OKC ThunderDome

Beyond…Waaaay Beyond…

11/22 Daily Links

There is seldom rest for the weary.  After two mettle-testing wins against the Celtics and Bucks, where the Thunder held them to 89 and 81 (12 and 17 points below the Thunder’s “points allowed” average) they get what hopes to be an easier test tonight against the Timberwolves.  Here is the weekend roundup of links:

What the pros are saying:

What I’m saying:

  • Mayberry puts a lot of emphasis on Harden’s uncertainty in shooting the basketball.  I think that observation has a lot of merit, but speaks to the deeper issue of Harden not really knowing where he fits into the Thunder’s offensive scheme.  Most bench players have specific roles – Maynor distributes the ball, White comes in for rebounds and post play, etc.  But Harden doesn’t really fit into that mold.  He’s not a great ball handler or pure shooter, so he can’t come in to play the point or shoot spot-up shots, all though he can offer those things in limited quantities.When he was thrust into the starting spot due to Durant’s injury, he didn’t seem to want to believe that he could be a primary scoring option, which probably ended up costing him at least four to six more shot attempts.   He is humble and deferential, and those are good things.  However, Coach Brooks can only tell him so many times to attack the basket before it stops being lack of mandate and more of a confidence issue.Harden has a quirky offensive  game, kind of like Monte Ellis of the Warriors.  Unlike Ellis though, he doesn’t have the inherent self-confidence.  I was hoping that the starting role would begin to infuse that, and it seems to have begun to take effect.  The next step is for his teammates to show confidence and deference to his abilities.  I think the team wants him to be a primary scoring threat for the 2nd team; these early steps will hopefully get him there.
  • Nice little note on Westbrook’s post-up game in the last two games.  He is good at keeping the defender on his hip and then pivoting into the lane, where he can use his vertical explosiveness.  This ability is definitely something to keep in his back pocket, because it could pay huge dividends in the playoffs, especially when facing smaller PG’s.
    • Now, if only Durant would take the hint on how to play that way…
  • Re: the free throw disparity between Rose and Westbrook; a few possible differences in their games.
    • Rose attempts six more FG’s per game than Westbrook – 20 to 14.
    • Rose attempts almost four 3-pointers per game, versus Westbrook’s slightly more than one per.
    • Westbrook averages almost two more rebounds per game.
      Conclusion?  Inconclusive.  But if I had to take a stab at it, I’d conjecture that it might have to do with the fact that Westbrook is more comfortable playing inside the paint and is less likely to settle for long distance shots.  Incrementally, Rose has to spend a lot more energy than the super-efficient Westbrook to generate just slightly more point production.  Or it could just be that Westbrook knows how to draw fouls.

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