We've finally made it to the final days before the season begins. At last.
Daily Thunder has a great post today on the relationship between Clay Bennett and OKC.
Still, the Thunder were competitive in the NBA after only half of the inaugural season, and legitimate title contenders in only the third season in OKC. That remains the case, and will remain the case as long as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are on the team. From a fan's perspective, there's hardly any more than you can ask for. And from a voter's perspective, with some imported tax dollars undoubtedly rolling in and Oklahoma City's increased national and international profile, it's hard to argue that there's at least some true and tangible benefit for having the team in town.
Text Messages to Russell Westbrook. I have to say, I don't quite get the allure of this concept, but there you go.
Have you ever heard of the Green Zone? No? The Thunder practically live in it so it's time to get caught up.
For 25 pages, using anecdotes, quotes and historical examples, Simmons presents the idea that chemistry, sacrifice and a strict team-oriented mindset often matter more than talent-collection and star power to championship teams.
"We measure players by numbers, only the playoffs roll around and teams that play together, kill themselves defensively, sacrifice personal success and ignore statistics invariably win the title," Simmons writes on Page 46.
"Once, man flesh was sewn shut with four-ought nylon suture, and the mouths of the storm gods were sewn shut as well."
It is funny to think it these days, but consider that Stephen Curry, once upon a time, could have been a member of the Thunder. In 2009, the Thunder took James Harden at #3 and the Warriors took Curry at #7. Wages of Wins looks at Curry's career so far and notes:
Already Curry has had one of the top 25 three point shooting careers ever, and he’s only played a little over three seasons worth of games. Everyone ahead of him has played two to five times as many games!
Ben Golliver highlights LeBron James' new Nike spot, featuring him working out in various spots around Miami as a host of kids and adults chase him around. It seems to me like Nike is finally figuring out what makes LeBron resonate - it isn't so much that he's a larger than life character, but that he enjoys being a teammate, and this type of commercial encapsulates it.
A season preview, by the NY Times. Well, there you go. Where have you gone, Mr. Rob Mahoney?
Oh, here he is. Mahoney runs down 20 predictions for the season:
Kevin Durant will average more than six assists per game.
This is the culmination of a trend that goes well beyond Russell Westbrook's absence. Durant took a playmaking leap last season, a multifaceted evolution of his ball handling and court awareness that yielded a career-high 4.6 assists. In the postseason, he reached 6.3 assists with Westbrook sidelined, setting the bar for what we can expect this season.
Finally, Uncle Drew, Chapter 3. I know it's staged (Pepsi! The choice of a new generation!), but it's still pretty cool.