Happy Saturday. Thank you for your support of Daily Thunder. Felina.
Happy Saturday. Thank you for your support of Daily Thunder. Felina.
NBA 2K14, this is why you’re the best.
Pretty diabolical move though 2K, because you’re going to make people take 15-foot jumpers with Perk just to see it for themselves. You win.
In case you’re unaware, this is the inspiration: Keep Reading…
The Thunder have two top five players according to CBSSports.com’s Elite 100 rankings: “The man scored the most points in the league while shooting 51 percent from the field, 42 percent from the arc, 91 percent from the line. He is the most dominant scoring force in the NBA. The evolution of the game has brought about an understanding of the importance of efficiency. It is not a fad, it is a deeper way of seeing the game for what really makes a difference, for understanding how important possessions are. What gets missed in Durant’s lethal three, though, is how much he’s improved. Five assists per game last season, and his rebound numbers remain steady at seven per game. He has a 56 percent effective field goal percentage (factoring the impact of threes), despite being a jumpshooter. He has lead his team to division titles, No. 1 seeds, and is undeniably the second best player in the game. He just turned 25.”
Kurt Helin of PBT: “What if Westbrook just is not the same? Here’s the dirty little secret about the Thunder — their sets are simplistic. They can get away with that, especially in the regular season, because they have the best pure scorer on the planet in Kevin Durant and the explosive Westbrook. If you blow up their sets, one of those two go isolation and score at a rate most teams can’t match. (It’s more complex than that; this is the one paragraph synopsis.) But what happens if Westbrook loses just half a step? Especially since there is no James Harden or even Kevin Martin to soak up those possessions. The Thunder have a lot of questions to answer. So does Westbrook when he returns.” Keep Reading…
KD in an interview that aired on SportsCenter Wednesday:
“We’re going to miss Russ, no doubt. We’ve seen that, especially in the playoffs. So we’re going to miss him. But guys gotta step up. Everybody’s worked hard on their games this summer and we’ve got to step up. I know I’ve got to step up a lot. I’ve got to come with it. I’ve got to make sure my teammates are ready.”
Also, KD was asked about the whole being second thing: “So many people say it’s cool to be in the top three, or the top two. It’s cool that you’re considered the second best player. But I don’t care. I just want to be the best. That’s every player’s mindset and it’s definitely mine.”
“There are only three things I really want,” says KD. “First is a title, then Finals MVP and MVP. And if I don’t get it, like I keep saying, I’m going to die trying.”
There is a thing that happens anytime slightly big Thunder related news is dropped. I’m at work and I start to hear the ringing of the G-chat bells in my headphones. They chime in over the top of 2 Chainz shouting “She look like she tryin to walk backwards, bruh” or the new Justin Vernon produced Blind Boys of Alabama album or something.
I click over to my G-Mail and someone’s name is flashing along the top banner and there’s a blue rectangle at the bottom of the page. I’ll click on the rectangle and that rectangle will become a square. Then I see something like this: Keep Reading…
Zach Lowe of Grantland: “It’s easy to say that was last year, and this is this year. Westbrook will be back before Christmas. Jeremy Lamb is ready for real minutes, and should eventually turn into a useful shooter. Jackson had cracked 20 minutes in a game just 13 times in the regular season before doing so in all but one of Oklahoma City’s playoff games, and suddenly found himself a primary scoring option under enormous pressure. He didn’t always respond well, particularly down the stretch of two series-turning games against Memphis, but he shot a whopping 55 percent out of the pick-and-roll for the season — one of the very best marks in the league, per Synergy Sports. He was turnover-prone on those plays, as the Thunder are in general, and he has a long way to go as a distributor and reliable spot-up guy. But he’s explosive and crafty in the lane, and he has had months now to prepare for a larger role this season. Those are all reasons for blind optimism. But that’s the wrong reaction here, and it was wrong before Westbrook’s injury. This team cannot go into the playoffs with the same style of play, and same rotation choices, and expect to win four rounds. It needs to craft something like a continuous offensive system, rather than a handful of scripted plays, and that falls mostly on Brooks and the coaching staff. A simple offense was healthy for these guys when they were young, inexperienced, and learning on the fly. And it worked damn well in the macro picture. That’s how good Durant and Westbrook are. But in the micro picture of the postseason, when there is very little room for inefficiency, the Thunder needed to be better.”
Tom Ziller of SB Nation: “But here’s the thing with Ibaka: he has a whole lot of efficiency to lose before he’s deemed ineffective. Serge’s True Shooting percentage last season was .612, which means he’s good for 1.24 points per shooting possession. League average is about 1.06. Over the course of a game and a season, that’s a big difference. But Westbrook was not nearly so efficient — he was about league average in that category. So any extra shots that Ibaka soaks up in his absence don’t need to be Ibaka Efficient, they just need to be Westbrook Efficient. And in fact, given that Oklahoma City finished No. 1 in offense last season and could probably survive a slip down the top-10 in that category because the team’s defense is also spectacular and because Westbrook will return early enough in the season, Ibaka just needs to be not totally disastrous in those extra possessions.” Keep Reading…
Some interesting comments from Sam Presti to Berry Tramel in this piece here, starting with, “That’s why we built the organization the way we did. [Westbrook's injury] doesn’t end our world.”
That’s the Presti mantra in a nutshell. I touched on this yesterday, but the fans that grew frustrated at the lack of moves this summer failed to understand the vision Presti is operating with. Because Westbrook’s injury only reinforces Presti’s line of thinking. So many fans scream for the team to “go for it” and by not using the mid-level exception or breaking into the tax, they’re letting a championship window slip.
But as anyone that’s watched sports for any amount of time should know by now, it’s all unpredictable. There are unknown variables, wrenches thrown into the plan, curveballs that fly in. There’s no way to plan for a devastating injury or bad call. You just have to deal and adapt to it all. And if you’ve got an organization that decides to push all its chips into the middle on one season, those curveballs become more devastating, exponentially. Keep Reading…
All the information coming from the Thunder about Russell Westbrook is, as you’d expect, trying to put a positive spin on a pretty negative situation. That Westbrook should experience a full recovery, that it was good that he got a full repair on his meniscus in April, that he was progressing and this scope is a minor deal.
But all that said, the big question looms: After all of this, will Russell Westbrook be the same? He says he’s not going to change the way he plays, but will his newly reconstructed knee have a say in that?
On ESPN LA Now (h/t Anthony Slater of NewsOK.com), orthopedic surgeon Robert Klapper expressed hesitation about Westbrook’s recovery, and explained why his return has taken longer than usual (his comments start at about 26 minutes in): Keep Reading…