Fred Katz (Norman Transcript) says the Thunder could end up with three of the league’s best defenders: “It’s rare that three teammates make the All-Defensive Team in the same season. The most recent trio to do it was Ben Wallace, Tayshaun Prince and Chauncey Billups of the 2005-06 Detroit Pistons. What could help the Thunder, though, is that the rest of the league is going right for them, too. Many of the usual All-Defensive candidates around the NBA have had some unfortunate luck.”
Brett Dawson (NewsOK) says defense is limiting Alex Abrines’ effectiveness: “Abrines has remained a steady shooter for the Thunder, but his defensive deficiencies have become more apparent, to the point that it’s becoming difficult for coach Billy Donovan to keep him on the floor. In four of the past six games, Abrines has played 10 or fewer minutes.”
Erik Horne (NewsOK) looks at the year that was for Russell Westbrook: “Before his nine 3-point attempts against Milwaukee with George injured, Westbrook had averaged 1.9 per game in his last seven. The Thunder went 6-1 and Westbrook shot 55.5 percent from the field. “Russell was the MVP last year and he’s having to play different,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “Carmelo, an incredible scorer and an elite player in this league for a long time, he’s had to change. Same thing for Paul, Patrick Patterson or any of these guys. Everybody’s had to change a little bit for the betterment of the team.”
Don’t forget to vote for all your favorite Thunder players for the All-Star game. Vote via Twitter and NBA.com.