Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider: “On average, a player who grabs contested rebounds at Westbrook’s rate would grab about 13 percent of available defensive rebounds uncontested. Westbrook’s actual percentage (25.1 percent) is nearly double that — far and away the biggest discrepancy in the league. Andrew Bogut is next at 7.0 percent better than expected based on his contested rebounding. (James Harden is fifth at 5.8 percent better than expected.) If Westbrook grabbed uncontested defensive rebounds as frequently as his contested rebounding would suggest, he’d average 7.0 rebounds per game, nowhere close to a triple-double. At the same time, even Westbrook’s contested defensive rebounding is the best in the league by a point guard. Including Harden (3.2 percent), just three other point guards grab contested rebounds on more than 3.0 percent of available defensive rebounds. So Westbrook’s impact on Oklahoma City’s defensive rebounding is still overwhelmingly positive. The Thunder rank fourth in the NBA in defensive rebound percentage at 78.9 percent, and grab 79.4 percent of available defensive boards with Westbrook on the court.”
Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post makes an MVP pick: “That’s not to say Westbrook hasn’t been sensational; he has been. That’s also not to say that Westbrook shouldn’t win the award; if he does, then it will be well deserved, and a fitting tribute to a thrilling season. But in a season where so many things are equal across the board, the fact Westbrook’s team is going to wind up 8 to 10 wins behind Houston, 15 or so behind San Antonio and isn’t expected to make it out of the first round tips the scales ever so slightly against him, and leaves him third on this ballot.”
Talking on Fred’s podcast, wherein I reveal a couple of my awards votes.
Read Fred Katz’s piece on Andre Roberson’s defense: “Roberson isn’t just guarding 1s and 2s, though. He’s taking on bigger wings now, players like James and Anthony. Occasionally, the size will give him issues, like on certain post possessions when he had to defend Denver forward Danilo Gallinari during Sunday’s Thunder win. But Gallinari is a 4 in today’s game, no natural matchup for Roberson, who has found success against true wings as big as Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, who he played one of his best defensive halves against last week, especially in transition.”
Colin Cowherd runs his mouth some more on Westbrook: “I’m just not that into him, but I enjoy watching him play and would buy a ticket — which I would say for almost no other current athletes. I prefer some other guys over him — who are more efficient, who are on teams that win more, who don’t seem to be trying to win [MVP] quite as much.”
Berry Tramel: “Now comes Houston, which is Nuggets 3.0. James Harden and an army of 3-point shooters. The Thunder isn’t going to be able to play extensively with two big men at a time. It’s got to have Grant out there chasing Ryan Anderson. Maybe even Singler out there. Singler was thought to be a lost cause, and his play for two years has been abysmal. Awful offense. Foul-prone defense. Singler looks like his confidence is shot. But Sunday in Denver, Singler looked like a ballplayer. His shot remains a mess, but Singler ran the floor – he twice took passes from Westbrook for fast-break layups.”