Tuesday Bolts: 6.5.18
Royce Young on Steven Adams’ accidental Instagram gaffe: “A “like” by Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams on a comment on an Instagram post critical of Carmelo Anthony is said to have been an accident, a team spokesman told ESPN. On a post featuring four Thunder players — Adams, Anthony, Russell Westbrook and Paul George — with the caption “Who’s more valuable to OKC?” Adams liked a comment that said “All of them except Melo.” Adams contacted Thunder PR early Monday morning from New Zealand to make them aware of the situation, saying it was an accident made while scrolling through his feed, blaming his “fat fingers.”
Fred Katz on Sam Presti’s failed 2017-18 season: “With Anthony around, the defensive identity changed. The offense turned more hijackable and inconsistent, whether because of the times the ball stopped with him or because he didn’t hit enough 3-pointers to prop his efficiency to acceptable levels. The deal gave the Thunder a higher ceiling, no question. Anthony is a 10-time All-Star and former scoring champion for a reason. Of course, it didn’t play out that way. Not close. The lower floor showed. And the move went from Presti’s splashiest to one of his most regrettable. By mid-August, people were calling the Thunder the team best comprised to challenge Golden State. By April, they were obviously worse than the Jazz.”
Neal Leitereg (LA Times) on Russell Westbrook’s new home in Los Angeles: “Russell Westbrook has joined fellow NBA superstar LeBron James in Brentwood, buying a newly built home in the Westside community for $19.75 million in a deal consummated off-market, records show. The multi-level house, designed by architect Ken Ungar, sits on a leafy corner lot where actor Anthony LaPaglia previously lived. LaPaglia sold the property, which previously centered on a 1941 Traditional-style residence of about 5,200 square feet, two years ago for $8.2 million, public records show. The new home was completed this year. While details are scant, building permits reveal the home has about 9,000 square feet of living space across two floors plus a lower basement level with an additional 4,000 square feet of space. The half-acre property also features a covered patio, a detached garage and a new 38-foot-long swimming pool with a spa.”
A preview of Nick Collison’s upcoming Mr. Thunder documentary:
Zach Buckley (B/R) builds the Thunder’s offseason whiteboard: “There was a lot to be happy about: the fans, the city, the organization,” George said, per CBS Sports’ Kyle Boone. “Everything has been unbelievable. It’s too soon. I’d love to remain a Thunder, but that’s what this summer is for.” Was George being polite or at least savvy enough to keep his options open? Maybe, but he also witnessed the tremendous upside of the Thunder at full strength—a colossal plus-14.2 net rating during the 539 minutes he shared with Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams. OKC can only hope that’s enough to keep George around. The Thunder could be a luxury-taxed team even without him, so he’d leave a massive hole as an All-Star sidekick and probably force Westbrook to revert to his one-man army approach.”
Berry Tramel on Kevin Durant’s “validation” comments: “Durant’s lack of self-awareness is wild. Did he really have that deep of an inferiority complex? Superstars from every generation had hailed Durant as a transcendent star. He was the 2014 MVP. He was the world’s second-greatest player by popular acclaim. Yet there in summer 2016, Durant wants us to believe that “at that time in my career, I didn’t know how other people felt about my game.” We can debate a lot about Durant’s decision, but that statement is not debatable. It’s bullcrap. It’s not true. It’s not in the same hemisphere as the truth. Was Durant flattered that the league’s best team wanted him? Was it “cool” (his words) that Golden State’s stars wanted him to join them? Of course. But it wasn’t the least bit surprising. Of course the Warriors wanted him. Of course the Golden State cool kids thought he could make their team better. Durant would make any team better. He would make Golden State unbeatable. Here’s the irony. Durant talks about needing that “validation” from his peers. His decision in some ways harmed his reputation among peers.”
The Ringer’s updated mock NBA Draft: “OKC Thunder (53): Alize Johnson, PF, Missouri State — A versatile power forward with ball handling skills and defensive versatility but needs ti prove he has standout quality… OKC Thunder (57) — Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV — A throwback center who can score inside and throw his body around on defense, but lacks ideal athleticism to thrive.”
Paul George vs Chad Johnson 1v1?
Jess Walter (Spokesman) looks at the “what if” scenario of the Sonics never leaving Seattle: “Right now, we could be talking about the Sonics as the team of the last decade (especially since the actual team of the last decade, the Golden State Warriors, Durant’s current home, is Seattle’s mirror image: West Coast cool, throwback logo, ’70s heyday, bustling tech capital.) Right now, I could be looking for Finals tickets and counting how many cars I’ve owned that cost less than the courtside seats I’m too cheap to buy, even in a fantasy scenario. (For the record, that number would be “all of them.”) Right now, hoops experts could be debating whether Durant, Harden and Westbrook (who, for the sake of this argument, learn to love funky Seattle and to share the ball) are the greatest NBA threesome of all time. Right now, instead of a rerun NBA finals featuring the last two players to wear a Seattle uniform (the Warriors’ Durant and the Cavaliers’ journeyman Jeff Green) the actual Sonics could be playing. Right now, as sports fans in Oklahoma City debate who will win the State Fair calf-roping title, the Seattle SuperSonics could be gearing up to chase their fifth title in seven years.”
GQ is having a tournament to determine the NBA’s best-dressed player: “Russell Westbrook vs. Jimmy Butler. Welcome to the most extreme style pairing in this whole bracket. There’s Russell Westbrook, the loudest dresser in the NBA since the time of ankle-length fur coats. And he’s up against Jimmy Butler, who wears football jerseys—and who somehow makes them look stylish. It’s a matchup of stylistic opposites, and, most importantly, two guys with competitive fire to spare.”
Around the League: Bold NBA Finals predictions…. Andre Iguodala is close to returning for Golden State…. Steph vs LeBron for the Finals MVP…. Watch the moment LeBron learned the Cavs had an extra timeout in Game 1…. The Sixers hired a firm to probe the Bryan Colangelo Twitter fiasco…. How much does size matter in the NBA?…. Monty Williams is taking over as lead assistant in Philadelphia.