Friday Bolts: 01.03.20

Friday Bolts: 01.03.20

Oklahoma City’s hot streak continued in San Antonio, and Brandon Rahbar has your recap of the Thunder’s 19th win of the season.

Did you hear that? The latest Daily Thunder Podcast?

Maddie Lee (The Oklahoman) gives five takeaways from the Thunder’s victory over the Spurs.

I’m not sure how to describe Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s pants last night, but I’m hoping our commenters can come up with some choice descriptors:

Billy Donovan is the Western Conference Coach of the Month for December. Donovan is also *whispers* a legit candidate for coach of the year.

The first returns for the fan vote for the All-Star Game are in, and nary a Thunder in sight. Might I add, though, that the fan votes are a tad bit silly and primarily a popularity contest–results play very little into the votes. I mean, Damian Lillard is third among guards in the West…

James Herbert (CBS Sports) lists Danilo Gallinari as among the most tradeable names to know. ” Typically, a player of Gallinari’s caliber would fetch a first-round pick near the deadline. He can play both forward spots, can score in all sorts of ways and doesn’t kill you defensively. He is also 31 and on an expiring contract, so he is of little use to Oklahoma City beyond this season. If the offers aren’t acceptable, the Thunder could just keep him and hope to work out a sign-and-trade.” Chris Paul was named as one of the most difficult players to move due to his contract.

On the other hand, Brad Botkin (CBS Sports) puts CP3 at the top of his star index, due to Paul’s recent all-star level play. “If you haven’t been paying attention — or if you were driving the “Chris Paul is done” bus this past offseason and now just refuse to pull over and reconsider your position — Paul has been flat-out balling. The Thunder, the West’s No. 7 seed with an 18-15 record entering play on Thursday, have won seven of their last eight.”

Coming into the season, a lot of people questioned how Paul would handle being traded to OKC, but that question has been answered–the Point God has fully bought in:

With David Stern’s passing, more articles continue to be written about his lasting legacy in the NBA and in sports. Erik Horne (The Athletic) explains how Stern is the reason OKC has an NBA team. “Fifteen years after the Hornets arrived, Cornett is happy to remind Oklahoma City how much it owes Stern. ‘If he hadn’t been behind us, there’s no way,’ Cornett said. ‘He saw potential and we delivered for him. Bringing the Hornets out of New Orleans into Oklahoma City was a risk, and then moving the team from Seattle to Oklahoma City. He had to go to bat for us on more than one occasion, and on both occasions he proved to be right about where the franchises should be. Our fan base is pretty special and he saw that. We were a market that really valued his product. He figured it’d be successful. When I talk about that, it’s not on the court. It’s business. And he was right.’

Berry Trammel (The Oklahoman) writes that Stern was the “central figure in the success” of the NBA in Oklahoma City. “The point man for Oklahoma City’s wild NBA adventure is neither Russell Westbrook nor Chris Paul. Westbrook, the face of the Thunder franchise, and Paul, the original (and returned) OKC star, have been bedrock figures in this basketball odyssey. But David Stern dished the biggest assist of them all. He endorsed our frontier city when some basketball folks back East thought you had to arrive by stagecoach. Stern, the NBA’s commissioner from 1984-2014, died Wednesday at age 77.”

While Stern’s legacy is cemented in OKC, his memory in Seattle is far more complex. Larry Stone (The Seattle Times) says that, with all due sympathy to Stern’s family, Stern will be remembered as the reason there’s no NBA team in Seattle. “With Stern, there is an overwhelming amount of good that’s reflected in the robust nature of NBA basketball, nearly five years after his resignation. But any honest assessment of Stern’s tenure as NBA commissioner must include his unsparing treatment of the Sonics, and the devastating impact that will outlive him.”

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