Great start to the season. Let’s keep it rolling.
Royce Young (ESPN) says Carmelo Anthony is ready to move on from the Knicks after his Thunder debut: “I was actually surprised the first shot was that wide open,” Anthony said. “Just happy it went in, got that first shot out of the way and was able to focus on the rest of the game.” Then he missed his next seven shots. But like the rest of the Thunder, it was a slow burn as Anthony revved up in the second quarter and into the third, scoring 22 on 8-of-20 shooting in a 105-84 win over the New York Knicks on opening night.”
Ben Rohrbach (Yahoo) looks at Russell Westbrook debuting with what else? A triple double: “Following an MVP campaign in which he set the record for triple-doubles and became the second player to average one for a full season, Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook began 2017-18 with another one, collecting 21 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds in a 105-84 victory against the Knicks.”
Brett Dawson (NewsOK) on Enes Kanter’s return to OKC: “Kanter got a long, loud ovation when he was announced among the Knicks starters. And he didn’t get the hard elbow he’d been promised from Adams, his former teammate and Stache Bro. “He was just kind pushing me and elbowing me a little,” Kanter said. “It wasn’t really nothing hard.”
Berry Tramel (NewsOK) on if Westbrook can lead the league in assists this season: “Could the Thunder buy itself insurance against any kind of disconnect by telling Westbrook to lead the league in assists? Why not? Westbrook is a why-not kind of guy, perhaps you’ve heard, and any hint of Westbrook not being able to accomplish some achievement is usually followed by Westbrook scaling that exact mountain. Can’t be an NBA point guard? Can’t lead the league in scoring? Can’t average a triple double? Can’t possibly stay in Oklahoma City without Kevin Durant? Westbrook is East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’. He’s going to do what they said can’t be done.”
It’s GameDay. Finally!
Royce Young (ESPN) on Paul George having to re-live his own gruesome injury after the Hayward broken ankle: “If there’s one player who understands what Gordon Hayward is going through, it’s Paul George. The Oklahoma City Thunder star said seeing Hayward’s devastating injury Tuesday night made him “nauseous.”
Marc Stein (New York Times) on who really convinced Carmelo Anthony to accept OKC as a destination: “My son said he wanted me to play for O.K.C.,” Anthony said. “Even before O.K.C. was in the picture.’’ Anthony proudly told that story on Tuesday afternoon after practice, lounging on a comfortable courtside bench while watching his son, Kiyan Carmelo Anthony, who is 10, work on his one-on-one moves against some Thunder staffers and, for a few minutes, Westbrook himself.”
Caroline Vandergriff (FoxNews25) on the Thunder opening up the Thunder experience to sensory-sensitive fans: “The atmosphere inside Chesapeake Arena is electric when the Thunder hits the court, but sometimes that energy can be overwhelming for fans living with autism, PTSD, Parkinson’s, or early onset dementia. “Whether it’s kids or adults who may be challenged by the noise or the commotion, there are opportunities and solutions to provide a better experience for those fans,” said Brian Byrnes, senior vice president of sales & marketing for the Thunder.” Continue reading Daily Thunder Rumblings – 19 Oct 2017
Happy Thunder’s Eve. Prayers out to Gordon Hayward. Wishing a speedy recovery for him.
Royce Young (ESPN) on recent 2-way contract recipient P.J. Dozier showing up to his first Thunder practice wearing a familiar jersey number: “It was an unusual sight walking into the Oklahoma City Thunder’s practice facility Tuesday and seeing No. 35 on the wing, attempting 3-pointers with assistant coach Vin Bhavnani. No, Kevin Durant was not visiting his old stomping grounds. It was the Thunder’s newest signing, undrafted rookie P.J. Dozier, who signed to a two-way contract Tuesday.”
Tony Heim (Thunderous Intentions) on Billy Donovan figuring out the rotation through a hypothetical conversation with Sam Presti: “This season is different though Billy. We can’t be a four-seed, we can’t play Golden State in the second round. We need to make the Conference Finals to convince PG and Melo to stay. That’s why I brought you in here today.” Continue reading Daily Thunder Rumblings – 18 Oct 2017
Igor Sopar (Clutch Points) says the Thunder got more likable this offseason: “That exact win or bust situation will force the fans to continuously tune in and track the progress. If everything clicks, and the Thunder eventually face the Warriors in the latter stages of the postseason, they will get the support of an army of neutral followers, but if any adversity causes the train to derail, there will be loads of those who will wallow in schadenfreude. The Thunder will, without any doubt, be under relentless scrutiny of the public eye over the course of the season, and a good percentage of their matchups in the upcoming season will be a must watch even for the casual fans.”
Fred Katz (Norman Transcript) on embracing iso-ball, injury updates, and roster information: “The Thunder employ three elite isolation players, Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. And though all three like to take opponents one-on-one often, coach Billy Donovan isn’t necessarily trying to stifle their habits. It’s the opposite. He’s trying to use them for good.” Continue reading Daily Thunder Rumblings – 17 Oct 2017
It’s Opening Week. Let’s Go!!!!!
Royce Young (ESPN) explaining why the Thunder could have a crunch-time conundrum on their hands: “With Paul George and Carmelo Anthony now his teammates, that appears likely to change. “Carmelo’s been a closeout guy the places he’s been, the same thing with Paul. But any time you have a team you have to do it by finding the open man,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “Clearly for us last year, somebody creating and generating a shot for himself or someone else, it was Russell. But obviously now with Carmelo and Paul being here, I think it’s about making the right play and right decision.”
The Thunder will be in the midst of a 3-game road trip when Halloween hits, so they decided to celebrate it a little early this year. Continue reading Daily Thunder Rumblings – 16 Oct 2017
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.” Continue reading Daily Thunder Rumblings – 13 Oct 2017
The Thunder waived three players yesterday, as they get their roster number to 15…and then turned around and signed two more players.
This Russell Westbrook/Nikola Jokic thing still has legs: “You mean the Flagrant 2?” said Malone following the game when asked about the incident. “Oh that’s right, they called it a Flagrant 1, I apologize.” “That goes back to last game here, that was sending a message and what I’m proud of with Nikola is that he took it, and it didn’t affect him… I think there was a message trying to be sent, and good for them.”
Erik Horne (NewsOK) says Paul George can be the missing link between the starters and reserves: “In this abbreviated preseason, George has thrived in his role as the Thunder’s second-unit leader, a role the Thunder was missing dearly in a year of Westbrook-centric offense. “He’s a leader, I have to give it to him,” Thunder forward Josh Huestis said of George, who closed out the Nuggets with 12 points in the final 9:11. “We had four young guys out there and we have Paul out there leading us.” Continue reading Daily Thunder Rumblings – 12 Oct 2017
Chris Mannix (The Vertical) on what pushes Paul George: “You need special talent to build championship teams,” George said. “It’s no secret. You feel more comfortable out there when you have guys who can play at the same level, who can play at a high level, play with high energy as well. I’m not going to be perfect every night. But to have a guy that can play at that same level that I can some nights, that I can benefit from, is a luxury. Look at Russ — the guy averaged a triple-double and had a hard time getting [in] the playoffs. It’s just hard to do in this day and age. That was one of the hardest things for me in Indy. I wanted to be there, I wanted to stay there so much. It just didn’t seem like we were going to get to that level, of having high-level talent to win a championship.”
Nick DePaula (ESPN) says Jordan is looking to discontinue Melo’s shoe line: “Jordan Brand is halting the Melo shoe series after 13 models, according to industry sources, making last season’s Melo M13 sneaker the final model of the line. Though he has continued wearing the M13 during Thunder preseason games, it’s expected that Anthony will wear a combination of shoes from the brand this upcoming year, such as the Air Jordan XXXII, custom editions of retro models, and possibly even a remixed version of his very first signature model.” Continue reading Daily Thunder Rumblings – 11 Oct 2017
Matt Moore (CBS Sports) looks at how the new superteams are playing this preseason: “The biggest question for OKC has been whether Anthony will adapt and do the little things, if he’ll move the ball, or if he’ll just be the same player he was in New York. If you want to know what a great version of Anthony looks like, watch him defend in the transition post vs. Anthony Davis, snag the board, run the break and make quick decisions, leading to a secondary assist”
John Schuhmann (NBA.com) looks at one issue that plagued the Thunder last season and why it matters for this year: “The Thunder’s no-Westbrook issues weren’t quite as dramatic in the regular season, but they were 12.2 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor (plus-3.3) than with him off the floor (minus-8.9). That was the seventh biggest on-off NetRtg differential in the league and the Thunder lost eight regular-season games in which Westbrook had a positive plus-minus. As was the case in the playoffs, Westbrook and Adams usually sat at the same time.” Continue reading Daily Thunder Rumblings – 10 Oct 2017
Royce Young (ESPN) recaps the surprisingly close game between the Thunder and Melbourne United: “Their aggressiveness probably at times took us out of some rhythm and flow, which was good,” Billy Donovan said, “and us having to work through that was really important.” It has been a mild theme thus far in preseason as they work in two star pieces to play alongside Westbrook, who set a usage rate record last season en route to winning MVP. It’s also a bit of a touchy topic for Westbrook, as he tried to get in front of any conversation surrounding on-court chemistry issues or ragged offense on Saturday.”
Nick Metallinos (ESPN) looks at one of the players that impressed from Melbourne United: “I love talk like that,” he said. “We were always the underdog, we knew that coming in. They didn’t scout us, they didn’t know nothin’ about us, they didn’t respect us. We knew that and we made them respect us tonight.” Defensively Ware was tasked with the job of containing the explosive Westbrook, and played him close all game. Despite giving up five inches and about 25 pounds to the Oklahoma guard, Ware forced Westbrook into a couple of early turnovers, pulling the chair on him twice in the first quarter forcing him to fall to the ground.”
Westbrook’s attire after the game may have been a shot at an old teammate. Continue reading Daily Thunder Rumblings – 09 Oct 2017