It's here, guys. The 2013-2014 NBA season is finally here. There's no more previews, no more predictions, it's all decided on the court. The Thunder don't tip-off until Wednesday, but there's some interesting games on ESPN for all of us tonight. But before that, here are some links for you guys and Happy NBA Day!
It wouldn't be the start of an Oklahoma City Thunder season without talking about the infamous James Harden trade, right? This, however, has a ton of good points, many of which push back at the commonly accepted narrative of how OKC 'blew it.' Here's what Darnell Mayberry had to say:
What happened next was Harden outgrew Oklahoma City. He wanted to be the head honcho. Despite having never proved himself capable of being anything more than a sensational sixth man, Harden had his heart set on being the star and being paid accordingly, as evidenced by his refusal to accept an offer close to a max contract.
Daily Thunder reports that Kevin Durant is ready to lead. On the subject of patience towards his young teammates:
“We’re not even preaching that to be honest,” Durant said. “I think that’s what everyone on the outside should have with those guys is patience. Just knowing this is their first go-around on this. Jeremy’s first time playing big minutes, Steven, Perry, Reggie — but we know we have patience with them. We know they can play the game of basketball. They do what coach asks them to do. We all know it’s a process.
Durant spent his first six seasons proving he was a stud. Now he wants to be known as simply a champion. The past two seasons showed Durant just how elusive a title can be. In 2012, the Thunder took a 1-0 lead on Miami in the NBA Finals before losing four straight. Last season, the Thunder's playoff run was derailed by a season-ending knee injury to Russell Westbrook.
It's not that those setbacks sparked a heightened sense of urgency for Durant. It's just at this stage in his career, championships are now all that truly matter.
Just like Durant, LeBron James is also on a quest to be an all-time great. He sat down with USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt to talk about his desire to succeed.
James said the fear of failure and drive for success go hand-in-hand "like peanut butter and jelly."
It started with failure, first in Cleveland and then in his first season with Miami. He was bothered by "letting my teammates down and setting a goal and not being able to accomplish it. Because I want to be successful so much, I drive myself almost to insanity because I want to be successful."
Hickory High is back with the spectacularly named "Restaurant at the End of the Universe" roundtable. This is a great question:
Which likely playoff team spontaneously collapses?
It also wouldn't be another NBA season without Shaquille O'Neal talking about NBA Centers and talking down Dwight Howard. Shaq has been on the record saying Brook Lopez is the best center, and that still hasn't changed.
He listed his Top 5 bigs, in order, as Lopez, Roy Hibbert, Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol and DeAndre Jordan, noting that he likes more traditional bigs and not necessarily power forwards playing the center position.
On the criticism that Lopez isn't a very good rebounder, Shaq said, "I didn't rebound well, and nobody gave a fu*k... Reggie Evans, let that motherfu*ker rebound."
Once again, guys. Enjoy tonight's game and the Thunder will be getting started Wednesday night.