James Harden completely fell apart in an elimination game: “It was Harden’s lowest-scoring playoff game since he was held to single digits three times in the 2012 NBA Finals, his last series with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Harden matched his lowest playoff totals in a Rockets uniform for field goals made and attempted; he was also 2-of-11 during a 14-point, 12-turnover outing when the Golden State Warriors eliminated Houston in the 2015 Western Conference semifinals.”
The Internet obviously turned on him/crowned Russell Westbrook MVP:
Tramel’s report card for Nick Collison: “In the wake of Kevin Durant’s departure, Thunder fans’ adoration of Collison soared. It’s not like Collison had myriad options to flee, but perhaps it was just appreciation of the stabilizing presence Collison has represented on and off the court for almost a decade. When Collison entered the game in the fourth quarter of a blowout victory over Philadelphia in March, the crowd roared. And when Collison hit the Sixers with a flurry – seven points, five rebounds, a blocked shot – in 7-1/2 minutes, Chesapeake Arena went nuts. Collison might beat Russell Westbrook in a mayoral race.”
Bleacher Report picks Taj Gibson as the one free agent OKC should avoid: “Re-signing Gibson perpetuates an excess of size. Oklahoma City is paying almost $40.4 million next season to Steve Adams and Enes Kanter; the latter must be sent elsewhere to justify keeping Gibson. Otherwise, Sabonis is younger, cheaper and needs more reps to develop.”
Jenni Carlson on Westbrook’s new commercial: “Durant and Westbrook, of course, are two different people. If the past year has taught us anything, it has definitely taught us that. But we should’ve also learned to be skeptical of the words uttered by pro athletes. We don’t really know what motivates them in making these kinds of decisions. We don’t truly see their loyalty until they sign on the dotted line.”
Thunder Draft Combine
OKC met with PG Frank Jackson out of Duke: Jackson is a 6’3″ PG who has yet to sign an agent, but reportedly played well in the 5-on-5 sessions yesterday. He averaged 10.9 PPG for Duke last season, shooting 39.5% from downtown.
Florida State’s Dwayne Bacon also got a meeting: Bacon is a 6’6″ SF who averaged 17.2 PPG for the Seminoles last season. NBADraft.net has his NBA comp as Gerald Wilkins, which is slightly underwhelming, but they had Russell Westbrook pegged as the next Monta Ellis. It’s not a science.
Add Michigan’s Moritz Wagner to the list: Wagner has yet to make a decision on going pro or returning to Michigan, but reportedly worked out for the Thunder this week. The 6’11” German PF averaged 12.1 PPG for the Wolverines last season on 66% shooting and 39.5% from long range.
Odds & Ends
Enes Kanter with Filipino hoops legend, Manny Pacquiao:
Have a good weekend, folks.