Brett Dawson on Paul George’s outdoor youth initiative: “If you were fishing Monday for hints about George’s future, there was some bait to take. In his speech announcing the initiative, he said “Oklahoma’s home for me, so it’s fun to start this journey.” Later, George – who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent after the season – gave another hint that maybe the Thunder has a chance to reel him in. George said he hasn’t had the chance to fish as much as he’d like in Oklahoma City, but “hopefully, there’s a summer for that here that I can do that.”
Fred Katz on Thunder injuries: “The Thunder did not practice Monday, meaning the team has gone one week without an official practice because of schedule-related reasons. It also means the team did not provide an update on the injuries of 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony and starting center Steven Adams. Adams suffered a right calf contusion during the fourth quarter of Thursday’s 102-94 loss at the Denver Nuggets. He has missed two games since. The Thunder have not provided a timetable for his return. Anthony, meanwhile, was readying to play during Sunday night’s eventual 112-99 victory over the Dallas Mavericks until the team scratched him because of a sore back only an hour before tipoff.”
Erik Horne on how injuries have given the Thunder a look at new lineups: “Of the 17 lineups Donovan used against Dallas, only one played as many minutes as the starting lineup of Dakari Johnson, Jerami Grant, Paul George, Andre Roberson and Russell Westbrook. A hyper-athletic lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, George, Grant and Josh Huestis – playing together for the first time all season – didn’t embarrass itself. The lineup started shakily, getting outscored the final 4:23 of the first half 10-4 and turning the ball over twice. But after Huestis subbed in for Johnson at 9:23 in the third quarter, the Thunder scored on six of its next eight possessions.”
Zach Buckley (B/R) on why Alex Abrines should play more: “Abrines has the Association’s 18th-highest plus/minus (plus-75), and he’s played the fewest minutes of anyone inside the top 20. He has the Thunder’s best on-court net rating among the regulars (plus-13.4) and their lowest off-court mark (plus-1.3). But Abrines isn’t a starter. That spot belongs to Andre Roberson, a defensive specialist who sees about 5.5 more minutes per night. Yet, Abrines is a better fit to play with the three-headed monster.”
Micah Adams (ESPN) has Paul George at number six in this week’s player power rankings: “Though he finished with a game score lower than both Kristaps Porzingis and Kevin Durant, we’re bumping Paul George up a few spots as he played in two more games. Though he struggled in the first two games of the week, George erupted for 42 points in a win over the Clippers and followed that up with a 37-point effort in the win on Russell Westbrook’s birthday on Sunday. It marked just the third time in George’s career that he scored 35 in back-to-back games.”
Brett Dawson on Semaj Christon playing for the USA’s World Cup qualifying team: “Former Thunder guard Semaj Christon will play for Team USA’s World Cup qualifying team, The New York Times reported on Monday via Twitter. The team will begin play on Nov. 23 against Puerto Rico in Orlando, Fla. That’s the first of six first-round qualifying games that will take place in three competition windows through July 2018. There are three second-round qualifying windows in 2018-19. The 2019 World Cup takes place in China.
Nick Del Bene (Sneaker News) on the Nike PG1 “Midnight in OKC” being a nod to George’s love of fishing: “In a tribute to George’s love of fishing, Nike created the Nike PG 1 “Midnight In OKC” PE inspired by fishing in the late summer nights. The colorway is styled in a deep navy suede upper that features a vibrant orange Swoosh and gradient yellow-orange sock liner. The orange and yellow detailing continues in the speckling of the navy midsole.”
Around the League: Enes Kanter got in a yelling match with LeBron James…. Nikola Jokic has no clue who’s in the Northwest Division…. Rajon Rondo made his Pelicans debut…. Dion Waiters denies intentionally hurting Jazz center Rudy Gobert…. Kevin Durant was named GQ’s “Champion of the Year”.