ICYAMT: Brandon Rahbar’s Media Day thoughts from yesterday: “Deonte Burton’s eyes lit up and he spoke in wonderment and awe, “I’ve seen Abdel make a lot of shots all summer. He was really cooking. I just didn’t think he was ever going to miss.” I asked Abdel what surprise in store Noel was referring to, to which the third-year wing quipped, “I can’t tell you; then it wouldn’t be a surprise.” Okay, thanks Mom.”
Brett Dawson (The Athletic) on Chris Paul’s embrace of the Thunder: “The message, whether one chooses to believe it, was that Paul wants to be where he is. That doesn’t fit the common-sense narrative that Paul, 34 and entering the twilight of his career, would prefer a more playoff-ready team. But Paul made it his mission Monday to back up coach Billy Donovan’s assessment he has “both feet in the circle” rather than one out the door. “It’s funny, because a lot people try to tell your truth or your story and say what you want, all this different type stuff,” Paul said. “I’m excited about the opportunity, excited about our team, excited about building.”
Berry Tramel (The Oklahoman) sounds like he’d rather a talent like Paul last in Oklahoma City, rebuild be darned: “It’s been hard to get too excited about Paul, because Presti has been talking in riddles about the Thunder rebuild and letting us know that winter is coming and tanking might be in OKC’s future. Paul could be traded to Miami before Christmas or before the season opener or before the college football games this Saturday. We don’t know. But while he’s here, Paul gives Oklahoma City what it’s almost always had in its still-young NBA history: star power of the highest order.”
Call me a sneaker reporter, here’s what Shai donned for Media Day:
Jared Dubin (FanSided) says Danilo Gallinari is the most intriguing player on the Thunder this season: “Paul has gotten more attention as a potential trade piece because he’s, well, Chris Paul. But his contract (and reputation) makes him considerably more difficult to trade than Gallo, who can be acquired without nearly as much salary required in the deal and can potentially be sold on his new destination as a long-term fit in a way a player of Paul’s stature may not be. With the title race as wide open as it’s been in at least half a decade, Gallinari is the kind of player who can take a contender up a notch.”
J. Kyle Mann (The Ringer) put out a much more thoughtful and positive preview of the Thunder than you might expect:
John Hollinger has moved from the topsy-turvy Grizzlies front office back into writing, now with The Athletic: “Analytics has blown up since my last go-round. My most famous invention, PER, is old enough to drink now, and some new evaluative methods have come along to help shed more light. So while I’ll still deliver some of the familiar analytics, I’ll also introduce some other, more recent tools. Obviously, my perspective has shifted too. In addition to a lifetime supply of Tony Allen stories, I now have an insider’s perspective of working on trades, drafts and free agency, which I’ll use to explain not just what happened but also why, and most importantly, what to expect next.”
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