Tramel’s 2016-17 report card for Andre Roberson: “Roberson’s dismal long-distance shooting had been on an upward trajectory, reaching .311 last season. But this year, Roberson fell back to .246, and the reason was the corner 3. After having shot .319 and .364 the previous two seasons from the corner, Roberson made just 22.9 percent of his corner 3-pointers this season. Roberson made 26 percent of his non-corner 3’s. He is one funky shooter.”
Fred Katz on OKC and the luxury tax: “If the roster stays as is, the Thunder already have about $110 million on the books for next season, well over the projected 2017-18 salary cap of $101 million. Maybe more importantly, the Thunder are zeroing in on the luxury tax line, which projects to be $121 million next year. Yet, the salaries on the books don’t even include 2017 free agents Andre Roberson and Taj Gibson, both of whom demand eight-figure salaries. Ownership will have to decide if it wants to pay the tax as free agency approaches. And it will be general manager Sam Presti’s job to implement that plan.”
Hoops Hype ranks EVERY player this season (1 – 484). Russ comes out on top: “Beyond the triple-double records and a historic season, Westbrook’s play in close games has been one of the biggest arguments for his MVP candidacy. In games that have been within five points with under five minutes to go, the Thunder had a 26-15 record and a +20.8 net rating. Interestingly, the Thunder only had a 29.9 assist percentage in those situations (for reference, the lowest assist percentage for the entire season goes to the Raptors at 47.2 percent), meaning a few different things. First, Westbrook created every shot on offense, most of the time for himself, and the Thunder still managed to score 116.7 points per 100 possessions in crunch time, which is quite a bit better than the league-leading offense of the Warriors. Second, the Thunder were fantastic defensively in close games and Billy Donovan was able to put his best defensive talent around Westbrook, since he alone is enough to take care of the offense.”
Preseason: Tickets available for Rockets @ Thunder in Tulsa on October 3. Looks like the tickets start at $29 and go as high as $352. I’d hope they let you operate the t-shirt cannon for a while if you’re paying $350+ for 15 minutes of the starters.
SLAM Magazine on Serge Ibaka — can’t help but root for the guy: “The legendary (in hindsight) OKC core of Durant, Westbrook and James Harden will forever be one of the NBA’s greatest what-ifs. And yet, the ever-common groaning about how that team was disassembled neglects to include mention of Ibaka, who was traded to Orlando on draft night 2016 for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and No. 11 pick Domantas Sabonis. He posted good numbers but was languishing away on a Magic team going nowhere until the Raptors scooped him up in a February deal. A season ago at this time, Ibaka was enjoying the long-term stability of OKC. Now, he’s moved twice in the year since—and he’s had to get used to dealing with big-city traffic.”
Graduation season is upon us. This isn’t really how life after college works for most of us.
Speaking of which, Russ is still trying to do what he wants.
James Harden was up to his old foul-drawing tricks again last night. Coach Pop is all of us.