Wednesday Bolts – 12.29.10
Lee Jenkins of SI on OKC’s terrific foul shooting: “Last season, the Thunder shot 80.5 percent from the line, breaking Brooks’ barrier. This season, they are shattering every other threshold, leading the NBA with 84.3 percent, on pace to break the all-time record of 83.2 percent set by the Boston Celtics in 1989-90. The most common lament among casual fans is that the modern player cannot shoot free throws, but the Thunder are one of the youngest teams in the league, and they are having no trouble. They did not shoot under 80 percent in a game until the season was a month old. They have shot over 90 percent six times. They sank 33 of 34 against Utah, 28 of 29 against Houston, 35 of 37 against Philadelphia, 25 of 27 against Minnesota. The 22-year-old Durant is shooting 89 percent and the 22-year-old Westbrook is shooting 87 percent, and when Durant misses one, Westbrook calls him Shaq.”
Award talk from USA Today: “For once, the conversation isn’t about Kobe Bryant or Kevin Durant as clear-cut favorites. Bryant has Los Angeles Lakers teammate Pau Gasol and Durant has Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook sharing the spotlight.”
The Wizards are shopping JaVale McGee. Sam Presti had an interest in him a few years ago. I wonder if he still does.
ESPN’s Award Watch has Russell Westbrook in the hunt still: “He did the heavy lifting in the beginning of the season for the Thunder, but as it wears on, Kevin Durant will be the one with his fingerprints on their success.”
Fantasy rankings from ESPN.com: “Many have questioned why I kept Kevin Durant in the top overall spot despite his shooting slump to start the season, and his play over the past five games is exactly why. Durant is averaging 30.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.8 3-pointers while shooting 54.1 percent from the floor over his past five game, good enough to rank him first on our Player Rater during that time. Remember, the top 130 is intended to look at long-term values, so when a player of Durant’s talent goes through a mini-shooting slump, I’m not going to panic George Costanza-style and move him out of the top spot.”
Westbrook is fine and will start tonight against New Jersey.
Remember the last time the Thunder and Nets played? Darnell Mayberry recaps: “Asked which sequence he remembered most from the last meeting, Durant chose Russell Westbrook’s cross-over move at the top of the key that he converted into a conventional three-point play. “That was probably the best part of the game for me, the most exciting part,” Durant said. Westbrook initially couldn’t pick a favorite sequence. “There was a lot going on that game,” Westbrook said. When told Durant’s selection, Westbrook smiled and said, “Yeah, that might have been the turning point for me.”