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Tuesday Bolts – 4.2.13

Tuesday Bolts – 4.2.13

Matt Moore of CBSSports.com on Russell Westbrook: “Kevin Durant gets the accolades. Westbrook gets the criticism. Westbrook has been phenomenal this year, as he was last year, and were he on his own team, we’d be talking about him as a fringe MVP candidate the same way we talk about James Harden. Instead, he is mocked for his fashion sense and told to give the ball to Durant more. Westbrook should be applauded for the burden he carries for OKC as their only other significant consistent offensive contributor and for the adaptation he’s made to be more of a distributor since Harden was traded. But no one seems to like that story as much as “Should the Thunder have kept James Harden and traded Russell Westbrook?” So the same story goes on. Westbrook has been the best point guard no one seems to notice has been great.”

Amin Elhassan of ESPN Insider ranks Kevin Martin his 21st best free agent: “Martin’s experienced most every role in the league: unheralded, low-first-round pick; up-and-coming young bench player; franchise player; and now bench scorer for a contender. It’s interesting to see him flourish in that role after clearly being frustrated with the expectations of his previous contract. A three-year, $16.5 million deal would compensate him for what he brings off the bench for a contending team, while the player option allows him to pursue a bigger contract should he choose to go back to being a big fish in a small pond.”

KD and Kevin Love in “White Men Can’t Jump 2.”

Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN Insider on physicality: “The Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks famously employed the Jordan Rules, which were designed to intimidate and stymie MJ, and those “rules” worked sometimes, too — that’s one reason that Jordan remembers those years so distinctly. The game often disintegrated and bogged down, particularly in those notorious Knicks games, and by the time the ’90s ended, the game was slowing down considerably, with an excessive emphasis on defense (often physical defense). And there are plenty of highlight reels of hard fouls, nasty play and brawls spilling into the front rows. But if the claim is that the 1990s overall were a lot more physical than the game today, the evidence is hard to find.”

Last night was Russell Westbrook’s charity bowling event.

Thabo Sefolosha on if he’s gotten his due as a defender: “Not really,” he said. “I think I definitely should be (considered) one of the top 10 defensive players in the league for the last three years probably, but it’s not something I focus on. I really don’t care about the applause and all the attention. For me, winning is the most important thing. When you win, everybody looks good. We’ve gotten so much exposure by getting the Finals and winning the last several seasons. For me, the ultimate goal is to win a championship and to win every game, basically.”

I wrote a thing for Hickory High reflecting on the James Harden deal.

Larry Coon for ESPN Insider examines salary cap situations: “None of these three teams are in a big market, which means that none of the three can really afford to be taxpayers. This could prove to be difficult — for example, the Thunder currently have 12 players signed for 2013-14, and may have as many as three first-round draft picks. In addition, each team will have free agents it may want to bring back, and each re-signed free agent will further add to the team’s total. Overall this means that while these teams may enter free agency below the tax line, it might prove difficult to remain there.”