4 min read

Monday Bolts – 4.15.13

Monday Bolts – 4.15.13

Ben Golliver of SI.com gives OKC an A+ for the season: “The Thunder do it on both ends despite their reputation as an offense-first machine, ranking No. 2 in offensive efficiency and No. 4 in defensive efficiency. They do it at home (fourth-best record) and on the road (second-best record). They’ve been doing it so well for so long that seemingly every two-game losing streak sets off alarm bells because, frankly, we’ve all been spoiled. The chief spoiler is Kevin Durant, who has maintained his 50/40/90 shooting into the season’s final week. In a world without LeBron James, he would be the clear king. If you had to bet your life on one team’s being capable of dethroning Miami, it would be the Thunder — despite the one-sided 2012 Finals and the Harden trade. They’re that talented, aggressive, fine-tuned, deep, big, long and just that good.”

David Thorpe of ESPN Insider says Jeremy Lamb should study Tony Allen: “Lamb is uniquely talented with super-long arms and a beautifully smooth jump shot. Allen is a whirling dervish of a player who injects energy into his team and makes countless plays that don’t show up in the box score but help his team win. Lamb has the chops to hang in the league for a long time as a pure shooter, but if he wants to be a significant player he’ll have to learn how to contribute in ways beyond being a catch-and-shoot guy. He’s unlikely to ever be the kind of leader Allen has become by playing hard, but moving in that direction would be a good place to start.”

Thorpe also says Jared Sullinger should study Serge Ibaka and that Dion Waiters should study Russell Westbrook.

Danny Chau in an ESPN.com 5-on-5 picking All-NBA teams has Westbrook in: “He is, in a word, undeniable. Say what you will about his recklessness or his lack of polish as a facilitator, but his inhuman intensity is a modern marvel. More often than not, it’s an overwhelming positive. His game is unnatural and, at times, incomprehensible. And it’s why he’s one of the league’s very best.”

Tim Grover, who was MJ’s trainer, spoke to Ben Golliver of SI.com said KD reminds him of Jordan: “He does, he does have that same personality [as Jordan, Wade and Bryant]. I’m sure he is the factor that is pushing LeBron to continue to go to a higher level. LeBron knows that this young kid is on his heels, from a physical and mental standpoint. Kevin is very, very special and has a chance to really surpass anybody else that’s playing in there right now, and the No. 1 guy to pass from a skills standpoint would be LeBron.”

Marc Stein of ESPN.com on MVP: “Easiest. Ballot. Ever. I suspect that LeBron won’t be a unanimous selection for Most Valuable Player because A) there’s never been a unanimous MVP in the NBA and B) there’s bound to be at least one voter, presumably based in the 405 area code, who won’t be able to bring themselves to vote against poor Kevin Durant. But there might never been an easier choice in this space than James For MVP in 2013, which, yet again, is saying something when you saunter over to Box 3 and reacquaint yourself with some of the stuff Durant has done since Halloween. KD’s problem? LeBron came back from last season’s breakthrough championship with the Heat, followed by Olympic gold with Team USA, with the very vengeance Miami prez Pat Riley warned us about. No longer burdened by past failings and unwavering in his confidence, James has merely uncorked the most across-the-board statistically dominant campaign witnessed since Michael Jordan’s 1988-89 masterpiece.”

A little All-Defense love for Thabo and Ibaka.

J.A. Adande of ESPN.com on Coach of the Year: “If we’re talking about the 2012-13 Coach of the Year. Otherwise I’d make a stronger push for Oklahoma City’s Scott Brooks, who came up with a way to stop the San Antonio Spurs in last year’s playoffs right when they were looking unstoppable. Brooks has a pretty strong argument from this season as well. Despite the jarring trade of James Harden, the Thunder are winning at a higher rate and still have a shot at the No. 1 seed in the West. Only it’s not as impressive as the job Hollins is doing in Memphis. The Grizzlies traded their top scorer in the middle of the season and kept on winning. Brooks has the guy who led the league in scoring for most of the season, Kevin Durant, providing points.”

Matt Moore of CBSSports.com on MVP: “Durant’s impact has been MVP worthy. He’s the most efficient scorer in basketball, and his excellence is expressed without forcing shots or possessions. He’s become an even better defender, headed towards excellent, and remains a more impactful rebounder than he’s given credit for. He’s a better leader this season and raised his game in the absence of James Harden as both a scorer and distributor. He would be a great MVP at the ripe old age of 24… If it weren’t for LeBron James.”