3 min read

Friday Bolts: 9.15.17

Friday Bolts: 9.15.17

ESPN has Russell Westbrook at #5 on the Top 100 player rankings: “After setting an NBA record with a usage percentage of 41.7 in the 2016-17 regular season, Westbrook upped the ante in the postseason with a usage percentage of 45.8 in OKC’s first-round loss to Houston, easily the highest ever in a single postseason. Just how absurd was the load he carried? Westbrook’s usage percentage against the Rockets was larger than Michael Jordan’s against the Monstars in “Space Jam,” according to a 2011 study by the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective.”

Sports Illustrated put Westbrook at #6 on their list: “But a humbling first-round playoff series loss to the Rockets confirmed that there was a hard ceiling to The Westbrook Show, that over-relying on one player to such an insane degree was both unhealthy and counterproductive. Westbrook’s response to the postseason stakes and his mediocre supporting cast was to double down and then triple down, posting insane stat lines and ugly shooting efficiency numbers in hopes of overcoming his opponents through sheer will. At its highest level, modern basketball is a lot more sophisticated than Westbrook’s preferred Martyr-Ball, and the Thunder proved to be a surprisingly easy out.”

The NBA board of governors will soon vote on draft lottery reform: “NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been determined to pass a plan that deters the tactic of tanking games to gain access to better odds at higher picks in the league’s annual player draft. The board of governors will vote on instituting the changes at a meeting in New York on Sept. 28. The plan will need a two-thirds majority to pass into legislation. The NBA’s proposed changes to the system would begin with the 2019 NBA Draft, and include a smoothing out of odds among the league’s worst teams, league sources said.”

Ramona Shelburne on Russ & PG to Los Angeles: “There’s a gigantic elephant in the room, which is that Paul George is from LA, Russell Westbrook’s from LA, they’re going to be playing together. If they want to stay together they can just come to the Lakers, they can just come to the Clippers… The what ifs, the dominoes that start falling if he does not sign that contract extension by the start of the regular season. Media day comes up next week… that is going to be the question. If it’s not the first question, the reporters out there aren’t doing their job.”

Brett Dawson on Steven Adams and basketball’s boom in New Zealand: “In New Zealand, Adams’ basketball camp sponsor is ‘a dairy sort of company,’ he said. ‘So it’s real weird, the kids after we do the camp, they get, like, a big block of cheese, some eggs and some bread and some milk,’ Adams said. “The parents are, like, stoked, because they don’t have to go buy groceries anymore. They’re like, ‘Yes!’ It’s quirky, but it’s awesome.

Sekou Smith (NBA.com) ranks the NBA’s top duos for next season: “The triple-double machine that was Westbrook during his Kia MVP run last season might not be required with George in the fold. Westbrook still has to operate at an elite level but he shouldn’t have to carry the load he did last season without another All-Star by his side. Westbrook shouldn’t wear down at all come playoff time and George is one of the league’s elite two-way players. ”

Grant Hughes (B/R) compares the oldest and youngest players at every position — including Manu Ginobili and Terrance Ferguson: “Potentially an end-of-bench option but more likely a frequent visitor to OKC’s G League affiliate, the rookie has a long way to go after skipping college and spending last year playing professionally in Australia. I will do anything necessary to celebrate Manu. Full disclosure: I’d take Ginobili over several All-Stars this year. I am clearly not reasonable about him, but I feel pretty safe taking him over a 19-year-old made up of nothing but question marks.”

Jason Gay (Wall Street Journal) on the NYC court that became a hotbed for NBA pickup games this summer: “You can still find this pick-up game on the West Side of Manhattan, not too far from the Hudson River, and a few blocks away from that cradle of transit civilization, the Port Authority. I say you can “find it,” but I’m really just being polite, because you and I cannot put on our short-shorts and Chucks and call “next.” This game is strictly no-scrubs, invite-only, on private property, and it features some of the greatest talent in the NBA. LeBron James. Russell Westbrook. James Harden. Kevin Durant. Carmelo Anthony, aka Hoodie Melo. They’ve all played in this NYC pick-up. It’s crazy.”