3 min read

Wednesday Bolts – 4.11.12

Wednesday Bolts – 4.11.12

Zach Lowe of SI.com on hockey assists: “Lastly, Westbrook does quite well here, considering he averages just 5.4 assists for a team that ranks last in assist rate. And Westbrook actually ranked even higher based on the criteria STATS first used in defining hockey assists, says Brian Kopp, a vice president at STATS. The company started with a broader definition of hockey assists that would have allowed for the final passer to hold the ball for up to four seconds and take two dribbles before dishing the actual assist. The company chose that benchmark after studying how the NBA scores actual assists. When using this definition for hockey assists, Westbrook averaged more such secondary dimes than any player in the STATS sample, Kopp says.”

Brendan Bowers of the Plain Dealer on the Thunder Model: “I’ve never been a proponent of the Oklahoma City Model technically, because I’ve always thought the Kevin Durant part can’t literally be duplicated. There was a lot of luck associated with Durant being passed over by Portland, and the model would look pretty awful these days with Greg Oden down in OKC instead. But as it pertains to the Cavaliers, I will agree that winning the chance to draft Kyrie Irving last season was similarly lucky to an extent. There’s also no denying that the Thunder did capitalize on just about every draft pick since, and they certainly do deserve to be the NBA’s current gold standard for building a team through the draft.”

David Thorpe talking about development.

Britt Robson of SI.com’s power rankings: “After losing three straight, the Thunder have blitzed their last two opponents. They erupted for a 24-0 run over the third and fourth quarters against Toronto on Sunday, and then had a 19-5 spurt to open a 33-12 lead against Milwaukee on Monday. You can’t decimate an opponent that quickly and thoroughly without a defense that is at once subsumed in the fundamentals and confidently opportunistic. OKC’s rise to ninth in points allowed per possession solidifies its championship credentials. With 6-foot-5 Thabo Sefolosha back beside 6-3 Russell Westbrook as the guards and 6-10 Kendrick Perkins, 6-10 Serge Ibaka and 6-9 Kevin Durant near the rim, the Thunder have a killer combination of length and speed to jump the passing lanes. Three weeks before the start of the playoffs, they are obviously having fun getting stops. If that spirit continues, the Thunder will be a superior team to the one that made last year’s conference finals.”

Matt Moore of CBSSports.com’s rankings: “Righted the ship after their first really rocky week, but April is a bad time to have your first doubts about where the team is headed.”

Something about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

Clark Matthews of The Lost Ogle on the Spurs: “Actually, in spurts, the Thunder have shown they can outplay San Antonio. They just have to sustain the good things they do. For instance, Scott Brooks inserted Royal Ivey in with his starters in the 4th quarter of their last game. Ivey guarded Parker and absolutely frustrated the hell out of the Spur point guard. He started turning over the ball and forcing bad shots and OKC was able to get within one possession on a couple of occasions. That was before Thabo Sefolosha was healthy. If they meet up in the playoffs, Thabo can be assigned to Parker from the beginning, hopefully getting the team out of rhythm from the start.”

Ben Cohen of the Wall Street Journal: “What do LeBron James’s Easter dinner, Kevin Durant’s ice bath and Carmelo Anthony’s new wristwatch have in common? They were all photographed and shared on Instagram, the mobile service bought by Facebook Monday for a cool $1 billion in cash and stock. On Instagram, as it turns out, the world’s most public athletes are just like us.”