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Wednesday Bolts – 11.9.16

Wednesday Bolts – 11.9.16

Jon Hamm for Bleacher Report: “Oladipo’s early struggles from the field—32.8 percent during


the first four games—exacerbated the matter. Living up to his streaky nature, Oladipo has now hit 61.3 percent of his shots in the last three contests. He’s looked much more comfortable and confident during that stretch. Last week’s trade of Ersan Ilyasova has forced Lauvergne into a more prominent bench role. Newcomer Grant can leap tall buildings in a single bound but has barely had time to exchange contact info with his new teammates. Sabonis was preparing to start the season with the Gonzaga Bulldogs this time last year, and now he’s a starting power forward in the NBA. With so much change and offseason evolution, Donovan has preached patience while his players work things out.”

Zach Lowe of ESPN.com: “Oklahoma City just doesn’t have a ton of bench pop. Smart teams are doubling Enes Kanter in the post, daring him to fling passes all over the arena. Getting Cameron Payne back will help, and Victor Oladipo figures to settle in as the alpha dog in hybrid lineups; he’s just eight-of-27 so far without Westbrook on the floor, per NBA.com. But this is something to monitor. The Thunder are shooting-poor, and their entire offense revolves around Westbrook’s singular ability to attack the rim from any angle, at any time.”

Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com with a fascinating piece: “Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. It’s the worst secret ever. The blinding light of photographer’s flashes obliterate the screen repeatedly throughout some of the most televised moments in history. How can a man shoot with all those blinding pulses of light? And yet the obvious corollary — that it affected Jordan, and that he’d adjust — has been a secret until now. Also a secret, for a whole different set of reasons, is that the fix he devised has untold neurological performance benefits that touched off a new area of scientific study, benefiting everyone from modern soldiers to Stephen Curry and Kawhi Leonard.”

Brett Dawson: “When he’s on the court, Russell Westbrook accounts for 40.4 percent of the Thunder’s points and 64.5 percent of its assists. But he’s not always on the court. And while backup point guard Cameron Payne sits with a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot, there’s a void running the show for Oklahoma City’s second unit. Semaj Christon is doing his best to fill it.”

David Aldridge of NBA.com: “The changes OKC made after the playoffs — trading Ibaka to Orlando for Oladipo and Ersan Ilyasova (who was flipped to Philly last week for Grant), drafting Domantas Sabonis with the first-round pick acquired from the Magic — were designed for a team that still had Durant. The Thunder thought Oladipo could be a devastating third option when the offense stagnated or defenses committed their resources to trying to stay in front of Durant and Westbrook. Sabonis was a low-cost replacement for Ibaka, who had chafed at being a little-used fourth banana offensively and is in line for a huge free agent payday in 2017. Now, it’s just Westbrook. Make no mistake — there isn’t a team in the league that wouldn’t love to start its franchise with a superstar of his talent and drive. But Westbrook has so much on his plate now. He’s the guy, but he has to do so much — not just score, but do so efficiently (never a staple of his game) while getting teammates involved.”

Erik Horne: “Last week, the Thunder went on the road and forced the L.A. Clippers into an offensive rating 25.4 points below their season average. In seven games, only two teams (Golden State, Philadelphia) have posted an offensive rating against the Thunder that’s higher than their season average. In its most impressive win against the Clippers, Adams was essential. He stepped up to front Clippers guards in the pick-and-roll while also keeping perfect distance to thwart potential lobs to DeAndre Jordan. When Adams stepped forward, Nick Collison rotated over with ideal timing as the help.”