- The rotation from the first preseason game and if it means anything
- Durant and Westbrook in a new system
- Contract year Dion?
- …and expectations for players like Mitch McGary and Cam Payne
Have you listened to Ryan Adams’ cover of 1989?
He covered 1989.
“Who are you talking about it?”
Surely you’ve seen Taylor Swift tweet about this.
“Not today. I haven’t paid attention.”
No, it’s been out for like weeks.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
The first man off the bench in the NBA is a role that varies from team-to-team. Some players have made careers as the sixth man, while other teams don’t have a defined role and simply substitute based on need and situation.
You won’t have to worry about any excessive reminders of the James Harden trade from me, but the fact is the sixth man role for Oklahoma City has been inconsistent since the bearded one was sent to Houston before the 2012-13 season.
A year of Kevin Martin, plus a year and a half of Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson wasn’t the end of the world for Oklahoma City, but serviceable didn’t cut it when there were so many offensive liabilities on the Thunder roster (see: Roberson, Andre and Perkins, Kendrick).
But three years since the infamous trade, the Thunder may have their best replacement yet in the form of Dion Waiters. Keep Reading…
Dan Feldman of PBT: “Durant might get hurt again. His foot injuries were more serious than we initially knew, and they were already pretty troubling. There might be something about his long, lanky frame and playing style that leaves him susceptible to injury. Plenty of players have had their careers derailed by foot injuries. If Durant has a structural issue, that’s it. The Thunder can’t win without him. But if he and Westbrook remain healthy, we might look back on this team as the NBA’s best. It will still have to cross several landmines, but the potential is there.”
Anthony Slater on last night’s game: “Westbrook is the quarterback of this reformed offensive attack. But Donovan is the coordinator. And he passed his first NBA test. Last season, the Thunder’s season-high was 31 assists. On Wednesday, OKC had 34 assists. Seven players had at least two. Seven players scored in double-figures.” Keep Reading…
A few stray thoughts from watching the Thunder smoke the young Timberwolves on a grainy internet stream:
175. That’s the amount of days since the Thunder, or what was left of them, last took the floor. Tonight they walk into the same arena, but with a team that’s ready to fight for a lot more than just the 8 seed in the playoffs.
This revolution won’t be televised, but there could be a stream or two floating about around game time, so keep an eye out. Happy basketball, everyone. Keep Reading…
Anthony Slater on Cam Payne: “The first came after he burst by Westbrook on a drive, drawing
Serge Ibaka to rotate. Payne rose for a layup, forcing Ibaka to jump with him, then hung long enough to curl a pass around Ibaka to an awaiting Mitch McGary for an easy layup. Later, Payne ran a perfectly executed pick-and-roll with Enes Kanter. After feigning a drive and forcing the big to switch onto him, he retreated back toward the perimeter, creating an open lane for the cutting Kanter, then curled a lefty hook pass on the money for an uncontested layup.”
Jim Lohmar of The Cauldron: “What many took as little more than refreshing candor from the all-world forward, Smith instead attempts to frame as somehow deeply offensive — particularly in light of Durant’s latest retributive rebuttal. How is it, exactly, that Durant’s past remarks somehow impugns his credibility when he calls Stephen A. Smith a liar? In fact, Smith’s suggestion that Durant was speaking like someone “a bit inebriated” may have been the biggest character hit of them all. All this before Smith took to shoehorning in the non-correction that he never actually spoke with people in Durant’s circle. ” Keep Reading…
Three things to know from Tuesday’s practice, the last one before the Thunder take the floor for the first time under Billy Donovan:
1.Mitch McGary gave a little insight into some of the changes Billy Donovan is making on the defensive end. Specifically in that there appear to be some changes in how the Thunder are going to defend the pick-and-roll.
“This summer has been key for me in improving on defense,” McGary said. “New ball screen defense was incorporated, so it’s a lot. I wouldn’t say easier, but it’s less difficult than it was last year. The guards are more involved in trying to get over the screen and helping the bigs get back to their man. So I think we have a pretty good understanding of it. We’re not going to be perfect because we just installed it the last couple weeks. But I’ve been working at it over the summer while I’ve been here.” Keep Reading…