Thursday Bolts – 7.30.09

Yesterday’s B.S. Report with Marc Stein and Ric Bucher spent a lot of time talking about remaining free agents, and thunderbolt23Oklahoma City was brought up multiple times. Including once by Simmons who accidently said, “Oklahoma Cit–” before stopping himself. They start chatting at about the 33 minute mark about the Thunder.

Chris Silva has an interesting piece about players that go to Europe: “For every welcome-to-the-NBA moment, there are moments like those of Marcus Dove and hundreds others of American ball players like him, people who move halfway around the globe to play professional basketball and to chase a dream. Moments like the one Dove had minutes after stepping off a plane in Frankfurt, Germany, early last September when he couldn’t find his driver for two hours. Dove couldn’t speak German, nor did he have a working cell phone. Not exactly how he wanted to begin a new chapter in his life.”

The Lost Ogle recapping the somewhat eventful summer and other things: “As crazy as it sounds, Smith does make some good points, such as the fact that Durant is a hard worker when it comes to the game. James basically coasted on natural ability and physical gifts for his first five plus years of his career. It was not until playing with Kobe Bryant on the “Redeem Team” that LeBron saw Kobe’s work ethic and realized that it takes effort to improve. Durant has always been a gym rat who loves the game so much it is all he wants to do. Given that KD is four years behind LeBron age-wise, Durant’s worker mentality could lead to him being much better than LeBron is now by the time he hits the 24 year old mark.”

Not that anybody particulary cares, but Etan Thomas evidently writes for the Huffington Post and The Big Poet had an entry two days ago: “My four-year-old son Malcolm knows that saying you’re sorry for something you have done to offend another person is what you are supposed to do. He knows that even if it was an accident and you had no intention of disrespecting or affronting the person, the correct thing to do is to offer a sincere apology. Oh, if we could all have the mentality of a four year old.”

Dime talking about KD’s potential: “Durant’s recently received praise from Coach K and the rest of the Team USA’s coaching staff for his versatility, hard work, dedication and pure talent is just further proof that this kid is going to be one of the best basketball player’s for years to come. I’m predicting multiple NBA scoring titles, serious MVP considerations and a title or two for Durant before it’s all said and done. The scariest thing about Durant is that he doesn’t turn 21 until September 29th. This kid is going to be a problem for MANY years to come…”

Jon Nichols at HP on players that score easy baskets: “There’s a nice mix of big and small guys. Leading the way is Reggie Evans, a bull on the inside who perhaps doesn’t have the height/athleticism to finish with authority. He’s not going to take stupid shots, so unless he’s near the basket, he won’t be shooting. Tony Paker (not shown) leads the league in total layups, but those make up only 39.36% of his attempts.”

The NBA has taken a step down a slippery slope: “The hunger for new revenue during the economic downturn has the NBA and NHL entertaining the once-taboo prospect of corporate sponsorships for game uniforms. Beginning this season the NBA will let teams sell ads on their practice jerseys, says deputy commissioner Adam Silver, who adds the league is continuing to explore the issue of ads on game jerseys.”

Matt Steinmetz of Fanhouse says the Tim Thomas signing signaled something: “The Tim Thomas signing in Dallas makes it official: Free agency is winding down. Yeah, Lamar Odom is still out there and so are David Lee and a few others. But once you get to Tim Thomas, it means that Free Agency 2009 is poised to jump the shark.”

Dime’s top 10 small forwards (h/t Clayton): “5. Kevin Durant – Admittedly, when I picked KD to lead the NBA in scoring in ‘09, I didn’t 100% believe he’d actually do it. I believed he had a shot at the crown, but the larger point of my prediction was that Durant would make a big leap from his rookie year into legit stardom. And he did. KD’s 25.3 ppg was sixth in the League, and after he permanently moved from two-guard to small forward, he flourished.” That’s right, Hedo Turkoglu is in front of KD. What are you supposed to say to that?

The Big Lead weighed in on the KD or LeBron thing: “Love Durant. Repeatedly said we would have taken him over Oden 1st in the draft. Wouldn’t be surprised if he scored 30 a night for the next five years and even took home an MVP award. But better than LeBron right now? Disagree. Still need to see more out of Durant at the defensive end, and if he’s a real superstar, he’ll carry the Thunder to the playoffs this year … like LeBron did in year three. Durant as good–or better?!?!–than LeBron?”

Colin
2009-07-30 19:59:15
<a href="#comment-18659" rel="nofollow">@Jax Raging Bile Duct</a> That was sort of my point. Durant is probably the better offensive player, no doubt about it. But Hedo's skill set was PERFECT for that Magic offense, and maximized because of it. I think Durant is the better player, but Hedo was/is the better fit. Which is why it will be interesting to see how Carter and Hedo fare in Orlando and Toronto, respectively.
Keith
2009-07-30 09:06:20
I don't know. I think the list was pretty close to accurate. Lebron is easily number one. Carmelo is still a slightly better KD with a stronger body. Hedo, whether you love or hate him, is all but a 6'10" PG who may very well have been the best player on that team. Hedo might not drop 40 every game, but let's not pretend Dwight was scoring 20+ ppg because of his great post game. Granger and KD are essentially in the same boat, both had breakout years, carried their team, and had quite comparable numbers. Those two spots are probably interchangeable. As much as we love KD, it was based on last year, not on his potential to be a "best ever" sort of player. He didn't play much defense and wasn't a good/smart passer. I expect this year he'll be fighting Melo for the 2 spot, but that's this year. I'm going to say it again, and it probably won't go over well, but I don't think KD is a Lebron/Duncan/Shaq/Jordan kind of superstar. I think he's more of a Kobe, Pippen (top 25 all time, overshadowed by number 1), or Wade kind of superstar. He can carry a team with scoring, he can shred a defense and would be a terror in the postseason. But, he doesn't make his teammates take it to another level. He can't win with a bad team, but he can easily be an MVP and "best in the league" kind of player with good teammates.
Clayton
2009-07-30 07:51:16
More from Dime: KD the #5 SF? http://dimemag.com/2009/07/top-10-small-forwards-of-the-08-09-season/
Royce
2009-07-30 08:01:58
<a href="#comment-18614" rel="nofollow">@Clayton </a> I missed that. Thanks. And yeah, they're wrong about that. They use some kind of disclaimer saying it's not a "best" list but who had the most impact on a season last year. Still, KD shouldn't be five there.
Mo
2009-07-30 12:12:48
I don't agree with the list because they put Terance Williams on the list and he wasn't even in the NBA last year. <blockquote cite="#commentbody-18619"> I’m going to say it again, and it probably won’t go over well, but I don’t think KD is a Lebron/Duncan/Shaq/Jordan kind of superstar. I think he’s more of a Kobe, Pippen (top 25 all time, overshadowed by number 1), or Wade kind of superstar. He can carry a team with scoring, he can shred a defense and would be a terror in the postseason. But, he doesn’t make his teammates take it to another level. He can’t win with a bad team, but he can easily be an MVP and “best in the league” kind of player with good teammates. </blockquote> I vehemently disagree with you on two fronts. First of all, and I know that this a Thunder blog, but are you really going to throw Kobe in with Pippen on the second tier of superstars? Look back at the 2006 and 2007 Laker teams that Kobe lugged into the playoffs. When your starting lineup includes Smush Parker, Brian Cook, and Kwame Brown and you make it into the playoffs, your making your teammates better. Secondly, are we going to put restrictions on a guy that can average 25 ppg at the age of 20? The Thunder for last year were in serious discussion for being the worst team in the history of the NBA, and that is because the talent level was really low. We were starting Johan Petro at the beginning of the season and he couldn't even get garbage time minutes with the Nuggets. Somehow that team won 23 games and lost by 4 or fewer in like 18 others. No one wins anything in the NBA with no talent around him, but if KD gets to the playoffs this year he could take that step into the league's elite.
tbird26p
2009-07-30 12:30:35
He is for sure better than Hedo. I would put him in front of Granger too because of the massive improvements.
DSMok1
2009-07-30 12:55:46
<a href="http://www.wagesofwins.com/Top152009.html" rel="nofollow">The Wages of Wins All-NBA rankings</a>... Looking at this list of small forwards and Dime's.... well, it's different. I'm betting KD is the second best in the league next year. Carmelo is OVERRATED BIGTIME. He scores points, but at a very low percentage clip... compare with KD. Turk is overrated also. I think next year only Lebron is better.
Nix
2009-07-30 13:09:52
<a href="#comment-18629" rel="nofollow">@tbird26p </a> Agreed...you put Durant in Hedo's place and they win the championship
Colin
2009-07-30 13:59:14
<a href="#comment-18632" rel="nofollow">@Nix </a> As much as I love Durant, the Magic DO NOT win the championship with Durant in Hedo's place. Durant, while probably better offensively, could not provide what Hedo did for that team. Again, I love Durant, but you are mistaken.
Dustin
2009-07-30 14:15:12
The Dime had Harden at 8 8. James Harden Pac-10 Player of the Year (20.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.2 apg) and first team All-American played his way into the No. 3 Draft slot, where he’s expected to start from Day One in Oklahoma City. Before struggling in the NCAA Tournament, Harden led his conference in scoring and steals (1.6 spg), and drew a ton of Paul Pierce and Brandon Roy comparisons.
Jax Raging Bile Duct
2009-07-30 15:16:35
<a href="#comment-18644" rel="nofollow">@Colin</a> Hedo does a lot of ball facilitating for the Magic. Several to most of their plays start with him. So I agree that a knee-jerk swap of Hedo and Kevin starting game 1 of the playoffs this year would hurt the Magic. However, Durant is a much better overall player than Hedo. So in a full season's time, the Magic adjusts their playbook to Durant's skills, or Durant adjusts to the playbook. Probably a combination of both. But this is all hypothetical, so you can't really ever tell. You can't just look at head to head stats, or Durant wins everything all day long. Would Durant have been able to shoot 42% from 3 if he were required to take twice as many? Their position is the same, but their style of play isn't.