3 min read

Monday Bolts – 8.16.10

Monday Bolts – 8.16.10

I’m sure you already saw it, but a panel of 93 ESPN voters say KD will win the MVP: “KD’s 2009-10 numbers (30.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and a 26.23 Player Efficiency Rating while playing all 82 games) were good enough for him to pick up 609 points in last season’s voting, in which he finished second to LeBron (and just ahead of Kobe Bryant). But with Oklahoma City predicted to finish second in the West, almost half of our crew of 93 believes it’s the young gun’s award to lose, especially with James taking his talents to South Beach, where he’ll share the ball and spotlight with Wade and Bosh.”

Ziller on Team USA’s current situation: “Some have criticized Coach K for cutting Green and McGee instead of one of the team’s five point guards. The McGee cut, in particular, means that Odom will be playing plenty of center, as will Kevin Love potentially. Krzyzewski had mentioned Durant there. Competitively, it’s a dice roll. But stylistically? It’s brilliant! If Scott Brooks had announced to the world his OKC team had so much depth at guard and so little depth in the frontcourt he was starting Durant at center, the coach would win a Nobel.”

Coach K suggested KD is being too unselfish: “They look to him all the time,” Krzyzewski said after Friday’s practice at the Knicks’ training facility. “They’re OK with Kevin shooting. If he misses, they want him to shoot again. They know. They’ve seen it.”

Coach K talking about Durant to Dime: “Kevin Durant HAS TO BE on the team. Whether everyone comes back or not. … Some people explode on the scene. Kevin actually, he was there for all the Select team stuff — he almost made the team last time so that’s an interesting — it’s an evolving process. It’s not like filling in one spot for a particular team, so that’s why Jerry Colangelo came up with this concept of a pool. So that when 12 guys are selected, it’s not like somebody didn’t make the team — these are the 12 we’re taking from the pool.”

The New York Times with a great feature on Kevin Durant: “Durant is so grounded that Oklahoma City Coach Scott Brooks said Durant traveled to the N.B.A. Summer League in Orlando, Fla., just to bond with his future teammates. While other elite N.B.A. stars were making movies and taking vacations, Durant worked out every morning at 6:45 a.m. and cheered on the Thunder rookies and some future Development League players. “That’s not abnormal behavior,” Brooks said. “That’s normal. If he didn’t do that, we’d think he was changing. But he works like that every day.” Brooks said Durant’s demeanor was so down to earth that he understood why people may have a difficult time believing it. He said Durant treated the equipment manager and the trainer in Oklahoma City with the same kindness and consideration that he treated the coaching staff and front office. This attitude comes as no surprise to USA Basketball officials, who said Durant was the only American player to attend each of the team’s training sessions for the past five years.”

Another story on KD, this one from the Boston Herald: “NBA fans have come to accept that great players have great egos. This is not a league that celebrates the modest, the low key. Rather it is a league where over-the-top rules, a league where free agents demand to be courted like Hollywood starlets. That’s why it has been so fun to watch Kevin Durant practice with Team USA this week in New York. Durant is an emerging superstar, and by far the best player on the squad that is headed to Turkey at the end of this month to seek its first world championship since 1994.”

Darnell Mayberry on Russell Westbrook’s progression: “The other major improvement in Westbrook’s game was his mid-range jump shot. Westbrook’s total shooting percentage last year was just 41.8 percent, only percentage points above the paltry 39.8 percent of field goals he connected on as a rookie. But anyone who looks beyond stats can see how much better Westbrook became as a free-throw line extended shooter. That new skill helped transform him into an almost unstoppable performer down the stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs, as defenders had to now respect his pull-up jumper as well as his ability to dart to the basket.”