5 min read

Monday Bolts: 6.11.18

Jonathan Wasserman (B/R) has an updated mock NBA Draft: (53) Thunder: Allonzo Trier (Arizona, SG, Junior). Per 40 minutes, Trier’s numbers were similar the last two seasons, but he was notably more efficient inside the arc as a junior. He inexplicably disappeared the final month for Arizona, but this late, Trier is a fine gamble for his three-level scoring ability… (57) Kostas Antetokounmpo (Dayton, SF/PF, Freshman. The Thunder can take a flier on Antetokounmpo, whose skill level is limited. He’ll try to carve out a role as a defensive specialist for his switchability and disruptive length.”

Adam Fromal (B/R) says Jerami Grant is the best value power forward available in free agency: “We know Grant can knock down triples in a catch-and-shoot setting. We know he can handle the ball on the perimeter, even if OKC rarely gave him the opportunity to do so. We know he can function as a versatile and effective defensive presence. Now he just needs to mesh all the skills together into a well-rounded package. Though Grant isn’t a guaranteed free-agent bargain, precious few players on this portion of the open-market totem pole possess this type of upside.”

Bob Garcia IV (Cavs Nation) on a strange Westbrook-to-Cleveland rumor started by former NFLer, Josh Cribbs: “Following the Cleveland Cavaliers’ disappointing exit in the NBA Finals via a sweep, it has ramped up the rumor mill about LeBron James’ long-term future centered on his upcoming free agency decision. Much of this chatter has been on the notion that James could very well be on his way out of Cleveland, but former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Cribbs has taken to social media to voice that the four-time league MVP is attempting to bring All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook aboard to the Cavs.”

Ryan McDonald (Deseret News) on Donovan Mitchell recruiting Paul George to Utah: “On Thursday morning, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski published a podcast with Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell as his guest for the episode. The two discussed a variety of topics, with one of them near the end being how Mitchell will try to recruit free agents to the Beehive State. Specifically, Wojnarowski asked Mitchell about Paul George, the Oklahoma City Thunder star wing who was a driving force in Mitchell deciding to enter the NBA draft last year, and who has a player option on his contract this summer. Utah, of course, has historically been an undesirable place for free agents, with Carlos Boozer being the biggest name the Jazz have ever landed. It’ll likely end up being the same story with George, with the prevailing thought being that he’ll go back where he grew up and sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. But there are at least a few factors that make George ending up here an interesting thought. With he and Mitchell’s friendship as a starting point, it also makes sense from a basketball perspective. George knows firsthand after a first-round playoff exit that Utah is an up-and-coming team with Mitchell, center Rudy Gobert and NBA Coach of the Year finalist Quin Snyder.”

Lil’ Wayne wants LeBron to play in OKC next season:

Erik Horne on the debut of Nick Collison’s documentary: “After 25 minutes of being whisked through the final two weeks of Collison’s career, from San Antonio to New Orleans to Houston and Miami, the viewer is shown a scroll of nearly every person Collison has played with, every family member and personnel figure. The scroll is prefaced by a quote from Collison: “It takes a village to build a basketball career” — even if it also took a pretty professional player to stick around since 2003. He explains the origin of the “Mr. Thunder” nickname — given to him by assistant general manager Troy Weaver, who used Collison as an example to other players of how to approach the profession. “I cringed when I heard it because I knew the other guys would make fun of me for it,” Collison said.”

Danielle Gehr (Des Moines Register) on Nick Collison’s retirement party: “Outside of Hello, Marjorie in downtown Des Moines Friday night were a row of cars, an Outside Scoop ice cream truck and the 2017 NBA MVP. No, really.  Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook was seen by a Register reporter leaving the bar and getting a chocolate/peanut butter cone from the popular metro ice creamery parked on Locust Street. Co-owner of Hello, Marjorie Nick Tillinghast confirmed via email Saturday morning that Westbrook, along with Thunder teammate and Iowa native Nick Collison, was  at the bar Friday night for Collison’s retirement party. He said the private party went from 7:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. and 100 people were in attendance. It should come as no surprise that Westbrook was in town for Collison’s shindig. During an April game, the seven-time All-Star and then-reigning MVP asked the Thunder home crowd to show Collison, aka “Mr. Thunder,” some appreciation. The pair have been teammates since Westbrook joined the NBA 10 years ago.”

George Berry (Newshub NZ) on the weirdly cool experience of meeting Steven Adams: “I spent a lot of time watching him captivate the room with his booming voice, and processing that I was just mere metres away from someone who mixes and mingles with basketball royalty every single day. A man who could probably Facetime-call Russell Westbrook and have a conversation with him right in front of us, all at a touch of a button. That’s probably what took me back the most. There’s no doubt I was fan-girling from start to finish, but I was just so keen to see his Facebook Messenger inbox, and read the banter between him and his teammates in their group chats, or texts from players around the league congratulating him on a solid game. That’s the stuff basketball nerds like myself live for. Then came the photo opportunity and shaking his hand. And my goodness me… I think that will be the largest hand I ever shake.”

Camille Augustin (Yahoo) on KD saying he should make more money if he ruined the NBA: “Two years ago, Kevin Durant signed a $54.3 million contract with the Golden State Warriors after playing nine seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The move of course shocked fans, but it fixed a closer lens on the formation of a new super-team. Since the Warriors franchise won its sixth NBA title (June 8), defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-85, responses from spectators began to claim that Durant’s presence alongside Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson is “ruining” the league. In response to Yahoo Sports’ question on that matter, Durant stated that he shouldn’t be held accountable for the NBA’s demise. “My responsibility is to my skills. My responsibility is to myself. I’m not worried about the NBA,” he said. “That’s their job. They make too much money. They ain’t paying me enough to dictate the NBA. I should be making more money if all that’s on me. My responsibility is to whatever team I play for. All that other stuff, that’s on y’all.”

Around the League: The Warriors dynasty is in full effect…. Golden State’s problems are only of the high-class variety…. KD took home his second Finals MVP award…. LeBron’s hand injury is the NBA’s latest what-if scenario…. NBA Twitter reacts to the end of the Finals…. How the Rockets can make room for LeBron…. Anything is possible with LeBron’s latest trip into free agency…. The Suns are still open to trading the top pick in the draft…. Five potential steals in the draft.