4 min read

Wednesday Bolts – 11.6.13

Wednesday Bolts – 11.6.13

Jon Hamm writing on NewsOK.com about misconceptions of the Thunder’s finances: “But is it reasonable to think the last three teams on that list were at a disadvantage because they weren’t wild spenders? The 2011 Heat were a fine team that got a poor Finals performance from LeBron James. The 2012 Thunder just weren’t ready yet. And if the Spurs hit a free throw or two, not spend an extra dollar or two, they win the Finals last season. I don’t see how the results of those series would have been changed thanks to a few extra dollars spent. Some teams have paid tens of millions and more in luxury tax with almost nothing to show for it. The Knicks have paid over $205 million luxury tax since its inception and I can count their total number of playoff series on one hand. Portland paid huge sums of tax in the early 2000s before cutting back. Though to be fair, the Lakers have paid the third-most in luxury tax over the years and that’s worked out pretty well for them. That might have had something to do with the likes of Kobe, Shaq and Gasol, though.”

Anthony Slater on Reggie Jackson: “A variety of important decisions loom for the Thunder front office this offseason. But maybe the most influential — before any free agency, draft or amnesty talk — regards the future of Reggie Jackson. OKC’s emerging third-year point guard will be entering the last season of his rookie deal. The “James Harden summer,” as some would now refer to it, gives the Thunder a final chance to lock up Jackson before he can become a restricted free agent the next year. And that’s what makes the next seven months so critical to that decision-making process. Because as much as the Thunder brass believes in Jackson — and believes what Jackson will eventually become — they don’t truly know. When it comes to experience in the league, he’s essentially still a rookie. Jackson has only played 1,578 career minutes. That’s less than Russell Westbrook had compiled by the All-Star break in his first season.”

James Harden took himself a break on defense against the Clippers on Monday.

A necessary week in review.

Tom Sunnengren of Hoop 76 in an ESPN.com 5-on-5 says OKC’s been the most disappointing contender: “While the sample size is small, in three games the Thunder have squeaked by the rebuilding Jazz, been blown out by the Timberwolves, and needed a 36-point fourth period to top the Suns — who, Week 1 pluck aside, are only nominally an NBA team at this point.”

There’s a Kickstarter project for Jeremy Lamb.

Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “With so many teams in the hunt at the top of the East as well as the top of the West, every contender out there is going to be looking for any conceivable veteran boost for the playoff push. And the vibe I get is that Odom, despite that summerlong string of really daunting headlines, does want to make an NBA return eventually. Nothing will realistically happen until we get to January or February at the soonest, but I’m starting to hear that he really does have his eye on a second-half comeback. And he’s still too seasoned and skilled at 34, no matter what potential concerns you want to raise, for teams not to give him a look. (Just to throw out one example: You’re telling me Oklahoma City, as thin as the Thunder look, wouldn’t have interest in a gamble on a minimum-salaried Odom with his close friend Derek Fisher in place as a welcoming committee?)”

Eddie Vedder, not the biggest fan of Oklahoma.

Zach Lowe of Grantland on OKC’s offense: “Purists hate isolations, and they are generally inefficient plays. But the league’s current rules, especially the ban on hand-checking, can make one-on-one rim attacks a profitable thing if constructed the right way. The Thunder have long opened holes for Russell Westbrook by having big men fake as if they are going to set a pick for him, only to veer away just as Westbrook’s man has opened up his stance — and, thus, a driving lane — in anticipation of a pick that isn’t coming … Instead of setting a high screen for Westbrook, Perkins plants himself in the lane and sets a rare in-the-paint back screen on the big man who might be most able to stop Westbrook’s mad rush to the rim. Good stuff.”

Matt Moore of CBSSports.com: “Durant got off to a blistering start with 42 points in his first game, and is averaging 29 points per game on the season, right on track for yet another scoring title. Durant by all rights should have been the scoring leader last year, he scored the most points, but Carmelo Anthony missed a lot of time and squeaked out in front with his usual blistering April. Durant should be the odds on favorite for the scoring title.”

Sekou Smith of NBA.com: “I don’t think folks (some Thunder fans and even some inside of the organization included) realized that Westbrook was the emotional center of this crew until he was taken away. Now that he’s back, his impact on this team’s bottom line should be appreciated properly. My pick to win the Western Conference this year, the Warriors, have given me no reason to reconsider that choice. But they’re going to get all they can handle from a Thunder team that will be as difficult to deal with as any team in the league come playoff time, provided Westbrook’s continued good health.”