3 min read

Wednesday Bolts – 8.31.16

Wednesday Bolts – 8.31.16

CBS Sports looks at the top rim protectors for each team: “Ibaka is now gone after being traded to the Orlando Magic. That leaves Steven Adams as the main rim protector. He allowed 48.8 percent at the rim last season and Synergy had him at 40.3 percent around the basket. However, his points saved per 36 minutes had him at a minus-0.79, which is quite poor. He had a coming out party during the playoffs and the Thunder are relying on him to protect the paint this season. He should be fine doing it, but there is a bit of a wait-and-see approach with Adams as the main rim protector.”


SLCDunk looks back at the Enes Kanter trade through the eyes of the Tibor Pleiss trade: “Yesterday the Jazz traded away Tibor Pleiss and 2nd round draft picks for Kendall Marshall cap space. Kevin Pelton from ESPN gave this grade to the Utah Jazz for the trade. The timing of this rare summer trade was motivated by Marshall’s $2.05 million salary for this season becoming guaranteed Sept. 2. The Jazz waived him immediately after acquiring him, leaving this as a straight salary dump from their standpoint. Pleiss was a rare misstep in Utah’s scouting. The Jazz got his rights in the Enes Kanter deal, then signed Pleiss to a three-year, $9 million deal last summer with the first two seasons guaranteed. Pleiss does seem like the rare misstep by the Utah Jazz. If you look at the Utah Jazz’s past 3 years it feels like they should be allowed one. They have found Gobert, Hood, Lyles, Exum, and Neto with almost surgical precision. Sooner or later it isn’t going to work out. Tibor was that guy. This brings us back to the Kanter trade.”

Cam Payne giving back to his community (and, hey!, no boot).

Fred Katz on the importance of Ersan Ilyasova: “For the sake of argument, let’s eliminate whether you believe if Kanter or Ilyasova is the better player. As much as that topic may be relevant to other conversations, it isn’t pertinent to this one. Lineup success isn’t just about overarching talent. It’s more about fit, making sure that each piece complements the next. And even if the pairing worked well against the Spurs in a memorable postseason series win this past spring, Kanter and starting center Steven Adams don’t mesh as well together night in and night out as they do against specific matchups. That holds especially true inside the starting lineup the Thunder are likely to throw out there this year. Why? The Thunder are lacking shooting. And Kanter won’t help with that. But Ilyasova, a 37 percent career 3-point shooter, could.”

Former Thunder player DeAndre Liggins’ team won the USA 3×3 national championship: “It has been a strong couple of months for former Kentucky Wildcat DeAndre Liggins. After finishing another strong season in the NBA’s Developmental League, earning his second Defensive Player of the Year award, Liggins had a strong showing with the Cleveland Cavaliers summer league team and eventually signed a multiyear contract with the defending NBA champions. Over the weekend, his team, 3 Ball Premier, won the USA Basketball 3×3 national championship. Liggins’ teammates were Myke Henry, Stefhon Hannah, and Alfonzo McKinnie, and they went undefeated at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.”

Serge Ibaka on his trade to Orlando and life after the trade: “Still, I assumed the rumors were just, well, rumors. We live with these kinds of things all the time, and there are always rumblings around draft time, so I was confident that this was nothing of substance. I was so confident, in fact, that I decided to turn my phone off, and after dinner went straight back to the hotel to go to sleep. I slept well that night, too. When I woke up that Friday, I checked my phone and saw that I had missed calls from my agent, manager, and dad. That’s when I knew that the rumors must have been true, and that my time in Oklahoma City had come to an end. I called my manager, who asked me to meet him in the hotel lobby. There he told me that I had been traded to the Magic.”

HoopsHabit grades the Joffrey Lauvergne trade: “Considering how crowded Denver’s frontcourt was, a Joffrey Lauvergne trade wasn’t particularly surprising. What was unexpected, however, was the Thunder being the team on the receiving end, especially since their frontcourt is similarly log-jammed. Even after the draft-day Serge Ibaka trade, OKC still sported Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, Ersan Ilyasova, Mitch McGary, Nick Collison, and rookie Domantas Sabonis in the frontcourt – not to mention Andre Roberson and Josh Huestis who can play the 4 in small-ball lineups. Adding Lauvergne to that mix not only stuffs one more sardine into the can, but it also puts OKC at 16 guaranteed contracts.”