4 min read

Wednesday Bolts: 9.12.18

Colton Jones (Amico Hoops) on the Thunder hiring Dave Bliss as an assistant coach: “Former New York Knicks assistant coach Dave Bliss is heading back to Oklahoma City as an assistant coach, according to a report by Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Bliss spent five seasons with the Thunder on coach Scott Brooks’ staff, working as a video analyst and in player development. He joined the Knicks on coach Derek Fisher’s staff in 2015 and worked with the players on the court, aiding in development by facilitating drills and individual instruction, working for three different head coaches.”

Steven Adams comes in at number 38 on Sports Illustrated’s Top 100 players list: “Any attempt to weed out Adams all but fails before it starts. Small ball is no real deterrent. Adams can hold his own on the perimeter to the point that he isn’t easily exploited. Meanwhile, some poor, undersized center is left to contend with one of the strongest players in the league. If Adams can politely nudge opposing centers out of the way when necessary, what hope does a power forward masquerading as a center really have? The real payoff for that strength comes on offense, where the Thunder grabbed 31.6% of their own misses with Adams on the floor last season, per NBA.com. This is an offense unto itself. Adams may not be scoring all that much, but his efforts renew possessions and redeem low shooting percentages. Solvency comes easy when a team is allowed to take a mulligan on nearly a third of its misses, and potentially more when no true center is around to box Adams out. There’s just no working around the fact that Adams is a proper giant. He can wipe out a guard with a screen and bulldoze a big with a roll.”

Reid Forgrave (CBS Sports) puts Adams on his First Team Do-It-All NBA All-Star team: “Adams does the little things as well as any big man in the NBA. Adams, who finished 12th in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season as an anchor of the Thunder’s top-10 defense, had the best season of his career in the counting stats last season, averaging a career-high 13.9 points and 9.0 rebounds. But that’s not his most-telling statistic. Adams led the NBA in box outs and screen assists per game. That’s why Adams earns $25 million a year.”

Jon Hamm (B/R) on if the Thunder can become the West’s 2nd-best team: “Oklahoma City’s two oldest players—Anthony and Nick Collison—moved on over the summer. Thirty-two-year-old Corey Brewer, a productive midseason pickup, was not re-signed. OKC also emptied the end of the bench by shedding projects Josh Huestis and Dakari Johnson and waiving the sunk cost of Kyle Singler. In the process, the Thunder added a few wing prospects. OKC scooped up Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Abdel Nader, who were squeezed out respectively in Philadelphia and Boston, in a pair of trades. A draft-night deal snagged Hamidou Diallo, a 20-year-old human pogo stick. Korean Basketball League MVP Deonte Burton, fresh off an impressive summer league stint, is on a two-way contract. All will compete with Ferguson and Abrines for minutes. Ideally, at least one of the added wings will emerge as a contributor. With fewer true big men on the roster, Donovan can create lineups with George at power forward. But that’s all a theory at the moment. OKC is gambling on some emergence from this unproven group.”

The Thunder has announced Media Day and Training Camp dates: “The Oklahoma City Thunder will hold its annual media day on Monday, Sept. 24 at Chesapeake Energy Arena prior to the start of of U.S. Cellular Thunder Training Camp, the team announced today. All Thunder players and Head Coach Billy Donovan will be available for interviews and photo availability from 12:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. A live broadcast of Media Day will be available via okcthunder.com and the Thunder Mobile App. It will feature Michael Cage, Lesley McCaslin and the rest of the Thunder broadcast team.  U.S. Cellular Thunder Training Camp will be held at the INTEGRIS Thunder Development Center beginning Tuesday, Sept. 25.”

Alonzo Warond (Fadeaway World) picks Russ & PG13 as the third-best duo for the 2018-19 season: “We were all pretty shocked and excited to watch Paul George come back for the Oklahoma City Thunder to play another season next to Russell Westbrook, as the duo was really fun to watch all year long. George is the shooter the Thunder needs next to a driver as Westbrook, while his outstanding defense in the wings really helped hide some of the Brodie’s defensive flaws. Also, Russ has the clutchness PG has lacked throughout his entire career, so they complement each other pretty well.”

Rob Wolkenbrod (Forbes) on Josh Huestis fighting for a roster spot in San Antonio: “Huestis spent the past three seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but did not have the fourth year of his rookie-scale deal picked up. He provided quality perimeter defense and almost nothing offensively, headlined by a 33 percent clip from the field in 69 games in 2017-18. The Spurs have depth at small forward, with Rudy Gay and Dante Cunningham around. Popovich can work small ball lineups, as well, but the extra body can’t hurt for potential injury situations.”

Around the League: Zach Lowe on the absurdity of the NBA…. Isaiah Thomas says he’s the best PG in the NBA…. Why the NBA needs to integrate relegation…. Three NBA jersey collectors show off their rarest finds…. Danny Green thinks Kawhi Leonard would have a hard time leaving Toronto…. A new play-by-play statistic site worth checking out.