On Thursday morning, two-time NBA champion David West announced his retirement from the NBA. West retires from the game as a two-time All Star, with per game averages of 13.6 points and 6.4 rebounds. His ability to step out and hit the mid-range jumper, while also being a banger in the post became the archetype for big men in this pace and space era of today’s NBA.
West will likely be remembered for his time with the Indiana Pacers or the Golden State Warriors. But it’s where he started his career that has the most impact for Oklahomans. While Chris Paul was Oklahoma City’s first superstar, West was OKC’s first cult hero. Take the first eight seasons of Russell Westbrook (the ultimate sidekick) and merge those with the no-nonsense play of Nick Collison, and you had David West to a tee. Continue reading Thank you, David West→
This “superteam” was supposed to be 6-0 and on their way to the first 96-0 (82 + 16 playoff games) record in league history. The Oklahoma City Thunder were supposed to leading the league in Offensive and Defensive Rating. They were supposed to be winning games by at least a margin of 20+ per game and Dakari Johnson should now have six games worth of experience under his belt.
Instead the Thunder find themselves at only 3-3. Chemistry is still an issue as they attempt to assimilate three alpha-dog scorers into a cohesive system. It is no longer just grab the ball and score, as all three have been used to throughout their careers. Now, it’s run the offense until there’s an open shot and if nothing develops, then revert back to your natural instinct of isolation dominance. All the while, there are two other players out there on the floor that can be involved in the offense also.
It’s going to take some time. We can look back at all the other recent iterations of super teams and see that there were adjustment periods for all of them. Some of those teams adjusted quickly, like the Warriors of last year and the Celtics of 2007-08. Others took at least a season to find themselves, like the 2010-11 Miami Heat. But they all eventually found success. Continue reading The Week That Was: 23-29 October 2017→
Royce Young (ESPN) on Paul George’s struggles against his former team: “George then fouled out with 6:15 left in the fourth, with only 10 points on 4 of 8 shooting in 19 minutes. “That hasn’t happened often in my career,” George said of winning the game despite his struggles. “Fortunate to have those guys carry me. They knew how big this game was for me, and they went out and got it for me.”
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Line: OKC -14.5 | O/U – 218
I’ve never been a huge fan of moral victories. It feels like a gateway to developing a losing mentality. The great, “Oh, we lost, but…” A team says that enough times and failure becomes an acceptable habit. “Missed it by this much” becomes the norm.
Sunday’s loss felt different, though. Yes, it was definitely a moral victory, which means it was a loss. But it felt like the team discovered something about itself in that fourth quarter (almost) comeback. Russell Westbrook, who has had to adjust on the fly to having two scoring wings next to him, reverted back to what felt natural to him. And it worked. Shots fell. The team got stops. And what started as a 13-point deficit heading into the quarter turned into a one point lead with 5 seconds left. Of course, we all know what transpired after that as Andrew Wiggins and the three referees made sure Minnesota came out of that game with a victory (shouts out to you, Last 2-Minutes report). Continue reading Pacers vs. Thunder preview (Game 4 of 82)→
Kyle Wagner (FiveThirtyEight) on the Thunder’s sudden inability to rebound: “However, the George and Anthony moves do seem to have had an effect on another piece of the team’s core identity: For the first time in a decade, the Thunder are struggling to rebound. The Thunder have grabbed just 47.5 percent of available rebounds in their first three games — about 6 percentage points lower than last year and 24th in the league. As a team, the Thunder haven’t finished outside the top 10 since they moved to Oklahoma City.”
Paul George talks about his return to Indianapolis: “After repeated first-round playoff exits, George, 27, faced a contract year with idle 42-40 Indiana, and clarified his desire to chase victories elsewhere. And though much hearsay exists concerning where the four-time All Star may land next season, for now, George and reigning-MVP teammate Russell Westbrook look to ascend the Western Conference rankings.”
First off, the timing of the tweet makes it very purposeful. Over four days before the NBA Draft is due to take place gives the Indiana Pacers plenty of time to receive trade offers that have some meat behind them. While many will look at this as a negative move from Paul George’s part, it actually likely helps the Pacers in the long run.
No one in the NBA wants to see a lame duck season from a player or a team. That’s what the 2017-18 season would’ve been like for the Pacers had they allowed George to just go through the motions next season. With this definitive statement from the George camp, both sides can now put into motion the necessary steps to move forward from this break-up. Continue reading Do the Thunder have a chance at acquiring Paul George?→