3 min read

Friday Bolts – 1.20.17

Friday Bolts – 1.20.17

Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider has Russ as an All-Star reserve: “Ideally, the West could have

started Westbrook, Stephen Curry and James Harden and shifted one of them to the frontcourt. Alas, that wasn’t an option, so one of them had to be the odd man out.”

Ben Hoffman of the NY Times: “While Westbrook has significant leads over Curry in traditional game averages and most advanced statistics, the most telling number may be usage percentage, which is an estimate of the percentage of a team’s plays that an individual is part of while he is on the court. Westbrook’s 41.9 percent not only leads all current players by more than 5 percentage points, but it would also break Kobe Bryant’s N.B.A. record of 38.74 percent set in the 2005-6 season. But in the end, Curry, thanks to his popularity, his past success and his team’s stellar record, will start, and Westbrook, despite his myriad accolades and accomplishments, will be forced to come off the bench. For better or worse, that reflects what the fans wanted.”

Bill Simmons of the Ringer makes his All-Star starter picks: “Here’s what shocked me about those choices. I never considered Steph Curry. You know, the guy who owned the NBA for two straight years? The most popular player since Jordan? The guy who drew thousands of fans just to watch him warm up an hour before games? The league’s best with-the-ball magician since Magic and Maravich? That guy?”

Reactions from around the league on Westbrook’s snub.

Erik Horne: “Coach Billy Donovan immediately called a timeout. It was a good one in a mostly composed first half for the Thunder. When then Thunder lost its head, the Warriors made them pay with points. The biggest composure move came at the end of the second quarter. Westbrook was fouled hard by Zaza Pachulia, who then looked like he struck Westbrook in the face. Social media and the world at large appear to be in consensus that the Thunder players on the floor should have done more when Pachulia stood over Westbrook. Kendrick Perkins wouldn’t have put up with that. The Thunder players not coming to Westbrook’s aid quicker says something.”

Kevin Garnett wasn’t happy about Russ’s All-Star snub.

Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com: “Hooray! Now that the NBA season is halfway through, it’s time to grab the popcorn, pull up a seat and watch the dramatic playoff races unfold, right? Um, not so much. Unlike the NFL, MLB and NHL, where playoff races are as exciting as the playoffs, all the jockeying for seeds in the NBA is pretty much done by the halfway point of the season. Since 1984, when the playoff field moved to 16 teams, 80 percent of the variability in the final standings can be explained purely by the standings today, on Jan. 20, (around the halfway mark of the season). Don’t believe us? Let’s roll out the data!”

Trade buzz from Steinline.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com explains the All-Star voting: “Only two guards can start, and with James Harden, Stephen Curry and Westbrook, someone was bound to get left out. Had it been Curry, his fans would be upset. The direct answer is that the fans preferred Curry, who finished first in fan voting. Although Westbrook’s peers and the media felt he should’ve started over Curry, it wasn’t enough.”