeting, and to have the same things thrown back at you? We’re ready to sit down and make a deal. I don’t believe that the union is. Hopefully by Tuesday, aided by the mediator, they’ll be ready to make a deal. Certainly I’ll bring my owners ready to make a deal.”
Basically, from what I understand, a federal mediator is in place to just tell each side if they’re full of it or not. Right now the sides are completely hung up thinking that their deal is fair. The players see their 53 percent BRI take as fair. The owners don’t see any deal where they still lose money as fair.
So a mediator will step in, hear it all out and inform each side whether or not their proposal is total junk or not. Hopefully that’s a good thing.
The NBA will now use a federal mediator. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: “For those wondering why the step wasn’t taken sooner, federal mediators generally don’t get involved in labor disputes unless asked, or unless they reach an impasse after the sides had ample time to bargain. The NFL requested Cohen’s involvement before the lockout was imposed, and while it’s unclear what impact he had on the ultimate resolution, his powers at the time were muted by the lack of urgency in the talks.”
Brilliant stuff from Ian Levy of Hickory High on lineups: “Small changes in managing rotations make a huge difference. The Oklahoma City Thunder were a perfect example of this last season. 53.6% of their lineups, which played at least 5 minutes together, outscored their opponents. Those lineups were allocated 59.2% of possible minutes. The most commonly-used five-man unit for the Thunder last season was Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Nenad Kristic. This was the Thunder’s starting lineup until Green was dealt to Boston for Kendrick Perkins at the trade deadline. This unit played 541.92 minutes, with a Net Rating of -0.94. When Serge Ibaka replaced Green, the Net Rating of that group jumped to +7.05. That unit, with Ibaka replacing Green played just 127.63 minutes together across the entire season. Green was with the Thunder for 49 games before the trade. That means Scott Brooks had 49 opportunities to set his starting lineup, and each case he chose a less effective orientation with Green instead of Ibaka.” Keep Reading…
A press conference was held today in Oklahoma City to give a few details on the Kevin Durant charity game. It’s going to be billed as “Blake Griffin vs. Kevin Durant.”
Previously it was reported the game was Oct. 27 but the actual date is Oct. 23. Tickets will start at $29 and go up to as much as $199 for floor seats. Bowl seating with be for $89. Tickets go on sale Monday at noon at www.coxconventioncenter.com, at Homeland stores and the Cox Center Box Office (800) 745-3000.
Right now, Durant, Griffin and LeBron James are confirmed for the game but Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul also are expected to play. And I’m sure a number of Thunder players will join the action as well.
Blame for the NBA labor impasse is being passed around like mashed potatoes during Thanksgiving dinner. There’s more than enough for everybody, even though everyone is taking a lot. But don’t forget that there’s some on your own plate, too.
The NBA and its players are able to take us for suckers because we are suckers, as long as you realize that “we” in the short term means hardcore NBA fans and in the long term means all sports fans. I include myself in both groups. The NBA and the players know they can get away with canceling games, even an entire season, because they know that the hardcore fans will be back in their seats no matter when the next NBA game is, and with even a little bit of luck, the game will eventually recover some of the legions of casual fans it is losing with every minute the lockout drags on.
I know I’ll be in my usual seat in Loud City whenever the next NBA game is, whether it’s in November 2011 or November 2012 or somewhere in between (which is and always has been my uneducated guess). I’ll probably even buy a new Thunder T-shirt in between now and then — an officially licensed version and a Tree and Leaf version both, most likely. I might even stop for a beer on my way to the seat, too. I’ll keep spending my hard-earned money as long as there’s a product I would pay to see, and the Thunder as currently constituted certainly is that, for this year and for years to come. So that remains a primary reason why the NBA and the players will ultimately get away with this. Keep Reading…
Via HoopsHype, Thabo has signed to play with Turkish club Fenerbahce.
Cool story from a fan getting behind the scenes at the Goodman-Drew rematch: “More players shuffled in, John Wall signed my ticket, Baron Davis signed Adam’s shirt but still no Durant. Finally he emerged from the locker room and began shooting around and showing love to all his boys playing in the game. This might be my opportunity. I walked to the corner of the court (where baseline and sideline meet) and walked straight to mid-court (right in front of the scorer’s table on the other side of the court) and waited til he was done talking to Mike Beasley….”Kevin…” I politely yelled. He heard me, turned towards me…hesitated for a second and then walked right to me. I handed him the sharpie and the jersey off my back. Without hesitating a second longer he signed right on the 3 underneath the D U R A N T.” Keep Reading…