3 min read

Friday Bolts: 10.13.17

Friday Bolts: 10.13.17

Tim Cato (SB Nation) on the culture that saved the Thunder: “The Thunder spent a decade cultivating a buttoned-up identity befit for the impressionable young players they traditionally target when building their roster, one that worked so well that there was no reason to tweak it until now. This season, though, they made needed moves to welcome Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, two established All-Stars who have developed their own habits in very different places. Will it work? It depends if they’re willing to buy in.”

Royce Young on OKC’s possible crunch time conundrum: “Enter George and Anthony, who come from teams where they’re accustomed to having the ball in big spots. Last season Anthony took 91 of the Knicks 310 clutch-time shots and posted a usage rate of 35.2. George took 105 of the Pacers’ 263 clutch attempts, with a usage rate of 41.2. It was George, following a 109-108 Game 1 loss to the Cavaliers last postseason, expressing frustration about C.J. Miles taking the potential game-winner instead of him.”

Tim Bontemps (WaPo) on sports teams and a new refusal to stay at Trump Hotels: “The players loved it so much they became walking ads for the Trump brand: Superstar Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder praised the hotel in the press. Toronto Raptors all-star Kyle Lowry gave interviews on the lobby’s couch. Then-Thunder forward Steve Novak tweeted about the $20 room-service lattes. Now, it’s not the same.”

Fred Katz on Billy Donovan’s disagreement with the Warriors’ belief Russ is easy to guard: “Russell’s been very good for us. Obviously last year, our team was totally different than it was the first year. And the first year [the Western Conference Finals] was a heck of a series that went seven games where we had a great opportunity being up 3-1.”

SLAM Magazine has Russ at no. 3 in its player rankings: “Here’s a crazy thing that I think about Russell Westbrook: These days, at this exact moment, he is vastly underrated. I realize that might read a little absurd. The MVP of the NBA is underrated? To quote the man himself, “Bruh… what?”

Cliff Brunt (AP) on OKC’s three stars chasing their first title: “Westbrook is a two-time scoring champion, two-time All-Star MVP and the reigning league MVP. Anthony is a 10-time All-Star and three-time Olympic gold medalist. George is a four-time All-Star, former most improved player award winner and an Olympic gold medalist. None of the new Oklahoma City Thunder teammates have an NBA title.”

Nick Gallo with yesterday’s training camp roundup: “Thunder forward Patrick Patterson (knee) was able to do some contact work today in practice, including one-on-one drills at the end of the session. Raymond Felton (wrist sprain) did not participate in contact but he was able to pass and shoot. Both players are doing more and more, and according to Donovan will be continually evaluated to determine their status for next week.”

Ian Begley (ESPN) on Michael Jordan not being a fan of super teams: “You’re going to have one or two teams that are going to be great, and another 28 teams that are going to be garbage. Or they’re going to have a tough time surviving in the business environment.”

Jake Fischer (SI) on Kendrick Perkins — the greatest teammate ever: “Kevin Durant shuffles behind the glass podium, peering across two rows of his 2013-14 Oklahoma City Thunder teammates. He thanks Hasheem Thabeet for his comic relief. He praises Derek Fisher for his infectious professionalism. “Perk,” Durant continues, eying starting center Kendrick Perkins. “I hated you before you got here. But the moment you got here, man, you just changed my whole perception of you. Just one of the best teammates I’ve ever had, man. I thank you so much.”

Paul Pierce is taking OKC in 2017-18: