3 min read

Friday Bolts: 8.17.18

Andre Snellings (ESPN) puts the Thunder fifth in his superteam rankings: “Much like the Raptors, the Thunder’s hopes center on two consistent stars in Westbrook and the newly re-signed George. They lost Anthony this offseason, but this could be addition by subtraction as it allows Westbrook and George to dominate the touches with the rest of the team filling in as solid role players.”

Cody Taylor (Thunder Wire) on Andre Roberson’s long road to recovery: “The patellar tendon serves as a key ligament in the knee as it connects the thigh’s quadriceps muscle to the shin and helps with running, jumping and kicking. Of course, Thunder forward Andre Roberson suffered a ruptured left patellar tendon back in January and would go on to miss the rest of the season after playing in just 39 games. Roberson is on track to be ready for the start of training camp next month and has said to be progressing forward in his recovery. He posted a video to his Instagram account last weekend running full speed on a treadmill. With the start of preseason about a month and a half away, Roberson still has a little bit of time to continue to rehab to ensure he is ready to go when the season begins. As Roberson is set to return, it will be crucial to watch his effectiveness once he steps back onto the court. With that in mind, we decided to take a look at how three notable NBA players returned from the same injury.”

Chris Walder (The Score) on why Russell Westbrook could benefit from a diminished role: “Paul George returns as his sidekick this season along with the underappreciated Steven Adams and Andre Roberson. OKC’s defense is expected to be elite, but the offense could suffer if Westbrook doesn’t promote ball movement. He had seven or more dribbles on nearly a third of his touches, and he struggled to score from deep, shooting less than 30 percent on 4.1 attempts per game. He also finished the year with a 33.2 percent usage rate – eight percent higher than George’s. Westbrook incorporating his All-Star teammate more often will help the Thunder flourish. The roster has no high-level 3-point shooter outside of George, but Westbrook shot a respectable 37.8 percent when left open. If teams sag off the electric guard, George can create and make Westbrook a more efficient threat inside and out.”

Nick Gallo breaks down the Thunder schedule: “After the All-Star Break, the Thunder will have some home cooking to finish the season. With 14 of the Thunder’s final 25 games at Chesapeake Energy Arena, the team will have a chance to fight for playoff positioning on its own turf. The closing stretch includes the Thunder’s only home clash against the defending champions on Saturday, March 16, and then another battle against the Lakers in Chesapeake Energy Arena on Tuesday, April 2. The 2018-19 campaign concludes with the Thunder’s final back-to-back set, with a home game on Tuesday, April 9 against the Houston Rockets and season-ending road game in Milwaukee against the Bucks on Wednesday, April 10. All in all, the NBA’s schedule adjustments over the past two years have aided the league’s ability to get rest and be less strained in its travel. This season, the Thunder has no sections of four games in five nights, and the longest road trip is just three games, on four different occasions.”

Jordan Brand recaps Westbrook’s tour of Asia: “For a third year, Jordan Brand family member Russell Westbrook is on a whirlwind trip of Asia to spread his love of the game and “Why Not?” philosophy. “If I have a challenge, I run at it, not away from it,” Russ has said of this fearless mentality, which motivates him to pursue his passions on and off the court. “For me, the most important part of this tour is getting to the fans, the kids and the people,” Russ said on the first day of tour. In Shanghai, Russ is exploring the city, meeting fans and attending the King of Underdogs tournament and Why Not? Apprentice Challenge. In Beijing, he’s spending time with local fans and artists, awarding Wings students and judging the NBA5v5 Dunk Contest. In Tokyo, he’s connecting with local fans at signature stores, meeting various fashion designers and playing ball with local youth.”

TV New Zealand on Steven Adams flashing his golf game at his charity tournament: “Kiwi NBA star Steven Adams hit the golf course for the second year of his own invitational charity golf tournament at Windross Farm this afternoon. After the success of last year’s event, aimed towards raising funds for the Sports Pathways Trust, Adams was joined by a who’s who of Kiwi sporting royalty. First up to the tee at the long drive competition, Adams had a crack at the target of a truck, camped 270m away. However, despite his stardom on the basketball course, golfing success eluded the Oklahoma City Thunder centre, coming up just short of a winning effort.”

Around the League: The top 25 players under 25…. Players ready to thrive in their new situations…. The rise of the NBA podcaster…. Steph Curry says his golf game led to not being drafted by the Timberwolves…. The Pelicans are waiting for the trade deadline to find a wing player…. Jeanie Buss calls out Lakers fans that aren’t excited about LeBron.