We had some thoughts on Kevin Durant’s Wall Street Journal interview, in which he put the Thunder organization and fans on blast, yesterday. Alex Galbraith (Complex) runs down all of the Twitter spats Durant kept going in the fallout to his Wall Street Journal interview. ????????
More of Rob Mahoney’s (SI) top-100 players ranking for this season is out, and he has Chris Paul (21), Steven Adams (40), Danilo Gallinari (50) all in the top half of the list: “To understand what makes Steven Adams a great player, you have to start by looking around him. The scoring he contributes goes beyond his 13.9 PPG, considering that Adams is near the top of the league in screen assists. Even though Adams himself has fairly pedestrian rebounding numbers, no player in the league had a more profound impact on his team’s defensive rebounding last season. (Does Russell Westbrook average a triple-double for three straight seasons without Adams clearing a runway to the glass?)”
Andy Bailey (Bleacher Report) puts Paul four spots ahead of Russell Westbrook in his all-time point guard rankings: “Right now, Westbrook is among the game’s most divisive players. In a poll that asked, “Is Russell Westbrook a top-10 PG all time?,” 56 percent of voters said no. Years from now, with the benefit of hindsight, Russ should get his due.”
Etienne Catalan (NBA Jerseys) has the scoop that Justin Patton is going to wear #13 for the Thunder. Insert James Harden/PJ Dozier/etc. jokes here.
Dorian Craft (USA Today) has some thoughts on what Thunder fans can expect from Luguentz Dort this season: “With his height and a 6-foot-9 wingspan, Dort possesses an NBA-ready body. Defensively, he has the potential to be a matchup nightmare as he’s able to step out and guard on the perimeter while also moving inside to put a body on forwards. Offensively, Dort is still a little rough, as most rookies are. Fans should expect him to be a rim-runner early on, finishing with layups or dunks.”
Dan Devine (The Ringer) on Team USA’s failure and future: “There’s a good chance that by this time next year we’ll be discussing the performance of a roster featuring multiple MVPs rather than one featuring a single All-NBA performer. And perhaps that’s what matters most—getting USA’s A-team, or at least something close to it, rather than fretting too much about how the pieces all fit together. It’s worth remembering, though, that the last three Olympic teams featuring those All-Star names still had to sweat against international opponents with lesser NBA-caliber talent, but much more cohesive rosters. This result isn’t just about the best and brightest feeling stirred enough to commit to turning out next summer; it’s about those who do then devoting themselves to the pursuit enough to develop the familiarity to produce a more consistent offense and better defense against the pick-and-roll and off-ball cuts.”
Alykhan Bijani (The Athletic) breaks down how Oklahoma City used Russell Westbrook and how that will translate in Houston: “Westbrook will often be the primary ball-handler in these pistol formations, and the coaching staff will place two shooters in the opposite corner and the opposite slot to create space for Westbrook or Harden to attack. The Thunder employed different sets and actions, some of which will be integrated into the Rockets offense. The coaching staff has already reviewed film and spoken to Westbrook about ATO (after timeout) plays he likes and specific half-court sets he feels comfortable with.”
Reddit use Dons98 suggests “Trust the PrOKCdure” as the rebuilding slogan for Oklahomy City to rally around. Pretty bad but it’s early. Put your alternatives in the comments.