Alex Kennedy (HoopsHype) spoke with Jerami Grant about next season and more: “That’s just ignorant. I think people just listen to the media [who say that] and believe it, but Russ is a great teammate and a great person. Players obviously want to play with him. PG just re-signed to come back. I just re-signed to come back. I know of a lot of players who want to be in OKC. I think that’s a huge misconception in the media and I don’t know why it’s said. He’s a great player and everyone wants to play with great players because we all want to win. He definitely passes the ball. I’m not really sure what else to say about that. It’s just ignorance.”
Nick Gallo on Jerami Grant — The Finisher: “We take a lot of pride in his development,” Presti said. “Jerami is such a great kid. The way he put the work in, he’s progressed a little bit at a time.”… “They did just a great job of getting me better,” Grant said. “Obviously I had to put the time in, but they did a great job with just moving me forward.” To be fair, some of Grant’s growth is just natural, and has come with physical maturation and added experience. He was just 22 years old when he joined the Thunder on November 1, 2016. Heading into his third year, he’s a 24-year-old with 6,621 minutes of regular season playing time in 303 professional games. Confident in his role and his abilities, Grant has earned the trust and formed bonds with team leaders like Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams, along with Paul George, who also re-signed with the Thunder this offseason.”
John Schuhmann (NBA.com) with the 2018 NBA Rookie Survey: Hamidou Diallo received some votes for Rookie of the Year, some picked him to have the best career, he was tied for second as Most Athletic, and more.
Official news release for Bob Beyer joining the Thunder coaching staff: “Beyer joins Billy Donovan’s staff after spending the past four seasons with the Detroit Pistons, most recently serving as associate head coach for the last two seasons. Beyer’s coaching career spans more than 30 years at both the NBA and collegiate level. His NBA coaching experience dates back to the 2003-04 season where he first served as an assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors. Beyer later spent 2007-12 on Stan Van Gundy’s Orlando Magic staff, where he helped lead the team to a 259-135 (.657) record and five straight postseason appearances, including a spot in the 2009 NBA Finals. Prior to joining the NBA ranks, Beyer’s collegiate experience was highlighted by a stint at Texas Tech University under Bob Knight from 2001-03 and as head coach at Siena from 1994-97.”
Abhinav Kini (Intnl Business Times) on Paul George’s superteam comments: “No team has won a title where one single guy was the lone star and it was their team. It’s not that era,” George said, as per the Washington Post. “I’m not sure how the veterans, the legends, don’t understand that part. It’s a different game now. For those guys to chime in and say we’re not built the same … I never understood that because who would we be fooling if we went out alone and tried to go up against the Warriors?”… “The best guy in our league right now couldn’t do it. [LeBron James] got swept [in the 2018 Finals]. So that just goes to show you at this point what it takes to win. Because you need guys that are alike talent-wise and skill-set-wise to win championships.”
Jordan Brenner (Cleaning The Glass – Insider) on Melo’s move to Houston: “So Houston has a square peg/round hole issue, one that is exacerbated by the fact that Anthony is 34 years old. There has been talk of rekindling the mythical “Olympic Melo,” but that player was younger, worked against a lower level of competition and wasn’t always great: While Anthony hit 54% of his shots in the 2012 Olympics, he made just 39% in 2016. Add it all up and you see why so many decision-makers are shaking their heads about the move. “I don’t know what type of environment or system he can play well in and help a team win at this stage of his career,” says a second East exec. “I think he would have to be really humbled to accept the role he could really help a team in, which is to come off the bench, play against backup fours and be a second option off the bench. But when you have a player thinking he’s one thing and everyone else seeing another, it’s a recipe for what happened in OKC.”
Chase Hughes (NBC Sports) on the Thunder having the best offseason among all Northwest Division teams: “A. GM Sam Presti deserves high praise for another strong offseason. Most of the acclaim comes from the Thunder re-signing Paul George despite the assumption of many he would leave in free agency. But OKC also snagged Noel on a cheap deal, adding more athleticism and depth behind center Steven Adams. And they got Schroeder back in the deal for Anthony when they could have shed his salary for nothing in return. They also added three second-round picks, including Diallo who looked good in the Summer League. It’s hard to imagine the Thunder doing better than they did, given the financial resources they were working with.”
Adam Fromal (B/R) lists the Ibaka/Oladipo trade among the most one-sided deals of the last five years: “This is a confusing trade because of what’s happened to each and every player since they left the organizations to which they were traded in June of 2016. Serge Ibaka was a horrid fit with the Orlando Magic and was shopped to the Toronto Raptors mere months later, bringing back only the disappointing Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round pick that became Anzejs Pasecniks. Ersan Ilyasova left the Oklahoma City Thunder in another trade after only three games played, and the Victor Oladipo/Domantas Sabonis combination disappointed before they were parlayed into Paul George the next offseason. Because of the George addition (and the fact the organization just re-signed him rather than watching him flee to Los Angeles), it’s pretty obvious who won this swap. But we’re not accounting for those secondary moves in the objective analysis, hence the placement among the honorable mentions.”
Hamish McNeilly (Stuff NZ) on Steven Adams’ tricky on-court use of his ponytail: “The NBA star has revealed he needs it for his pony-tail tactic: Flicking his “gross”, sweat-soaked, hair at defenders during games. Adams’ story provoked laughter from the children attending a media briefing for Dunedin’s first Steven Adams camp on Wednesday morning. One had asked Adams how sweaty his hair got during NBA games. The Oklahoma City Thunder player confirmed it got very sweaty and “it is real gross.” However, when it was tied in a ponytail he used it to his own advantage, flicking the sweat-soaked hair at defenders. “It whips them in the eye and they get really mad,” he said.”
Around the League: How OCD almost ended one player’s career…. Kenneth Faried was arrested for possession of marijuana…. Remembering the greatness of Dirk Nowitzki…. LeBron, KD, and Kawhi worked out together in LA yesterday…. NBA dreams are still alive in Seattle…. The Bucks have the most impressive arena in the league…. NBA 2K19’s MyCareer mode is getting a facelift.