Monday Bolts: 9.10.18

Grant Hughes (B/R) grades the Thunder offseason: “Yet somehow, without much drama at all, OKC retained George on a four-year, $137 million deal. That makes the offseason a colossal win, and that’s before considering the departure of Carmelo Anthony, the arrival of Nerlens Noel and Dennis Schroder and the retention of Raymond Felton and Jerami Grant. None of this happened in a vacuum, either. Oklahoma City got markedly better at a time when the Rockets took a step in the other direction. Houston may still be the biggest in-conference threat to the Warriors, but the Thunder have at least closed the gap. Considering everyone thought this offseason would be about OKC coping with the loss of George, that qualifies as much more than a pleasant surprise. And it also renders lineup fits and the contributions of three picks between No. 45 and No. 57 secondary concerns. Grade: A

Cody Taylor (Thunder Wire) on Andre Roberson’s new shooting coach: “Matthews, also known as @LethalShooter on social media, played two years collegiately at Washington State before transferring to St. Bonaventure for two years. He has worked with several other NBA players, including Luc Mbah a Moute, Quinn Cook and Craig Hodges among others. He infamously tweeted last year that he could help transform Roberson as a shooter. Of course, Roberson has struggled shooting as he is a career 46.7 percent shooter from the free throw line and is a career 25.7 percent shooter from three-point range. As Roberson has recovered from a ruptured patellar injury, he has been working on his shooting, among other things. With injuries that severe, players often work on shooting while they are unable to stand. After shooting a career-low 31.6 percent from the line last season, Roberson understands that he must improve as a shooter in order to stay on the court and it sounds like he has sought after a respected coach to try to improve.”

Mo Cheeks was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame over the weekend: Here’s his emotional speech.

Ben Golliver (SI) on if Russell Westbrook would be a Hall-of-Famer if he retired today: “Like Durant, his former Thunder teammate, Westbrook hasn’t turned 30 and yet already has done enough to get into Springfield. Before his 2017 MVP season, it would have been easier to hold his lack of a ring, his erratic style and his outside shooting struggles against him. But Westbrook became the first player to average a triple-double in decades, and then he did it again last season. He’s a two-time scoring champ, an assist leader, a seven-time All-NBA selection, a seven-time All-Star and an Olympic gold medalist. Plus, he’s the last player left who still tries hard during the All-Star Game. Even if Westbrook retired today and never made it back to the Finals without Durant, his historic individual accomplishments and his five-year run as a top-10 player would merit Hall inclusion.”

Kevin Webb (Business Insider) lists the top 10 highest-ranked players in NBA 2K199) Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder – 93 Overall. Russell Westbrook followed up his MVP 2016-17 season by averaging a triple-double for the second consecutive year with 25.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game. The last player to average a triple-double for the entire season was Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson in 1962.”

LeBron James listed the Thunder as one of this season’s contenders:

Kaushik Turlapaty (Sportskeeda) has Steven Adams on his list of the best dunks on LeBron: “The Oklahoma City Thunder visited the Cleveland Cavaliers for a regular-season game in December of 2016. This game was filled with highlight plays but the most impressive was this ferocious dunk from Steven Adams over James. The Thunder were up by 10 in the third quarter when Adams decided to silence the Quicken Loans Arena crowd with a huge poster dunk. He finished off a pick-and-roll pass from guard Russell Westbrook with a thunderous slam right on top of James. This is what LeBron had to say post-game when asked about Adams’ dunk on him. “I’ve been on both sides of that before. I’ve been dunked on and the other way around. I think that number is higher.”

Chips O’Toole (DMarge) lists Russell Westbrook among New York Fashion Week’s best-dressed men: “The men of style were out in force this week with multiple awards shows and New York Fashion Week all drawing out big name players in their coolest looks. The winner? You and your tired old wardrobe. Russell Westbrook led the way at New York Fashion Week whilst model Lucky Blue Smith, John Legend, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston all showed off their finest tuxedo and cocktail looks.”

Russ showed up at the OU/UCLA game over the weekend:

Around the League: Devin Booker will undergo surgery on his hand…. Rodney Hood will sign his qualifying offer from the Cavs…. Anthony Davis has fired his agent…. a KD/LeBron-recorded rap song from 2011 has finally surfaced…. Andre Bynum is attempting an NBA comeback…. The impact of the new shot clock rules…. When can you start calling someone a ‘future Hall-of-Famer’?

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