Royce Young appeared on The Lowe Post podcast and shared a quick thought on what Russell Westbrook is working on this summer. Thunder fans will be delighted to know that three-point shooting is at the top of the list.
“He’s been working on it (three-point shooting) this summer, I’ve been told. That’s been a big-time offseason focus, we’ll see.”
Short, sweet, and hopefully something Westbrook is successful in doing.
Despite shooting 34 percent from deep in 2016-17, Westbrook regressed to just 29.8 percent last season. Since he’s still prone to nights of extreme trigger-happiness from beyond the arc, improving that percentage (and shot selection) would be a monster boost to the Thunder offense. It’s also worth noting that he’s 29-years-old and entering the first season of a 5-year, $205 million contract — doing anything that will allow his game to age better as his athleticism begins to decline is highly endorsed over here. No signs of slowing down yet but Father Time is undefeated.
No Love Lost for Reggie
Remember that epic Thunder comeback against the Clippers in the 2014 postseason? The one where OKC erased a 7-point deficit in the final 50 seconds to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semifinals? Steven Adams does — and he shares a funny story about Reggie Jackson’s behavior in that game in his upcoming autobiography.
Via Steven Adams: My Life, My Fight (h/t ThunderChats):
“All I’ll say is KD still had to make a clutch three for us to win that game. And Russ still had to make three ridiculous pressure free throws to take the lead and win that game. As for the controversial out of bounds call given to us that everyone says went off our guy Reggie Jackson’s hand? I couldn’t possibly comment. Reggie was in a three-on-one fast break situation and chose to take it himself instead of passing to KD or Russ. That’s far more controversial to me.”
Hilarious — but he wasn’t done discussing Jackson just yet. Here are his thoughts on Jackson’s final season in OKC:
“During those 14 games Russ was out, he got his wish. Although he scored well and his stats looked good, we weren’t clicking on the floor. I knew it, Perk knew it, Scotty knew it, probably everyone knew just from looking at our win-loss record. Reggie didn’t know it.
When Russ came back from injury and took over the starting spot again, Reggie wasn’t happy. We were just looking at him thinking, ‘You’ve got to be some kind of fool to seriously think you should be starting over Russ.’ But that’s exactly what he thought, and that kind of thinking went against everything the Thunder was about….
When the trade deadline got near, we knew Reggie wanted to leave. And because we knew he wanted to leave, we wanted him to leave as well. Why would we want to work every day with someone who wanted to be somewhere else? When he was finally traded to the Detroit Pistons we forgot about him pretty quickly because we had new guys to welcome to the team.”
Wow. As the kids like to say these days — tea was spilled.
Let’s all hope history doesn’t repeat itself with this whole Dennis Schroder experiment.
Kevin the Phony?
Every Thunder fan that has muttered “KD sure has changed” over the last few years has, apparently, been absolutely correct. Maybe just not in the way the fans around here see it…
“The guy you see now is the real me. The guy in Oklahoma City was the phony. I was just trying to please everybody and do what I thought everybody wanted me to do.”
Glad we can put that to rest — even though I don’t really buy it. There’s no need to diminish 8 years of history here. People just change, man. It’s normal.
More Offseason Thunder
I shared video of Russ working out at UCLA in Bolts earlier this week. Apparently, he was joined by Hamidou Diallo, Terrance Ferguson, Deonte Burton (wearing a mask), and a collection of other familiar faces from around the league. Here’s an extended cut of that footage:
That’s enough. Enjoy your Wednesday.