Let's try to get caught up from the end of last week and the weekend. Due to travel plans I missed most of the action, but by the looks of things, it was more shennanigans and little else.
James Harden cracks the list at #54, impressing the graders with his developing all-around game that has few weaknesses. While I personally would have swapped him in this ranking with Serge Ibaka, who came in at #67, I think that Harden's stellar playoff run, versus Ibaka's uneven post-season play, was a deciding factor. Even so, while Harden's skills are not just nice, but nice, it was his composure under pressure in late games situation that impressed me most, and what should give Thunder fans reason for big expectations in the future.
Prada continues his excellent playoff restrospective, this time looking back at the 1993 Supersonics team Like the current version of the Thunder, they featured a wealth of very young talent that was learning how good they could be.
Dirk Nowitzki tops the list, and what is amazing is, if you had predicted that ranking 13 years ago you would have been laughed out of the gym. It is no joke however; Dirk has built himself into a practically automatic post-player. I would be thrilled to see Kevin Durant start to study both Dirk's as well as Carmelo Anthony's games in order to round out Durant as a complete offensive force.
Simmons touches on Kevin Durant's net-scorching run in Rucker Park last week. Not only does he highlight the ridiculously long-range shooting of Durant, but also the fans who were in attendance, exuding pure joy to watch such a spectacle.
By this I'm sure the guys mean that international hooptsers like to speak long-winded soliloquies about trade federation embargoes. Anyway, another great nugget in here is the fact that there are a lot of NBA upper-echelon guys who are without a contract.
Rob Mahoney might be the hardest working NBA analyst that you've never heard of. I certainly didn't know who he was until late in the season, when his work started popping up everywhere. He is a strong basketball mind and combines it with solid writing, so give him a listen.
More links after the jump.
Digging into the annals of NBA history, the Sonics are revisited during their last season of basketball relevance in Seattle.
Young takes a stab at potential nicknames for the newly naming rights licensed OKC stadium. Of course my first thought went along the same lines as a commenter who thought it would be downright fantastic if Taco Bell started selling food at a place nicknamed "The Gas Chamber."
James Harden made another appearance in a Drew League game, finishing the night with 37 points and 8 assists. What I like most was the fact that he was ticked off after the game because his missed free throws contributed to his team's loss. Real basketballers care about outcomes, regardless of whether they happen in August or June.
Just like the title says. And I'm sure that if you too thought about it, you could reel off another 70 of your own.
Blott starts a new series and kicks it off examining the history of Dirk Nowitzki. I like this sentence the best:
"Nowitzki joined a terribly run club in 1998 that didn't know the first thing about winning."
I think it is pretty cool that a guy stayed with a franchise long enough to see the opposite diametric of where Dirk began his career.
And as sort of the exact opposite of Durant's jubilant run at Rucker, we have Michael Beasley getting into a fight.
Scoop Jackson takes a look at Durant's personal ethos. It is at the same time the best thing and the worst thing in the world for the lockout situation. It is the best because the NBA needs guys like Kevin who just want to play basketball. It is the worst because players like Durant will probably not invest themselves in the lockout negotiation, and as a result his future career path will be altered.
What is even better than being nicknamed "Chocolate Thunder?" Being given that name by Stevie Wonder. This is why he was given that nickname.