Wednesday Bolts: 10.11.17

Erik Horne recaps last night’s preseason finale win in Denver: “The Thunder’s offense had the efficient numbers and splash plays in the first half, but there was something missing that emerged early in the third quarter against the Nuggets. Before an 11-0 third quarter run, the Thunder’s offense had the advantage. Forty percent on 3-pointers, including two each from Russell Westbrook and Josh Huestis. Carmelo Anthony was skipping cross-court bounce passes to Alex Abrines on the break. It still could have been crisper. In the Thunder’s 96-86 win, OKC played some unorthodox lineups, out of necessity, continuity and for the sake of experiment. All worked.”

Chris Mannix (The Vertical) on Paul George feeling right at home with the Thunder: “Many days, most days, George climbs into his golf cart, a half-dozen fishing poles strapped to the back, and pond hops, waving at the farmer-tanned golfers gawking at the 6-foot-9 All-Star forward motoring past them. There may be a part of George that longs for a return to Los Angeles, but everything about Oklahoma City feels like home. “Life here, it’s not much different than Indiana,” George told The Vertical. ‘Really, it’s just my lake. I have a big lake in my backyard in Indiana. This time of year I’d get on my boat and fish. That was how I would spend my days. Now I just go from pond to pond.‘”

Danny Chau (The Ringer) on Russ being the lightning to the OKC’s Thunder: “If writing about music is like dancing about architecture, what is writing about Russell Westbrook like? It’s not a celebration or excoriation of form; it’s something more fundamental. It’s staring up to the sky at the onset of a storm and processing your own visceral reaction to the strobing flashes of lightning that illuminate the horizon. Did you gaze in awe, or did you worry about the calamity to follow? He is the lightning. What follows is the Thunder.”

The Warriors reportedly think Westbrook’s style of play is easy to defend: “Per ESPN’s Zach Lowe on The Lowe Post podcast, the Warriors “don’t fear” Westbrook because his “style of play is so easy to defend; it’s like cake to them.” That confirms what appears in Jack McCallum’s Golden Days. Lowe also noted McCallum’s book notes Durant left the Thunder to sign with the Warriors in July 2016 “partly” because of Westbrook.”

B/R picks 2017-18 award winners — Sam Presti takes home Executive of the Year: “The loss of Durant, and the need to maximize Russell Westbrook’s prime years, sent Presti into star-seeking mode. Perhaps nobody in the league understood better how important it’s become to have not one, not two, but three stars to compete. He acquired Paul George from the Pacers for a package of Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis (acquired in the Serge Ibaka deal). Then, armed with two superstars and a decade of success, he was able to compel Anthony to waive his no-trade clause and leave New York for the sticks of OKC. That’s no small accomplishment, getting a star player who is mesmerized by big markets like no other to voluntarily transplant himself to one of the smallest markets on the NBA map.”

SI counts the eight biggest threats to the Warriors in 2017-18: “Oklahoma City has clearly improved its lineup versatility thanks to a pair of under-the-radar offseason signings. Forward Patrick Patterson will help the Thunder field credible small-ball lineups when center Steven Adams is off the court, while veteran point guard Raymond Felton gives coach Billy Donovan the option to move Westbrook off the ball, unlocking even more scoring potential. The 2016-17 Thunder were an early out because they lacked the ability to adjust and adapt in the postseason; this year’s version is better prepared to keep up in shootouts and to downsize for match-up purposes.”

Nick DePaula (ESPN) reports that Carmelo Anthony’s signature Jordan Brand sneaker line is ending: “Jordan Brand is halting the Melo shoe series after 13 models, according to industry sources, making last season’s Melo M13 sneaker the final model of the line. Though he has continued wearing the M13 during Thunder preseason games, it’s expected that Anthony will wear a combination of shoes from the brand this upcoming year, such as the Air Jordan XXXII, custom editions of retro models, and possibly even a remixed version of his very first signature model.”

Erik Horne on Carmelo Anthony disagreeing with DePaula’s report: “‘It’s false. False,” Anthony said. “Let’s not even discuss that.’ According to DePaula – who in September broke the news of Russell Westbrook’s new 10-year contract with Jordan Brand – Anthony agreed to a long-term endorsement deal with Jordan in January, which the Thunder forward reiterated to the media.”

First look at the Jordan XXXII “WHY NOT” PE that Russ will wear this season:

via B/R Kicks