3 min read

Friday Bolts – 11.30.12

Friday Bolts – 11.30.12

Israel Gutierrez of ESPN.com says KD had the best opening month: “Quietly, KD is showing off a complete game in Oklahoma City, helping the Thunder easily adjust to the loss of James Harden. He’s scoring a bit less than he’s used to, but he’s averaging career highs in shooting percentage, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. That gives him a slight edge over super-efficient LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.”

Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus with a reasoned take on the Spurs resting players: “Honestly, I’m not sure taking this option out of Popovich’s playbook will hurt San Antonio much. I preface this by saying that Popovich knows far more about basketball than I ever will and understands his team and his players. Additional rest will surely help the Spurs on Friday, but in the long run I don’t think it makes a difference. We’re talking about a difference of about 30 minutes. That’s the equivalent of playing less than a half-minute fewer per game over the rest of the season. The way Popovich uses depth to manage his stars’ playing time on a nightly basis is a far bigger factor in how fresh the team will be come April and May.”

Daryl Morey: “I think Sam [Presti] is the best GM in the league. I mean, he’s really * really * good.”

Nick Collison and Wayne Coyne hanging out.

Zach Lowe of Grantland on Stern and Pop: “There is a bit of a slippery slope here, too, though not one that will really play out in life. There was a minor outburst of anti-Pop sentiment early in the 2010-11 season, when he pulled most of his key plays from a game against New York with the Spurs down 11 (and Parker on the line for two free throws) and about 3:15 to go. The game was still very much in play, but Popovich understood the odds and opted for rest with the second end of a back-to-back looming. And just two days ago, Phoenix, in the middle of a long trip and on the second end of a back-to-back, essentially tossed in the towel midway through a 40-point loss in Detroit. Should we fine teams for that stuff, too?”

Sam Presti was at Oklahoma State’s practice yesterday.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: “I don’t begrudge Popovich’s right to strategize in the least, nor can I really dispute his opinion about the schedule. But the NBA is about more than Popovich and the Spurs and their particular priorities. It is a $4 billion business — soon to be $5 billion, if Stern’s revenue estimates are correct. It is a show, and Popovich cheated the script Thursday night — not to mention the paying customers. Did Popovich consider that the outcome of the game ultimately will affect teams other than those involved in it? Obviously not. Miami gets a victory — albeit more difficult than it should’ve been — that could have a direct bearing on Eastern Conference playoff seeding. Should Popovich care about that? Maybe he should and maybe he shouldn’t, but he most assuredly does not.”

Darnell Mayberry on Russell Westbrook: “But what’s made Westbrook a lightning rod for criticism in the past is his propensity to play out of control, which often raises the question of whether he has any concept of how best to lead his team to wins. Westbrook’s way of winning hinges on playing with nonstop energy while relentlessly attacking defenses every moment he’s on the court. It’s an erratic style that the Thunder has embraced, choosing to focus on how the positives outweigh the negatives.”