Tuesday Bolts – 2.3.09

UPDATE: Finally, video of the halftime performance nearly gone horribly wrong. Watch and be horrified.

NBA.com Power Rankings: “The Thunder had shown some defensive improvement (104.9 rating over a 10-game thunderbolt231stretch) until they lost Desmond Mason for the season with a hyperextended right knee. Then they gave up a combined 232 points in Utah and Sacramento.”

And No. 25 in SI’s rankings: “Kevin Durant was rightfully left off the All-Star team, as a club as bad as OKC probably doesn’t deserve to be represented. But is there any doubt this will be the final time for a while that this happens? Durant is averaging 26.1 points since coach Scott Brooks took over and moved him to small forward in November. “Kevin Durant is a potential Hall of Fame player,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He has the passion. He’s basically unstoppable.”

Update on Serge Ibaka: The Sergeant had one of his best games of the season two nights ago, scoring 16 on 7-9 shooting and grabbing 15 boards against DKV Joventut. He’s getting more and more minutes (almost 19 a game over the last six, up from about 11 in his first 13). Follow Serge here. (Are you might need this.)

The TrueHoop network got together to come up with some ideas for All-Star reform: “I’d like to see the freshmen play the NBDL All Stars. It’s become apparent that the NBDL is a viable source of NBA level talent. I think this would be a competitive game, since each has something valuable to play for. The D-Leaguers will be fighting to show that they belong in the league, and they may have an extra chip on their shoulder playing millionaire rookies.”

SLAM’s top shooting guard prospects – a position OKC definitely needs help at: “Up until the past month or so, Duke’s Gerald Henderson has only shown frustratingly small doses of his talent and potential. He seems to have turned a corner, however, posting 13-straight double-digit scoring games and four games of 20 or more points in January alone. Henderson is NBA athleticism personified.”

A fantasy report from ESPN.com: Before long, Kevin Durant (33 points, five rebounds, two 3-pointers and a block) and Jeff Green (28 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, three steals) are going to be the best forward tandem in the league. Part of that is due to the fact that, at some point, Durant and I could be one of the best forward duos in the league, that’s how unimaginable his upside is. But Green is looking more and more like a Scottie Pippen for Durant, with his No. 55 ranking on the Player Rater for the season. He’s so unflashy and composed, it’s easy to overlook his 16.6 points, 6.6 boards, 2.0 assists, 1.4 3s, 1.0 steals and 0.5 blocks with decent percentages from the floor and the stripe. Aside from his maturity and basketball IQ, the improvement in his long-range shot from last season to this season is an indication that Green is a hard worker who’ll continue to improve in other aspects of the game. … Russell Westbrook went off for 34 points (including hitting 20 of 22 free throws!), six rebounds and eight assists, and it’s starting to look like there’s a chance he’ll be better than Derrick Rose, and even — gulp — potentially the best player in the 2008 draft. It’s rare that a point guard with virtually no ceiling comes along, and Westbrook fits that bill.”

A column on Scott Brooks from those who know him best – his alma mater, UC Irvine: “Check this Anteater Nation, one of UC Irvine’s very own is making a name for himself in the National Basketball Association. I know what you are thinking. UCI’s basketball team has never made the NCAA Tournament; it hasn’t even won its own conference tournament. How does it have a player making a name for himself in the NBA? The truth is, we don’t. We have a coach. Former Anteater Scott Brooks (’87) is currently the interim coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Brooks won the job after P.J. Carlesimo was fired after the team went 1-12 to begin the season in their new hometown. Brooks hasn’t completely changed the team since he took over, but he has done enough to possibly remove the “interim” from his coaching label.”

The Thunder youth movement is catching eyes: “No Virginia, the Oklahoma City Thunder are not very good this year.  But listen to my main man Leo Tolstoy.  Leo Tolstoy says, “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”  Put those two warriors alongside the Thunder’s three young warriors and you got yourself something.  You got yourself something special.”

TalkHoops.net’s power rankings: “For all our love of the Thunder and their “resurgence,” they played .500 for a month with a pretty easy schedule and are still 11-37. Let’s hold off on the Kevin Durant love until they at least get to 15 wins.”

Checking in on the 66ers, they dropped to 6-19: “Derrick Dial, Gary Forbes and Jeremy Kelly each had 16 points to lead the 66ers while Ryan Humphery added 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Dial came off the bench to connect on back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the third quarter to pull Tulsa within 68-62 and force an Austin timeout with 2:33 to play in the period. Austin, however, answered by scoring seven of the game’s next nine points to regain momentum.”

2009-02-03 09:52:31
One tiny ray of good news. With Bynum's injury putting him out for several months, we won't see him in our two meetings with LA. Which means we don't have to worry about him sending any of our players to the hospital!
M. Smith
2009-02-03 10:32:38
Durant not an allstar ? Just because the team is bad, that should not deminish someone's individual achievements.
2009-02-03 12:11:24
Joe, Early in the season, you talked about JJ Reddick. Since the Magic will apparently be shopping for a PG since Nelson went down - possibly lost for the season - what do you think the chances are that Miami's dialed up Sam Presti this morning?
2009-02-03 12:12:32
Oops, wrong city. I should have said Orlando. not Miami.
Jax Raging Bile Duct
2009-02-03 12:32:42
Something tells me Orlando isn't looking to replace Nelson with Watson or Atkins.
2009-02-03 12:37:22
<a href="#comment-1623" rel="nofollow">@Jax Raging Bile Duct</a> Not replace, he's injured... fill in!
2009-02-03 13:37:36
That's a great point Martz. And I feel like Redick is expendable with Mikael Pietrus... but who knows what these GMs are thinking.
2009-02-03 14:14:10
I like JJ as a specialist, and in our case, the very specialty we don't have: good outside shooting especially off the bench. Of course, I wouldn't be upset if they wanted Earl. I bet they would love one of our surplus forwards too (Wilcox, Smith), but I don't know what they have to trade with really. How long is Jameer out for anyone know?
2009-02-03 14:15:19
And last night I tuned in Orlando for a few minutes, before Jameer got hurt, and Pietrus doesn't even start. Courtney Lee does, then Pietrus, comes n for the 2 and 3, and then last but not least, JJ.
2009-02-03 14:26:41
More reason that J.J. is expendable. His only problem is that he's not a quality defender, especially at the two, but I'd take him for Earl Watson straight up for sure. We need someone to hit a three off the bench, and we know J.J. can shoot.
2009-02-03 14:59:50
They've (Orlando) acted like they want to keep JJ though... They might be more willing now though... But, Does He (JJ) fit what we're trying to do longer term?... A shooter sure would be nice to have... especially at the 2.
2009-02-03 15:17:52
I think he fits. Every championship team has a lights out 3 point threat coming off the bench. He's young and inexpensive, does one thing, and does it well. If the price was right I'd pull the trigger in a heartbeat.
2009-02-03 15:19:36
Sure he's not defensive minded, neither is Brent Barry, and he was pretty useful to the spurs!
2009-02-03 15:54:28
oh... dont get me wrong... Earl for JJ?... I'd done that yesterday...
Welcome To Loud City
2009-02-03 16:09:48
I'll take JJ for Earl any day of the week. I'd also take a six pack and 2 hot dogs for Earl as well, so thats not saying too much :/
2009-02-03 16:20:17
<a href="#comment-1634" rel="nofollow">@AD </a> Know I got ya... I was just answering your "does he fit" question.
2009-02-03 16:49:56
This site won't let me post links, but did you guys see the Wall St Journal article about Aubrey McClendon today?? Apparently he is selling his valuable wine collection because he is in such economic distress. I hope he doesn't have to sell his share of the Thunder! What would we do without Chesapeake as a sponsor???
2009-02-03 17:17:02
If you post the link, it just goes to the admin for approval. It's an anti-spam feature.
2009-02-03 17:41:55
Watching NBA tv on the pre game just now. Gary Payton and Alonzo Mourning on with Ahmad Rashad. Ahmad asks GP who is his NBA player of the week. Paytons answer: Kevin Durant. I often wonder if they know each other, Durant having played in Seattle last year and GP still has a lot of ties to the area. Regardless, it's great to get the endorsement of a likely hall of famer. BTW JJ Redick gets 2.8 next year and 3.8 the year after which is his qualifying offer. Just under 5 mil owed: http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-player-salaries/team/Magic/ Watson has 6.2 and 6.6 = 12.8. We have a trade exception the way I understand it for about a million or so, but we would have to take back somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 million in other contracts if we went Earl for JJ. I just really don't see anybody on the roster we would want. Brian Cook's numbers match, but he is a really redundant on the forward heavy Thunder. http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-player-salaries/team/Thunder/