3 min read

Wednesday Bolts – 12.17.16

Wednesday Bolts – 12.17.16

Chris Barnewall of Fansided: “It turns out maybe the Magic should have kept Oladipo for one


more year, or perhaps he just needed a change of scenery because the jump everybody has been waiting for may finally be happening. He’s not quite the superstar player Orlando was hoping for, but the most noticeable improvements of his career are beginning to show on a nightly basis. No longer tasked with carrying an entire offense, Oladipo is able to focus less on creating and more on taking advantage of a defense focused elsewhere. He’s still shooting just as many times this season as he was in Orlando, but there’s more of a purpose to it. It doesn’t feel like pointless chucking anymore.”

Ben Cohen of The Wall Street Journal: “It seems to be working so far: Oklahoma City is clearly one of the better teams in the NBA. The only problem is what’s happened in the past. None of the players who were relied on as much as Westbrook had their seasons end well. In 1987, before he was teammates with Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan was used on 38.3% of Chicago’s possessions. The Bulls lost in the first round of the playoffs. In 2006, between his stints with Shaquille O’Neal and Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant was used on 38.7% of Los Angeles’s possessions. The Lakers lost in the first round of the playoffs. And in 2015, with Durant injured, Westbrook was used on 38.4% of Oklahoma City’s possessions. The Thunder missed the playoffs altogether.”

Russ’s teammates like his triple-doubles.

Bryan Curtis of The Ringer: “In the Age of Dwindling Access, a superstar who has fulfilled minimal media obligations is said to have “talked.” As I watched on Thanksgiving eve, Durant talked to reporters for seven leisurely minutes after morning practice. He talked for another seven after the game. The interviews were friendly and reasonably forthcoming and, most of all, utterly relaxed. “‘You know what?’ said Thompson. ‘I didn’t see him much at Oklahoma City, but he looks … free.'”

Brett Dawson: “During the Thunder’s six-game winning streak, its bench is outscoring opponents by 5.5 points per 100 possessions. For the season, the Oklahoma City bench is being outscored by an average of 4.3 points per 100 possessions. That’s a difference of 9.8 points per 100 possessions, a sizable swing for subs. The catalysts for that bench surge are forward Enes Kanter, who’s averaging 15.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 20.8 minutes per game over the past six, and guard Anthony Morrow, who’s 11.3 points in 24.8 minutes and shooting 49 percent from the floor over that span.”

Erik Horne: “Westbrook’s sixth consecutive triple-double was sealed up by the third quarter, but a strong fourth was imperative, especially considering how sloppy the Thunder – Westbrook included – was with the ball in the final period (we’ll get to that). Even when his shot wasn’t falling, Westbrook was for the most part excellent on offense, slowing the game down when necessary and taking over when needed. Some was calculated and well-executed offense from the Thunder, like this baseline cut from Andre Roberson in which Westbrook finds him with a bounce pass.”

Steve Kerr to Marc Stein on KD: “I knew he was good. He’s kicked our ass for years. I just felt our style of play would suit him. He was brilliant in OKC, but the way they play, there’s a lot more isos. It was sort of take turns: Russell would go, then KD would go. I think KD understands he’s going to have the ball in his hands less [with Golden State], but he’ll be in more advantageous positions to score. I think he’s really embracing the style. I think he likes making plays for other guys, and vice versa. It’s a fun way to play.”