Friday Bolts – 9.2.16
Some Thunder players got their 2K ratings leaked: People are really playing this Durant vs. Westbrook angle. Hint, hint: They got the same rating in the game.
A look at the Top-25 players in Thunder/Sonics history: “The Oklahoma City Thunder franchise was born in December 1966, when Los Angeles businessmen Sam Schulman and Eugene Klein were awarded an expansion franchise for Seattle. Schulman was the leader of the ownership group and served as the head of team operations until selling the team in 1983 to Barry Ackerley. Ackerley sold the franchise in 2001 to a group headed by Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, who sold the club to a group headed by Oklahoma City businessman Clay Bennett in October 2006. Bennett moved the club to Oklahoma City for the 2008-09 season. As part of the settlement of a lawsuit between the Bennett ownership group and the city of Seattle, the colors, logo and Supersonics nickname – along with banners, trophies and retired jerseys – would remain in Seattle.”
Comparing the competitiveness of Allen Iverson and Russell Westbrook: “Many players elevate their games in big moment. Game 7 of playoff series. Final minutes of the 4th quarter. Playing against other superstars. But, how many players play to their highest potential every night. Many say they do. Westbrook actually does. One thing nobody can say about Westbrook is he took a night off. From the opening tip till the buzzer sounds, he plays like a raging bull. Iverson had many injuries. It would take way too many paragraphs to mention all them. (Seriously it would) He played through the pain. After coming back from an injury, he was never afraid to put the pedal to the metal and let loose.”
According to most, Mitch McGary’s time in OKC appears to be numbered: “With the addition of Lauvergne, the Thunder have six big men on the roster. Four of them are still on their rookie contracts; Sam Presti isn’t going to keep all six on the roster with control like that. McGary makes the most sense because both his off the court antics and his skill as a basketball player. The former Michigan big man can run in transition on offense, but his defense is mediocre at best. Unlike every other big on the roster, McGary doesn’t have a natural role for the Thunder that fits his skillset.”
The more things change, the more they remain the same: “Randy Wittman was notorious for playing washed up, injury prone veterans over hungry, developing players. So when Scott Brooks became the Washington Wizards’ new head coach shortly after Wittman was ousted in April, people immediately assumed that the likes of Kelly Oubre and Jarell Eddie would receive more of an opportunity. While Brooks has proven to be a solid player developer – Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams, and Reggie Jackson all showed great improvement under Brooks – that doesn’t necessarily mean that the young players will be handed playing time. Player development goes far beyond just playing time.”
NBA.com has Sam Presti on their list for possible Executive of the Year for this season: “Wait a minute. You lose Kevin Durant and make the list? Yes, because things could have been much, much worse. If the Thunder had let even five minutes of remorse set in after Durant’s blockbuster Fourth of July announcement, they could have been doomed themselves to becoming a new version of post-Shaq Orlando, trying to find a way out of the wilderness. Instead Presti went right after a new deal with Russell Westbrook and, even though there’s an out clause to become a free agent in 2018, not allowing the All-Star point guard to just walk out the door allows the franchise and all of Oklahoma City to hold its head up.”
Great interview of Westbrook by Emmy-winning journalist Graham Bensinger.
Former Thunder player Perry Jones III signs with BC Khimki of the Russian VTB United League: Oh what could have been had he had some “want to ” in his system.