Tuesday Bolts: 8.29.17

Russell Westbrook gave a sneak peak at some new Thunder gear from Nike: “Westbrook routinely posts stories to Snapchat and Instagram that feature him belting out tunes while driving. The one he posted on Monday shows him wearing a white Thunder T-shirt featuring the Nike swoosh. A team spokesman confirmed it’s official team gear from Nike. The videos post as mirrored images, with the writing backward, but a Photoshop adjustment reveals a more straightforward look at the shirt (albeit with a seatbelt across the front).”

Marc Hinton (Stuff) on Billy Donovan visiting New Zealand with Steven Adams: “Adams, resplendent in his trademark camo jacket, long locks tied back, and the early stages of a fresh beard,  told a media posse at Bruce Pulman Arena in south Auckland that he just hoped he left the right impression on his coach who had left for the long haul home earlier that morning. “My main focus was just showing him what our culture is as a country, trying to teach him where I’m from and also introducing him to my family and whatnot.”

Steven Adams discusses Paul George: “They bring in really good people who fit well into the locker-room because all that matters, because you could bring in a really good player, but if they screw up the locker-room you’ll still lose games. And the whole point is winning games. The front office does a great job of analyzing them as a person and then bringing them in. We’re just lucky that Paul George is really, really good as well.”

Nick Gallo on Doug McDermott: “Much of McDermott’s role will be decided by matchups, the game flow and what the team needs during a given rotation. Part of that will be the position McDermott plays. Typically cast as a small forward, McDermott recognized during the Thunder’s first round playoff series against the small-ball Houston Rockets that he can also utilize some of his frontcourt past to be a stretch power forward when required. If he can hold up physically on the defensive end at the four and stay nimble enough while at the three, McDermott could be a nice tool for Head Coach Billy Donovan to utilize when he sees fit.”

B/R has Russell Westbrook as the second best player in the NBA to have not won a title: “Could Russell Westbrook retire right now and earn recognition in Springfield? At this point, probably. After the 2016-17 campaign, Westbrook now has an MVP trophy on his mantle. He’s one of only two players to average a triple-double for an entire season, and he’s proved he can carry the Oklahoma City Thunder to semi-lofty heights while working as the team’s lone star. With nine seasons to his credit, two scoring titles and plenty of incredible numbers, he should be viewed as a near-lock, even with so much time left in his career.”

Rohan Nadkarni (SI) on the importance of ownership in the superteam era: “Players are savvy enough to know which owners will spend, and how to leverage their owners to make sure they continue to do so. Mostly lost in the hysteria of Durant’s decision to leave the Thunder in 2016 was how Oklahoma City ownership for years refused to dip into the luxury tax. As a result, OKC wouldn’t offer James Harden the money he wanted. Fearful of having to pay too much, the Thunder traded Harden, and broke up a potential superteam that could have maybe kept Durant, Harden and Russell Westbrook in the same city for their entire careers.”

Enes Kanter looks ready for the 2017-18 season: