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Friday Bolts: 6.1.18

Robby Kalland (Dime Mag) on Paul George having the most popular signature shoe among NBA players: “Basically, of the four major sneaker manufacturers in the U.S., only 11 players have signature sneakers (this obviously doesn’t include overseas companies like Anta and Peak), which means a lot of NBA players are wearing someone else’s shoe. ESPN offered a breakdown of the seven most popular signature sneakers on the court this past season in the NBA, and George comes out on top with his PG1 being worn by 42 players (the PG2 doesn’t make the list), only because the Kyrie 3 and Kyrie 4 split up the 54 players that wear his line.”

Dan Favale (B/R) on why the Thunder needs a starting lineup change: “Yes, the Oklahoma City Thunder will have to reinvent their starting five if Paul George bolts during free agency. No, their inclusion isn’t about him. Yes, it’s about Carmelo Anthony. And no, we’re not sorry. Oklahoma City’s preferred starting lineup finished 2017-18 as one of the most effective high-volume arrangements. Among the 35 groupings to tally 250 minutes or more of action, it placed fourth in point differential per 100 possessions. Retaining George and running it back should engender more feelgood vibes. And if Andre Roberson never ruptures his patellar tendon, maybe it does. But the Thunder’s first-round exit opened a can of worms.  Anthony devolved into unplayable by the end of that Utah Jazz series. He shot 37.5 percent overall and 21.4 percent from beyond the arc, and Oklahoma City was outscored by 14.1 points per 100 possessions whenever he split time with George and Russell Westbrook. Getting Roberson back will alleviate the defensive concerns associated with starting Anthony, but the offensive warts aren’t going anywhere. He failed to master an accessory role and isn’t keen on making additional concessions.”

AP report on Florida baseball turning to Billy Donovan before NCAA regional play: “With his baseball program mired in its worst slump in five years, Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan wanted a different voice to talk to his players. Thumbing through his phone, one name stood out: Former Gators basketball coach Billy Donovan. Donovan happened to be in town, too, so O’Sullivan lined up the high-profile guest to speak to the team Wednesday. The Oklahoma City Thunder coach delivered a clear message about dealing with adversity. Donovan used an example from his time in Gainesville, when the defending national champion Gators dropped three of four down the stretch in 2007 — all by double digits — and then regrouped in the postseason by winning 10 straight and the second of back-to-back titles.”

Drew Shiller (NBC Bay Area) with Gary Payton’s comments on today’s point guards: “The position has changed very much,” Payton told Ron Kroichick of The San Francisco Chronicle. “Everybody is saying he’s (Steph) one of the greatest point guards, but we can’t say that right now. That’s not going to happen. To me, a true point guard is getting assists, getting steals, doing everything… Just like with Russell Westbrook or John Wall, it’s the same thing,” Payton said. “All these guys are different because they’ve been put from a 2 guard into a 1 guard. That’s just the era we’re in right now.”

Jonathan Wasserman with a mock draft of every pick in the upcoming NBA Draft: “53. Oklahoma City Thunder: Devin Hall (Virginia, SG, Senior). The Thunder could see Hall sticking by playing the same role he played at Virginia, which asked him to make open shots, move the ball and defend his position… 57. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Celtics): Kenrich Williams (TCU, SF/PF, Senior). Williams isn’t a strong athlete, but he shoots and passes well, and he has NBA size for a forward. He has role-player potential if the right opportunity presents itself.”

Cody Taylor (USA Today) on the Thunder’s pre-draft workouts: “The Thunder have brought in players like Luke Maye, Ky Bowman, Cody and Caleb Martin, Tyler Cook, Admiral Schofield and others for pre-draft workouts. Of the 15 known prospects the Thunder have worked out, only Wenyen Gabriel from Kentucky has opted to keep his name in the draft and forego his college eligibility. Gabriel has worked out with a handful of teams so far and is an interesting prospect for a team to consider. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 6.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 37 games last season at Kentucky, while shooting 39.6 percent from three-point range.”

Tom Azarly (Clutchpoints) on Russell Westbrook being named “Freshest” by the NBPA: “Russell Westbrook is known for his competitive hunger and never say die mentality, even when the odds are against him. The Oklahoma City Thunder guard is a beast on the court, but also off the court, especially when it comes to the fashion game. The National Basketball Players Association has awarded Westbrook ‘The Freshest’ award on Thursday afternoon for his crazed and eye-popping fashion sense.”

Around the League: LeBron dropped 51 but the Cavs lost Game 1 of the Finals…. Inside the dramatic 48th minute of Game 1…. OK, what was JR Smith thinking?…. Twitter reacts to JR Smith’s boneheaded play to end regulation…. Cleveland may have to deal with some suspensions after a fight in OT…. Ty Lue blames the referees for the loss…. Could this end up being a series after all?…. The Sixers are considering firing Bryan Colangelo…. Inside NBA Twitter — the Internet’s best sports bar.