3 min read

Thursday Bolts – 12.15.16

Thursday Bolts – 12.15.16

Russ is over it: “Honestly, man, people and this triple-double thing is kind of getting on my


nerves. People think if I don’t get it, it’s like a big thing. When I do get it, it’s a thing. If y’all just let me play. … If I get it, I get it. If I don’t, I don’t. It is what it is. I really don’t care. For the 100th time, I don’t care.”

Westbrook is USA Today’s quarter season MVP: “Not only is Westbrook on pace to become the first player since Oscar Robertson (1961-62) to average a triple-double throughout an entire season, but he’s on pace to have the highest usage rate in NBA history, too. Through 25 games (15 wins), Westbrook has gaudy 30.7-point, 10.8-rebound, 10.7-assist averages and a league-leading 12 triple-doubles — numbers that have already drawn comparisons to Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.”

Sam Amick of USA Today: “The Thunder shooting guard who came their way via trade from the Orlando Magic last season missed his second consecutive game with a wrist injury, and Oklahoma City’s offense clearly couldn’t recover without the team’s second-leading scorer (16.1 points per game). In the losses to Portland and Utah, the Thunder shot 37.3% overall (63-of-179). For the season, Oklahoma City’s offense is now 21st in offensive rating (102.3 point scored per 100 possessions). Last season, before Kevin Durant skipped town to sign with the Golden State Warriors, they had the league’s second-best offense (109.9). For the Thunder’s purposes in the post-Durant era, there has been a strong correlation between Westbrook’s triple-doubles and Thunder success. They’re 9-3 overall in triple-double games, and just 6-8 in non-triple-double games. Before the two-game slide, coincidentally, Westbrook was far more willing to discuss the historical context of what he has achieved.”

Brett Dawson: “Billy Donovan tried a range of lineup combinations that included starting Nick Collison and Anthony Morrow in the third quarter in place of Domantas Sabonis and Jerami Grant, the latter a replacement starter for injured Victor Oladipo. The moves were met with mixed success. The Thunder, which trailed by as many as 19 points in the first half, cut Utah’s lead to 56-50 with 9:26 to play in the third quarter on a Westbrook 3-pointer. Oklahoma City was within seven with five minutes to play in the third.”

Erik Horne: “If Westbrook were to re-sign under the proposed designated veteran rule, he’d be under contract for another six seasons following the 2017-18 season. In addition, the rule would apply to restricted free agents and players coming off their rookie contract, allowing them “to be guaranteed more money to stay with their current teams over testing the free-agent market,” if they hit certain benchmarks such as All-NBA selections and individual awards like Most Valuable Player.”

Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider: “Still, as the season goes on Oklahoma City can expect to see more teams following the lead of the Blazers and Warriors. Expect teams to be particularly aggressive packing the paint come the playoffs, when they’ll have more time to game-plan for Oklahoma City. Already, NBA.com’s John Schuhmann notes that the Thunder have the worst record of any current Western Conference playoff team against the rest of the conference’s top eight, in large part because of their poor offense — with games against Golden State and Portland factoring heavily into that. If Oklahoma City is to have success in the postseason, the team will have to find out a way to pull opponents away from the basket by making enough 3s to make them think twice about packing the paint.”

Pelton on the new CBA: “The indirect target of the new extension rules are the kind of “super teams” we’ve seen form via free agency, including this season’s Golden State Warriors. Obviously, the Warriors wouldn’t have been able to sign Durant had he previously signed an extension in Oklahoma City. Owners aim to make the decision Durant made to hit free agency more difficult. For a variety of reasons, including the way the CBA will now tie minimum salaries and cap exceptions to the growth of the cap, the scenario that allowed Golden State to add Durant to a core of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson is unlikely to recur again. Still, the fewer the players that actually get to free agency, the less likely super teams are to form. And that makes the other 29 teams happy, except in the rare cases they are trying to form such a team.”