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Monday Bolts – 8.8.16

Monday Bolts – 8.8.16

Shea Serrano the Ringer: “The most exciting part of all of this is that when the Warriors are


playing defense they switch on a large percentage of their screens, which means that we are basically guaranteed a moment during an OKC-GSW game when Kevin Durant will end up guarding Russell Westbrook and have to account for his sins. I can barely even manage to think about it without my heart climbing into my throat.”

MJ on Russ: “Thirty years ago, that’s me. The attitude, trying to prove myself, showing so much passion for the game of basketball. You see it in his play. You can tell he loves the game, he plays with energy and flair.”

Russ Bengston of Complex: “But Durant is gone now, and it’s Westbrook’s team once and for all. He got his own team without having to go anywhere, was able to remain loyal to the franchise that drafted him 4th overall out of UCLA in 2008. And if defiance is indeed a defining character trait, he’ll have to dip deeply into it and play at an MVP level every night just to keep the Thunder competitive. It didn’t necessarily happen the way he wanted it to, but Russell Westbrook ended up in the right place. “There is nowhere else I’d rather be than Oklahoma City,” Westbrook said yesterday. Why would he ever want to go anywhere else?”

Erik Horne on Billy Donovan: “Both understand how important Oladipo is to that future as the centerpiece of the deal that sent Serge Ibaka to Orlando. It’s why Westbrook texted Oladipo shortly after the trade to ask if he was ready. It’s why Donovan was in California last week continuing to get acquainted with what should be the most athletic backcourt in the NBA.
With pieces like Westbrook and Oladipo to scheme around, contract talks and recruiting weren’t Donovan’s talking points when they spent time together this summer.”

Horne on Westbrook: “Athletes often make safe statements when asked about their future in a city, then wind up elsewhere. Westbrook’s All-Star weekend comment, his loyalty to a tight circle of people, even a trivial interaction with a fan two years ago were buried by the perception that somewhere a larger market was calling and he wanted it.”

Zach Harper of CBSSports.com: “Eventually, the cult hero role for Westbrook with OKC will begin to subside and it will all be about basketball. When it gets to that point, the Thunder will need Oladipo to make a leap this year and they’ll need Westbrook to help him get there. If they can become one of the top backcourts in the NBA, the Thunder can find a way to remain highly competitive in the West. It won’t be what they were with Durant in tow, but it’ll be a dangerous situation a lot of teams won’t want to face in the playoffs. That all comes from everybody being on the same page and right now it sounds like they definitely are.”

Steve Kerr: “To think of Kevin Durant or Steph Curry or any of our guys as villains, it’s kind of absurd. Especially Kevin. This is one of the most likeable people in this league. He’s just an awesome human being. What he did in Oklahoma City was just amazing for that community. Circumstances kind of dictate, I guess, that some people are going to see him as a villain. But it’s only because he decided to go elsewhere to play. He wanted to change his scenery, he wanted a new challenge. More than anything he wanted to play with our guys. He loves Draymond [Green] and Steph and Klay [Thompson] and Andre [Iguodala]. Seeing those guys in New York, he loved seeing the chemistry that exists and he wanted to be a part of it.”