NTTB Rumblings – 30 January 2018

img_4063Tamberlyn Richardson (Thunderous Intentions) on Joel Embiid’s maturation process (after posting a picture of him dunking on Westbrook post-loss): “His peers voted Kristaps Porzingis ahead of him to start in the All-Star Game, so either they feel the unicorn was more deserving, or they take issue with his trolling.  Both players are exceptional, but it’s doubtful a majority of GMs would pick Porzingis before Embiid, unless they think he’d be a better chemistry fit.”

I don’t think LaLa Anthony will be signing a long-term contract in Oklahoma City.

Jamie Cooper (Dime Magazine) interviews Paul George on a wide variety of subjects: “But honestly, he doesn’t take anything. It’s a natural energy that he has. He’s just an energetic guy, from practices to playing games. I knew who he was as a competitor, but he wants to win at all costs, and he goes hard like that every day. So, it’s great to be alongside a guy like that.”

Macklin Stern (Complex) also interviewed George during his new Gatorade Flow ad: “Yeah, absolutely. I had to learn to really play off the ball. I’ve been so accustomed to playing with the ball in my hands and making things happen that now I have to figure out how to be great and productive and efficient without the ball being in my hands. And without having it every possession. Finding ways to help the team win and do whatever it takes to be productive. It’s helped me grow as a player and as a person too, figuring these things out. And having guys to go through that battle with has surely helped me.”

Apparently, people keep tabs on what players eat before they achieve career milestones.

Jonathan Tjarks (The Ringer) on how the Thunder (and Pelicans) will adjust to their recent injuries: “Oklahoma City replaced Roberson in its 122–112 win over Philadelphia on Sunday with rookie Terrance Ferguson, the no. 21 pick in this year’s draft. Ferguson spent his only season after high school in Australia, and he’s still a raw player on both sides of the ball. At 6-foot-7 and 184 pounds, he doesn’t have the frame to deal with bigger wings on defense, and he’s still adjusting his 3-point shot (29.2 percent on 2.1 attempts per game) to the longer NBA line. Ferguson is a placeholder that allows Donovan to keep the rest of his rotation in place, but that may not be sustainable. The Thunder have a net rating of minus-5.4 in the rookie’s 161 minutes with the rest of their starters this season.”

Erik Horne (NewsOK) looks at the options to replace Roberson’s minutes: “Since Dec. 17, the Adams-Anthony-George-Grant-Westbrook lineup has outscored opponents by 18.4 points per 100 possessions, the Thunder’s second-best lineup in net rating (minimum 20 minutes).”

Amos Barshad (NY Times) on Dakari Johnson’s rich family history in Brooklyn: “But since then, with Adams mostly healthy, Johnson has racked up as many D.N.P.s as meaningful minutes. From his seat on the bench, then, he seemingly represents potential yet unfulfilled. But it’s not that straightforward. Johnson comes from a long, boisterous line of activist-minded Brooklyn-bred ballers with nicknames like Slomotion. Behind that line-known rookie bench player is a true family saga – and the fulfilled dreams of generations.”

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