Don't look ahead. Timberwolves first.
I accept Tramel's premise, but I think it's a mixed bag. While Chris Paul does cause Russell Westbrook to do some things that are above and outside of Westbrook's game, the upside is that it brings out a greater intensity from Westbrook that does have a positive effect on the team.
Here are a few questions that Presti answered this week. Even in these brief exchanges, you can get a glimpse as to the kind of person he is and the kind of players he values. A choice quote:
"...We're betting the fact that this person, the fiber of this kid, was going to allow him to maximize his potential." - Sam Presti
Mayberry provides a good piece on how rare it is to have a pure shooter on one's team. Even Kevin Durant admits he doesn't qualify for that title.
Don't let the headline fool you; this is an apt media critique on the laurel-resting Rick Reilly.
Coach Brooks ponders how the point guard position has changed since he last played, both physically and mentally.
Here is a good insight as to the value Trevor Ariza brings to his team. He has been doing this for years now, and still he flies under the radar. Along with defense, he also brings a knack for hitting big shots and no ego to the table. Needless to say, he's the kind of guy championship teams always seem to find.
A suggestion for Chris Paul to upgrade his reputation from "shiftless faker" to "unbridled craftsman."
I'm a little late on this one and it is but a small comment, but Zach Lowe at SI has an interesting observation about how the Thunder have been using Durant on offense. He notes that Durant has been playing the role of Ray Allen/Richard Hamilton, running baseline screens back and forth. Since I've been a blogger for three months and consequently am the expert on everything ever, I have to ask...why? Is this really the most efficient way to use Durant on offense? He isn't as quick or nimble as either of those guys. It would be great to see Durant be utilized much the same way that Carmelo Anthony is - in little half-court curls and post up position. It seems like Durant has been consistently fading away from the basket rather than attacking it, and the change has hurt him in these last five games.
Here are some props for the work being done at the D-League level, especially with the Thunder's team, the Tulsa 66ers.
Not looking forward. Not looking forward. Looking forward a little bit.