Kyle Wagner (FiveThirtyEight) on the effect Andre Roberson’s absence is having on the team: “But the Thunder have yet to capitalize on the additional space available with Roberson out. Westbrook has played well in some ways, creating at James Harden/Chris Paul levels on the pick and roll, and poorly in others, shooting just 43 percent from the field and 18 percent from the three in the games since Roberson’s injury. George has been hot from the three — he’s hit at least five 3-pointers in four consecutive games — and has averaged 29.6 points on a 62 effective field goal percentage through those 10 games. But Anthony has gone absolutely dormant, and both he and Westbrook missed two games to injury.”
Kevin Durant initially had reservations after signing with the Warriors (a little on the NSFW side language-wise): “Take this story about the days after Durant decided to sign with the Warriors, a time when he was feeling the full brunt of the Internet’s fury about his perceived betrayal of Oklahoma. He and Kleiman were in China for a weeklong tour of the country sponsored by Nike Basketball, and the flak he was taking from people in Oklahoma City who had once professed deep affection for him was overwhelming. “To have so many people just say, ‘F$%# you,’ that really does it to you,” Durant tells me, still clearly anguished. “Because I truly had invested everything I had into the people I played for…. And for those people that I know and love and trust to turn their back on me after I was fully invested in them, it was just…more than I could take. I was upset.”
A new week, starting a day later. Short work week. Let’s get it started. Here are the Rumblings.
A look at what Paul George will add to the Thunder via advanced statistics: “Anthony Morrow looks like something of a small sample size outlier — he’s known for his shooting not his driving prowess, and those numbers would likely have reversed if he had played more minutes. Westbrook ranks slightly above average in both areas. Alex Abrines was a solid shooter but didn’t offer much as an off-the-dribble creator. Jerami Grant’s numbers look extremely interesting but, again, small sample size is a concern here — Grant averaged 0.84 points per drive on 155 drives last season after averaging 0.72 points per drive on 523 drives over the previous two seasons. We see the same thing with his catch-and-shoot numbers — 39.4 percent on 109 attempts last year, 29.7 percent on 279 attempts his first two seasons.”
I feel like I’m writing these types of articles at least once a week. Not that I’m complaining. There was once a time when the Oklahoma City Thunder weren’t even mentioned in the same breath when discussing names like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. But the Golden State Warriors have gone all Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on the NBA and flipped things upside down. In order to combat that, the big names of the game are figuring out, in order to compete against the Dubs, they will likely have to join forces together.
Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated is the premier basketball writer of his time. If there is a big story to tell, Jenkins is probably the one telling it. His stories are bits and pieces of not only the player, but also the people around said player. His articles are about as insider as they come; like a literal reality show. Don’t get him confused with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Jenkins isn’t in the business to break news, he’s in it to the tell the story behind the breaking news.
When Jenkins speaks, it’s certainly not off the cuff. There is a lot of contexture behind his statements, especially when he says something that may be considered “breaking news”. He gets an insider’s view into a lot of the players’ lives, and with that, probably a lot of one on one time when the cameras aren’t on. Players tend to relax a little bit when the cameras aren’t focused on them. To say that Jenkins may “know” a player is probably understating it. Continue reading How the Warriors may force LeBron James to Oklahoma City.→