Happy Friday the 13th, guys!!!
Paul Pierce is now my favoritest retired basketball player:
Tim Cato (SB Nation) on how the team’s culture actually became it’s saving grace: “For the Thunder, this didn’t take years. It took one summer. After Durant’s departure, the Thunder doubled down on Russell Westbrook and let him run rampant for an MVP. It was delightful, but an inevitable first-round defeat followed. They were a team built for two stars in a league that demands several of them, and Westbrook was but one. From atop the franchise, general manager Sam Presti preached patience. “We feel really good about the momentum that’s been created,” Presti said at the Thunder’s exit interviews last May. “We’re trying to do something here that I don’t think there’s a ton of examples of in the NBA.”
Fred Katz (Norman Transcript) on Billy Donovan disagreeing with the Warriors’ assessment of Russell Westbrook: “Three great players on one team means late-game questions from the outside — even if those inquiries are unwarranted. The Oklahoma City Thunder are in that position right now with Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. At some point, they will be in a one-possession game with seconds to go. Someone will have to take the final shot. Who will it be? “Whoever’s open. It’s simple,” Anthony said. “Worry about the play.”
Russell Westbrook is collaborating with TUMI to create a line of luggage: “I’ve very much enjoyed getting to know and work with Russell over the last year — he’s been an incredible supporter of Tumi long before this collaboration ever began, so it’s made the experience in working together that much more enjoyable because he truly understands the product,” says Victor Sanz, Tumi’s creative director. “Russell has been extremely hands-on every step of the way; the respect, professionalism, and kindness that he’s showed towards our entire team has been unparalleled.”
SLAM magazine knows what’s up in regards to their rankings: “I’m just trying to say that despite the fact that the very top of this list might (or might not!) feature a better basketball player, there’s nobody on this list that is more iconic in 2017 than Russell Westbrook. And that should count for more than just something. That should count for everything. There are lots of good basketball players. You love them and think about them and if they’re lucky, you’ll hang onto a few memories and forget the others. But with Russ there’s going to be none of that. You’re going to remember it all.”
Brett Dawson (NewsOK) on Steven Adams’ progressing defensive role: “In the intervening years, the game has changed. The Nuggets run their offense through Nikola Jokic. The Timberwolves have Karl-Anthony Towns slashing to the rim and shooting 3-pointers. As the position has shifted, so has Adams’ role. This season, he’s being given more flexibility than ever to make his own defensive decisions, Thunder coach Billy Donovan said — when to close out on a 3-point shooter, when to stay inside and protect the rim and when to float in help defense to “fill in some gaps.”