Andre Roberson might be something other than a “full go”:
R.J. Hampton tells Royce Young (ESPN) that playing against Chris Paul was a dream come true: “The experience with the Breakers is about learning how to be a pro. He already talks like one, keeping sentences short in a staccato, coachspeak style and smartly redirecting questions about his future back to the present. “[I’m learning] just how to be a professional,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of guys kind of take me under their wing and just show me different things. I’m 18 — they’ve been playing basketball longer than I have and they can show me different things — so I just take it in and listen.”
Zach Lowe’s (ESPN) pessimism for the Thunder carries over to their watchabililty in his League Pass rankings: “Chris Paul commandeering 60 pick-and-rolls every night for a mediocre team with minimal wing shooting and depth just isn’t that exciting anymore. At least the Thunder are inching up the art rankings.”
Justin Jett (Def Pen) writes with a little emotional distance from the fresh faced Thunder assets: “These draft picks may not pan out, Ferguson may yield an intriguing bounty, and Noel may never stick anywhere. The only asset that anyone can speak with certainty is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Shai is the only player on this current Thunder team that has the potential to be an All-Star player in the next 3-5 years. Everyone else is a question mark, a pawn, or gone.”
Greg Swartz (Bleacher Report) has another Boston/OKC Adams trade idea: “Celtics Receive: C Steven Adams, PG Dennis Schroder Thunder Receive: F Gordon Hayward, SG Romeo Langford, 2020 1st-round pick (lottery-protected). Adams may be the next guy shipped out after the Thunder dealt Paul George and Russell Westbrook. If they do make the bruising 26-year-old center available, the Boston Celtics should be the first team to make a call.”
The Thunder media team is on their game this year:
More credit where credit is due: Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe addressed the China/NBA issue head-on for their ESPN season preview broadcast. Specifically, they contrasted the league’s compromised approach to Chinese pressure as an offended audience/partner with others in America they haven’t apologized to or moderated to in the face of disagreement. And they note the obvious chilling effect around the league for players and coaches who have previously been empowered by the NBA for speaking their mind.
Ethan Strauss (The Athletic) isn’t buying Steve Kerr’s second, more eloquent attempt to not really address the China issue: “I don’t believe it’s fair for Kerr to suggest that China’s actions can be judged by “many vantage points,” or two sides. Saying you won’t comment, but spreading the message that the situation has many confusing perspectives, is a form of relativism and actually is a commentary on the situation you claim to not be commenting on. Such messaging helps China’s government make its “nothing to see here” case.”
James T. Areddy and Ben Cohen (WSJ) on why I don’t think Daryl Morey’s tweet was as undercooked or clumsy as many have suggested. Anyone connected to the Rockets knows just how involved the China/Houston financial connection is: “Even if the storm is passing, however, there is a feeling here that one team in particular will bear the brunt of this week’s consequences: China’s love affair with the Rockets might not be the same again. How the Rockets went from one of China’s most popular teams to its most reviled team was one of the unexpected consequences of the NBA’s tumultuous week. The Rockets have deep ties to China after drafting Shanghai-born Yao Ming in 2002 and reaping the financial benefits of having the biggest star in the league’s biggest foreign market.”
Declan Garvey and Andrew Egger (The Dispatch) point us to the next appropriate phase of hypocrisy-smokeout on the China front (other American businesses we support): “The episodes raise serious questions about the role American corporations have in promoting democratic values and human rights as they expand into global markets. In August, the Business Roundtable—a trade association representing CEOs of the largest companies in the country—updated for the first time since 1997 what it believes to be the purpose of a corporation. In addition to simply creating shareholder value, BRT members committed to “dealing fairly and ethically with our suppliers” and “supporting the communities in which we work.” Apple CEO Tim Cook was a signatory.”
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