4 min read

Thursday Bolts: 8.16.18

Brian Mazique (Forbes) on Russell Westbrook’s 93-overall rating in NBA 2K19: “This just might be the most accurate representation of Westbrook we’ve seen in any sports video game. Previous years, we’ve seen some questionable renders surface for Westbrook, but this one is probably the benchmark. Westbrook is coming off his second straight season averaging a triple-double. His scoring, three-point and free throw shooting numbers dipped from the 2016-17 season, but Westbrook still scored 25.4 points, grabbed 10.1 rebounds and dished a league-best 10.3 assists per game. Throw in 1.8 steals per contest and it’s clear we’re still talking about one of the league’s most dominant players. The 93 overall rating is the exact same mark he ended with after the final update for NBA 2K18. The 93 rating makes him the fifth highest-rated player revealed in NBA 2K19 for launch thus far, and the top-rated point guard. Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry could bump him, the Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving could be in the vicinity and Houston Rockets veteran Chris Paul could challenge as well. However, it’s safe to assume Westbrook will be on of the Top 3 or 4 rated point guards when the game is released.”

A look at Westbrook’s 2K19 rendering:

Andrew Sharp & Ben Golliver (SI) on whether Carmelo will be better without Russ: “In my view, he still took way too many tough twos, he didn’t commit to having the right kind of shot selection, he wasn’t athletic or physical enough to play the defensive positions that they needed him to play, and he was just a very, very easy guy to pick on in the playoffs—and that had nothing to do with Russell Westbrook. Now did Westbrook set him up perfectly all the time? No. Was the balance between their Big Three guys in Oklahoma City right? No, it was not, everyone would agree on those things. But there were other, more glaring issues, and I think in Houston it does help that they’re going to just play a spread style all the time and he’s going to be largely a catch and shoot three-point shooter. I think that’s going to be the most effective way to use him right now and hopefully he buys in.”

Scott Rafferty (Sporting News) with the biggest offseason move for every Northwest Division team: “Biggest move: Trading for Dennis Schröder. Considering they were prepared to do whatever it took to part ways with Carmelo Anthony this offseason, the Thunder did well to flip the 10-time All-Star for Dennis Schröder. While Schröder has some glaring flaws in his game, he enters 2018-19 as perhaps the best backup point guard in the league. And for a Thunder team that ranked No. 29 in bench scoring last season, adding someone who can create their own shot in pick-and-rolls and isolation should help them stem the tide when Russell Westbrook takes a seat on the bench. Schröder will have to prove that he can play alongside Westbrook and Paul George to live up to the three years and $46.5 million remaining on his contract, and yet he fills a huge need for a team looking to contend in the Western Conference this season.”

David Long (STUFF New Zealand) on Steven Adams being prepared for next season: “In George and Westbrook it gives the Thunder a formidable combination, but Adams says it’s about more than just those two players. “Obviously they’re terrific players and very skilled, but it’s the consistency of the team as well,” he said. “There ain’t just two players on the team, there are 10, 15 players. So having the same core guys helps a lot, especially with culture building. Whenever a new guy comes in, you can get them up to date faster, so it helps a lot.” But the Thunder will be without another of the big name NBA players this season, with Carmelo Anthony moving to Houston, although they have picked up the impressive German Dennis Schroder from Atlanta. Anthony was criticised for having a bad attitude at OKC and it’s been argued that the team are better off without him. However, Adams doesn’t see it that way. “All I can say as a player is that he’s a good player,” he said. “He’s a good dude as well, a good locker room dude and it’s sad to see him go, but that’s the way of the game.”

Erik Horne on 2018-19 MVP odds: “How do you feel about Russell Westbrook at 14-to-1 odds to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award? The 2016-17 MVP has taken his customary place among the top candidates to win the award, as Bovada released its opening odds for the MVP on Wednesday. New Laker LeBron James is No. 1 at 10/3 followed by New Orleans’ Anthony Davis (4/1), Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokoumpo (9/2), Houston’s James Harden (11/2), Golden State’s Kevin Durant (9/1) and Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard (11/1). Paul George is listed at 125/1.”

TV NZ on Steven Adams’ unexpected connection with Miami’s James Johnson: “Adams is part Tongan and revealed to media in Auckland during a press conference that he bumped into Miami Heat player James Johnson who is part Samoan on the NBA court. The 25-year-old Kiwi noticed Polynesian tattoos on Johnson’s calf during a game. “He just had Samoan tatts on his calf and I was like ‘oh uce?'” asked Adams. “And he was just like ‘sup uce.‘ I was like ‘what the? You’re the man.'”

Chris Bengel (24/7 Sports) on Corey Brewer not being shocked by Paul George’s return to OKC: ““I had a feeling that he was going to go back,” Brewer said on the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast. “He was enjoying himself. He was having fun. It was a good situation for him. They like each other. People make it like ‘Oh, people don’t like playing with Russ.’ But Russ is a great guy. When you’re on his team you realize you want to play with him. I guess from the outside looking in you think ‘Oh, he does this, he does that.’ But he’s a great guy and a great teammate.”

Around the League: Daryl Morey thinks LeBron is better than Jordan…. Kobe Bryant turned a $6M investment in Body Armor into a $200M return…. CJ McCollum thinks superteams are “disgusting”…. Players expected to breakout next season…. Lavar Ball says the Lakers are still Lonzo’s team…. 2018-19’s most combustible locker rooms…. Are NBA coaches just middle managers?