Thursday Bolts – 3.26.09

Scoop Jackson has 12 things to watch in the NBA: “4. The non-trade/trade of Tyson Chandler: Either Jeff Bower is thunderbolt2319going to come off as the luckiest GM in the game or a licensed idiot. If the Hornets play themselves into “elite” conversation in the West by season’s end (and they’ve won 12 of their past 15 games) and upset either the Lakers or the Spurs in the playoffs, then Chandler’s failing his physical with Oklahoma City may be the biggest blessing-in-disguise in the NBA this season.”

The curious case of Earl Watson’s playing time: “That angle could be Watson is no longer in the plans. The Thunder came close to trading him at least once this season in a three-team deal that would have sent him to Charlotte back in January and would have brought Dallas’ Jerry Stackhouse to Oklahoma City. Watson, who is earning $6.2 million this season, would also be the team’s highest paid player next year at $6.6 million in the final year of his deal if he is not dealt this summer. A small piece of the puzzle could be that Watson is set to earn twice as much as Atkins next year and the team is evaluating whether Atkins, 34, can still be a full-time backup. Of Atkins’ $3.48 million salary for next season only $760,000 is guaranteed.” I think Darnell is on to something there.

I must say, I’m incredibly impressed by this. The best thing I could ever do on an Etch-A-Sketch was draw a box and write my name in it.

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David Thorpe’s rookie watch: “Westbrook has stumbled a bit in March, making fewer than 40 percent of his shots while being on pace to take more shots than in any other month. And he’s not getting to the free-throw line nearly as often, either: He took 70 or more free throws in every month up to March (97 in February), but has just 44 attempts this month.”

I wanna be like Kevin. Russell Westbrook wore Durant’s KD1’s against the Lakers: “Against the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook laced up a white/blue colorway of the Nike KD1. Although this color scheme is not as vivid and eye catching as Durant’s OG colorway (shown after the jump), Westbrook’s KD1 is still fresh. Is it better than the OG colors of the Nike KD1?”

Sean Deveney has a mock draft up and has OKC picking at No. 5: “ Al-Farouq Aminu, SF/PF, Wake Forest. The Thunder could go with a shooting guard at this spot, which would signal an intention to keep G/F Kevin Durant at small forward and F Jeff Green at power forward. More likely, though, they’ll stick with SG Thabo Sefolosha if they want to go small and look to draft someone to play with F/C Nenad Krstic up front. Aminu would be a good fit, because, like Green, he can play either the three-spot or the four-spot.”

Yesterday, from Basketbawful: “Note that Kevin Durant “led” Oklahoma City with 24 points on 8-for-20 shooting (including 0-for-6 from downtown), but his team never got any closer than 17 points in the second half. Ironically, his plus-minus score was -24, and yes, that was the worst on the team. I know this was the Lakers and everything, but seriously, this squad was playing better when KD was out with injury. Who knows, maybe their Durant-less hot streak was just one of those quirky Wounded Tiger-type things. But it makes me wonder whether all his high-scoring efforts are really benefiting the team.” Sigh. I thought I went over this already.

More on the Tyson Chandler non-deal: “Chandler had the digit surgically repaired after the 2006–07 season and says it hasn’t bothered him since. Last summer he saw another specialist who detected no abnormalities, though he told Chandler that he would have to monitor the toe for the rest of his career. Yet the doctor that flunked Chandler, Oklahoma City–based surgeon Carlan Yates, was the same one who performed the operation in ’07. “It’s frustrating,” says the 26-year-old Chandler. “When I talked to [Dr. Yates after the trade], I felt like he wasn’t telling me the truth. It was like talking to a lawyer.” (Yates declined to comment.)”

NBA.com rookie rankings: “Westbrook’s shooting percentage dipped precariously close to the NBA’s Mendoza Line of 40 percent shooting from the floor after combining to hit just 4-for-21 against the Timberwolves and Lakers. Still, as others are starting to notice, right now it looks like Rose and Westbrook have separated themselves from the rest of the pack.”

I’m glad the Lakers had fun Tuesday night: “Odom fouled out on that possession, unable to resist contesting Russell Westbrook’s layup attempt. Odom couldn’t believe referee Michael Smith called the foul, going to the bench before getting back up to ask Smith: “Are you sure it was me?” Meanwhile, because the Lakers led by 19 points at the time, Odom’s teammates — especially Kobe Bryant — were cracking up at his plight. (Asked about it after the game, Bryant deadpanned: “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”) Odom kept protesting for a while, speaking half toward the referees and half toward Phil Jackson by saying: “That’s some (expletive). Every game, man!” Odom being one with such a light heart, though, he quickly let it go and just enjoyed how his teammates were enjoying it. He also walked back to reporters and comically made like a baseball umpire, dramatically punching himself out. Odom did the same act for Fisher, who doubled over in laughter and countered with his own theatrical strikeout call.”

D.J. White back to the D-League?: “Rookie forward D.J. White practiced with the Thunder for the first time this season Wednesday, but he could be re-assigned to the Tulsa 66ers of the D-League following today’s session as the team travels to Toronto to begin a three-game road trip. It’s unclear when White, the 29th overall pick, will make his debut with the Thunder. Team officials want White to get as much playing time as possible at this point, something that will be in short supply with the Thunder but is ample with the 66ers, who play two games while Oklahoma City is on the road.”

Empty the Bench, 30 players to see more of over the next 30 days: “Thabo Sefolosha: It’s no secret that I have a little man crush on this 6-7 Swiss swingman. He just flashes such great two-way potential despite a limited offensive repertoire. The 13th pick from 2006 doesn’t look for his shot, but he plays a heady game and he can get up and down the floor, making him a perfect complement to Kevin Durant. Thabo is a purebred athlete who can earn his keep with defense and energy on a team loaded with young scorers. Since trading for Sefolosha last month the Thunder are 7-6 in games he’s started. In 10 games this month he’s averaging a very versatile, useful 11 points, 5.5 boards, 2.5 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.5 blocks on 45% FGs and 91% FTs with just 1.2 TOs. Just 24 years old, Thabo still has plenty of room to grow.”

I didn’t know Rumble was going to be in the new movie Where the Wild Things Are. (Harf harf harf)

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