Thunder At A Glance – 13 February 2019

img_4063Erik Horne (NewsOK) looks at the Thunder’s roster options moving forward: “The monetary difference between signing Burton or a free agent on a prorated minimum wouldn’t be inconsequential, especially since the Thunder saved more than $7 million in taxes and salary by trading seldom-used Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to Chicago. But if OKC is getting minimal difference in production between Burton and a veteran, is it worth bringing in a free agent when the Thunder could just play Burton and get him valuable experience?”

Brett Dawson (The Athletic) on how the bond between Russell Westbrook and Paul George has set the tone for the Thunder this season: “It was fitting that George should bury the shot to give Westbrook a record-setting triple-double — and fitting, too, that three minutes later, Westbrook returned the favor, knocking down a 3-pointer that gave George his third career triple-double.”

Dan Devine (The Ringer) on Paul George’s incredible season: “Over the past 20 games, George has averaged 32.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in 37.8 minutes per game; he’s done so while shooting a blistering 45.4 percent from 3-point range on 10.8 attempts a night. To put it another way: Since the start of January, George has produced like 2013-14 MVP-season Kevin Durant and shot like 2015-16 MVP-season Stephen Curry. He has done so while also leading the league in steals, ranking second in deflections and loose balls recovered, and logging the most minutes on a team whose defense has absolutely cratered whenever he’s hit the bench.”

Zach Harper (The Athletic) ranks Oklahoma City 5th on their power rankings for this week: “Paul George is on an insane tear of basketball right now. The other Oklahoma City Thunder star has played absurd basketball the past 11 games. I mean … he’s been spectacular all season long, but it’s on another level the last 11 games (10-1 in those games). During this stretch, George is averaging 35.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 2.5 steals while putting up a true shooting of 67.4 percent. Those numbers almost don’t make sense. Those are rookie mode numbers for NBA 2K MyPlayer. This will get people saying that George should be in the MVP conversation, and yeah, of course he should. He realistically has been in there the majority of this season. His defense has been top notch and his offense is crushing opponents.”

Jason Quick (The Athletic) on Damian Lillard’s current choice for MVP: “Perhaps adding insult to injury: “The Blazers in the summer of 2017 tried to trade for George, offering Indiana the 15th, 20th and 26th picks in the 2017 draft and any player off the roster not named Lillard, McCollum or Nurkic. Instead, Pacers president Kevin Pritchard — the former Blazers general manager — chose Oklahoma City’s offer of Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.”

Victor Mather (New York Times) on the history of triple-double recording: “In those early days, some of the references to triple-double in The Times were in quotes, as if editors were afraid that the new term would pollute the newspaper’s august pages. Eventually the arbiters of style settled on no quotes, and a hyphen in between the two words.”

DJ Siddiqi (CBS Sports) on Michael Jordan’s response to which individual feat between Westbrook and James Harden is more difficult: “But the Charlotte Hornets’ owner said Tuesday — flashing a big grin — that there is one accomplishment tougher than both of those feats: “Which is harder from the player’s standpoint? Six championships, by all means.”

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