Ray Allen has a record, the Utah Jazz have their first new coach since the first Bush administration, and hopefully the Thunder will be able to fly under the radar for a few weeks as the Northwestern conference messes sort themselves out.
Mayberry writes an excellent piece on how challenging it can be, both from a player's as well as a coach's standpoint, to manage the team's end of the bench. From a coach like Scott Brooks' standpoint, he has to optimize the effectiveness of the team overall, but still keep guys like Daequan Cook emotionally invested so that if they're called upon, they're ready to go. From a player's standpoint, they have to look for any opportunity that presents itself to showcase their ability to contribute, but not at the expense of the overall team concept.
Royce Young brings what is probably my favorite story of the day so far. We've all thought about it. A few of us have even tried it. I'd be willing to guess nobody's foray into the dark side of sport-watching ended the way his did.
A few more thoughts on some of the bench guys for the Thunder, and how they have continued to play hard in practice. It reminds me of a few years back when Allen Iverson was going through his "Practice?" phase. I remember reading one astute point of view that essentially said that by Iverson blowing off practices, he was essentially depriving his teammates of both playing with him and trying to guard him. In other words, he was missing an opportunity to make his teammates better. This account underscores how imperative it is for every player to be fully invested in the team concept, because the harder guys go at each other in practice, the more prepared they'll be in games.
Here is a breakdown on how each team's remaining games fall out. For the Thunder, they have 28 remaining games, and 16 of them are against teams with losing records. Is a remaining record of 20-8 realistic? I think that is a very makable number.
We highlighted DeAndre Jordan the other day as one of the promising prospects in next year's pending free agency. He is making peanuts now, but with teams such as the Knicks and Nuggets in play, he could see his paycheck expand exponentially. One of the teams that would suit him well is of course the Thunder, due to their young and athletic nucleus and need for a big man.
More links after the jump.
A round-table discussion on whether the Thunder or the Mavericks have a better shot at representing the Western Conference in the finals. Although it's a hard criticism, it is also probably fair. The Thunder are learning to master the regular season; the post-season is a different examination all together.
With Sloan stepping down, the longest tenured coach is the Spurs' Gregg Popovich with 14 seasons under his belt. Number two is a tie between the Celtics' Doc Rivers and the Nuggets' George Karl, each with a mere six. The times they are a'changin.
As the title suggests, an assessment for each team's best shooter from beyond the arc. You might be surprised at who they select for the Thunder.
A very clever choice for executive of the year.
A closer look at Wizards rookie John Wall and where he stands in the history of rookie point guards. The story compares him to Russell Westbrook who, like Wall, struggled with his shooting early on. Westbrook has proven that through hard work, those deficiencies can slowly turn into assets.
TV ratings have shown a 47% year over year increase, a further sign that the Thunder have proven themselves to be increasingly interwoven into the OKC fabric.
"I am ready" - Ty Corbin