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Tag Archives: Daily Links

1/3 Daily Links

A new year, and new links.  That’s called symmetry, baby.

What the pros are saying:

What I’m saying:

  • In re: the whole Westbrook kerfluffle (kerfuffle if you’re Scottish) – meh.  Seriously, meh.  Players do that kind of crap all the time; they care way more about statistics than we the viewers think they should, even though we too care way more about their statistics than we ought to, say, in comparison to our monthly credit card statement balance, for example.  Players chase personal milestones all the time, and we applaud them for it.  How many of us were excited about Durant going for 50 in the win against the Nuggets on Christmas Day?At the end of the day, I imagine the conversation between Coach Brooks and Westbrook went something like this:

    Brooks: “When you do stuff like that, it means you’re loosing focus on what we’re really trying to do here.”

    Russ: “Yeah coach, you’re right.  Point taken.  See you at practice.”

    End of story. Right?

12/31 Daily Links

New Year’s Eve.  You know what that means.  Dick Clark, Ryan Seacrest, and the Thunder drop tonight.

What the pros are saying:

12/30 Daily Links

Strong win last night; let’s hope they make it two in a row tomorrow.

What the pros are saying:

What I’m saying:

  • Shoals makes an astute observation about the place that Durant finds himself within.  Westbrook has and will carry the load at times; that’s what we’ve learned about him this year.  He can elevate his offense when it is needed.  What we have also learned is that there have only been two point men in the last 10 years that can be the center of an offense and see it thrive: pre-injury Chris Paul, and Jason Kidd.  For everyone else, it becomes a game of tug of war – the PG’s offense at the expense of others.
  • I enjoyed the piece on Harden, and I like that he’s generating some notice around the league on something other than his Leonidas beard.  It seems trivial now, but I think that The Dunk signaled a change in him.  It was kind of like the first time Paul Millsap figured out that he was good at 3-pointers, or when Joey Chestnut realized he was awesome at eating things.  Harden figured out he liked it, and wanted some more of that sweet, sweet action.  Combine that with a now very solid starter-reserve rotation, where guys are getting used to other guys, and it seems like Harden now understands what his team needs from him.

12/29 Daily Links

Rebound game tonight.  Let’s see how things shake out.

What the pros are saying:

What I’m saying:

  • It is impressive that the entire Thunder team has raised its collective free throw shooting percentage, and as the SI article attests, is a huge reason why they have a winning record now.  Equally important, I think it underscores the fact that the team is willing to be coachable. They listen to what their Coach has to say about things, and then have the desire to implement it.  It tells me that the odds are good that they will do the same in other areas as well.
  • Be sure to check out that SBNation link.  It gives you a very good graphical representation of which teams that struggle have youth to blame, and therefore can have a bit of optimism for the future.  Granted, if you ran this chart every year you’d probably find the same teams in the same quadrants. Why?  Because they keep drafting high, which keeps putting young players on their bench.  It also goes to show how much of an anomaly the Thunder team is, because they’re younger than the youngest team on that chart (Wolves) and yet they’re right in the midst of fighting to host a playoff series at home.  They’ve done very well, but this chart helps us to keep our expectations.  The chart also tells us exactly where teams don’t want to be – right in the middle, where the players are old and not quite good enough to make the playoffs.  Older players are more likely to have longer contracts, which means the team is locked into their current state for a longer period of time and with little reason to hope for anything other than a lottery pick.  Which would, of course, make them younger and worse.  Quite the pickle.

12/28 Daily Links

While the Thunder lick their wounds, let’s take a walk around the league to see what people are saying.

What the pros are saying:

“Dallas is No. 1, and OKC is a close second as far as the best fans in the NBA. It’s unbelievable. They’re here early. They stay late. They’re cheering. They’re just unbelievable. And it’s great to know that in a small market like this you have die-hard fans. They’re some of the best.” – Jason Terry

 

12/27 Daily Links

Much of the northeastern US is shut down from the snow storm last evening.  Which means it is a great time to read about the Thunder.

“You don’t have an answer for somebody shooting the ball 6 feet behind the (3-point) line.” – Kenyon Martin

What the pros are saying:

What I’m saying:

  • The Mavs are a formidable foe, but I’m more inclined to think that the Jazz are a more natural rival for the Thunder right now.  They’re within the conference so we’re more likely to get more classic games.  The Mavs are also much older as a team, so I would see them more as a benchmark or hurdle that the Thunder need to strive toward in order to become relevant in the post-season.

12/25 Daily Links

Soli Deo Gloria.  I hope you are enjoying this wonderful Christmas day.

What the pros are saying:

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12/22 Daily Links

Have you ever wondered what a Knickerbocker is? Hmmm… me neither.

What the pros are saying:

12/21 Daily Links

It’s cold outside.  Take it away, Dean.

What the pros are saying:

What I’m saying:

  • Mayberry’s assessment of Durant is sound.  I was thinking the same thing as Durant played noticeably better in the 4th quarter of the Suns game.  For the first time this season, he looked like he had some hop in his step and was able to get to open spaces and elevate much better.  He hit what I call “4th quarter shots” (it’s trademarked, don’t steal it).  When the Thunder absolutely had to score, Durant was knocking it down.  Sadly, it was his desire to do something he can’t do; that is, take a man off the dribble 30 feet away from the rim, that contributed to the Thunder coming up just short.I like how Durant went back to his personal drawing board to take a look at his mechanics, working to correct what is wrong.  He isn’t going to turn into Kobe overnight, but it is the necessary kind of self-criticism that allows players to get better.
  • I think Van Gundy is right; the promise of a 60 win season was always out of the realm of possibility.  If the Thunder played in the Eastern Conference I’d have given it more credence, but in the West, where they would have to contend with the likes of the Lakers, Mavs, Spurs, Jazz, and other above-average teams, only losing 22 times was a bit of a pipe dream.  Keep in mind two that last year’s champs only won 57 games in the regular season, and the team they beat won 50.
  • Defense, defense, defense.

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12/20 Daily Links

Lick your wounds, hope springs eternal as the Bobcats are up on the docket this Tuesday.

What the pros are saying:

What I’m saying:

  • I like Collison and what he brings to the game each and every night.  He makes what Bill Simmons once dubbed “Najera-plays.”  That’s cool.  But quotes like this one below tend to irk me.  I don’t think it services anyone, Collison included, to be recognized the way a junior-high coach props up his own kid.  Maybe it’s just me.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough Nick Collisons tonight” – Coach Brooks

  • I really liked Mayberry’s approach in looking at the way combo-guards are now all the rage.   It is certainly good to have so much young talent in the league, because not only does it make things more interesting now, it elevates the importance of the position for the next 10 years as well, as the collection of young talent matures.  There is something truly different about a pure passing PG in the mode of a John Stockton; the approach to the game is different.  Instead of singular action-reaction plays, they instead set the chess board and wait for specific pieces to move.I agree with Mayberry that the biggest advantage that PG’s have gained is due to the elimination hand-checking, which freed up players in open space.  Almost overnight, the high screen and roll became the de facto staple of any team that had an explosive point man.  However, instead of the day when a Stockton or Isaiah Thomas slid into the opening to shoot the 15 footer, we now have guys like Westbrook and Rose who attack the rim.  At this point in time, I think there are only three guys who could qualify as pure passing PG’s:
    • Jason Kidd
    • Steve Nash
    • Chris Paul