Wednesday Bolts – 3.29.17

Bill Difilippo of Uproxx: “If you want to use the term “value” — as in value a player adds to their team — Westbrook leads the league in Value Over Replacement Player and Box/Minus Plus while having a Usage Percentage that is on pace (41.5 percent) to shatter the all-time record set by Kobe Bryant in 2005-06 (38.74 percent). The load he is shouldering for his team is unprecedented. The MVP race is almost certainly going to come down to the final day. I have no idea who should win it (Harden, Westbrook, and LeBron have all been unreal, and Isaiah Thomas deserves more love than he’s getting), but would anyone be surprised if voters value Westbrook’s history triple-double numbers above anything else, even if Oklahoma City’s ceiling is fourth in the Western Conference?”

Justin Tinsley of The Undefeated: “But it’s Lamar’s mention of the recent Serge Ibaka-Robin Lopez scuffle in “The Heart Part 4,” and his take on the Westbrook-Durant drama overall that is catching the attention of Westbrook, himself, in particular. Lamar inserted himself into a story that has been dissected to nauseating levels and has given it, for lack of a better phrase, “more life.” Tables turned, lesson learned, my best look / You jumped sides on me, now you ’bout to meet Westbrook / Go celebrate with your team and let victory vouch you / Just know, the next game played I might slap the s— out you. Westbrook co-signed the record on social media. His smile, smirk and praise seem to indicate that Lamar is saying something that Westbrook can’t.”

Zach Lowe of ESPN.com with his Marc Gasol All-Stars.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com on up and coming coaches: “Despite receiving nibbles by a number of NBA teams over the past couple of seasons for both coaching and managerial positions, Barry has told suitors that his current plan is to spend as much time as possible with his school-aged kids over the next few years. When he’s ready to jump into the league in an official capacity, word is that he favors a route that would land him first in a front office, where he can study the architecture and mechanics of an NBA franchise, not unlike Steve Kerr, who served a stint as Phoenix’s general manager for three seasons. After that, Barry would be inclined to move to the bench.”

Also this: “If NBA head coaches appear more on edge these days, you’ll have to excuse their anxiety. Forty percent of them didn’t hold their current position on New Year’s Day 2016, some 15 months ago. In Oklahoma City, Billy Donovan has served longer than half of the head coaches in the league, and Mike Budenholzer has the sixth-longest tenure at four seasons. So much for continuity, which the league trumpets as the mother’s milk of team-building.”

Dave George of the Palm Beach Post: “Here, though, is the real stunner. If you total up all the numbers, Robertson’s first five seasons in the league produced an overall triple-double average – 30.3 points, 10.4 rebound and 10.6 assists. For Westbrook, on the other hand, it is only this season, his ninth in the league, that he is averaging double-digits in rebounds. The last two seasons he has averaged doubles in assists, but not before. What’s more, it’s difficult for me to believe that a powerful and intimidating point guard like Robertson, so much stronger than his peers, would be a turnover machine. Westbrook has led the league in turnovers twice and may do it again this year. Again, I’m not saying that Westbrook is overrated or anything. The guy is great. It’s just a matter of emphasizing Robertson’s legendary ability to do it all, and to do it for so long. Just because we didn’t see it on television doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”

Berry Tramel: “Westbrook’s teammates seem to be fine with his triple-double assault; they talk often with awe about Westbrook’s production. But they save their celebrating for the important stuff. Thunder players kept grabbing Westbrook in celebration Monday night; he had scored 12 of those final 14 points, including the game-winning 17-foot jumper with seven seconds left that gave the Thunder the lead. So far, the proper culture has prevailed. The Thunder speaks glowingly of Westbrook’s feats. But the Thunder saves the celebrating for the scoreboard.”

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