Westbrook in Elite Company

This is kind of where we thought the Thunder season would be heading with dual storylines of Russell Westbrook chasing an MVP, but not sure if his supporting cast would be good enough for the Thunder to get to the 50 win plateau. It will be one of the dominant national storylines every bit as compelling as what the Warriors do this season with the addition of Kevin Durant.

If you’re an NBA junkie it doesn’t get much better. Westbrook’s season could conceivably be historical. Jerry Lucas was a very skilled power forward in the 70’s so that doesn’t translate to the player Russell Westbrook has become. But there are parts of Westbrook which are Kobe, Magic, Michael, and Oscar Robertson.

No doubt this young Thunder team will have pockets of games where they struggle, but the Westbrook storyline of chasing a season of a triple double average and an MVP will be compelling if you love NBA hoops. As Steven Adams and Victor Oladipo go Westbrook’s chances of chasing history should go as well.

Thunder Subdue Lakers, Westbrook Triple Doubles, Thunder Start Season 3-0

With around five minutes left in the fourth period, Nick Young hit a three which brought the Lakers to within 95-91. Not long after the Young basket, Russell Westbrook completely took over the next three minutes or so in a display of basketball which has him No. 1 on my MVP list one week into this young regular season. Kawhi Leonard would be my No. 2 and LeBron would be my No. 3.

Back to the Laker game. After Westbrook flexed his muscles in those ‘pivotal’ minutes the final score read OKC Thunder 113-LA Lakers 96. You’d have to live in Oklahoma to know the exhilaration this first week of the season has provided. It’s been a special week for a city which had a gut punch of a year in 2016 on multiple fronts.

After Kevin Durant’s weak dick exit memo on the Players’ Tribune on July 4th, not many, including me, thought we’d have an opportunity to be a part of something historically special like this. Many, again myself included, were working the Westbrook to Boston trade for Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, and two first round picks. Thank god, Sam Presti and Russell Westbrook saw things in a different light.

What Oklahoma City is experiencing instead is perhaps history in the making as Russell Westbrook chases an NBA regular season MVP. In the history of the NBA–only three other players have started a season with two triple doubles in their first three games. They would be Magic Johnson, Jerry Lucas, and Oscar Robertson. I’m fairly certain the millennials won’t know who Jerry Lucas was or that he played for the NY Knicks so I’ll try and find a youtube suitable for the Daily Thunder youngsters/millenials.

LeBron James has 43 career triple doubles, Russell Westbrook now has 39. I wonder if he’ll demand Presti trade him to the Warriors at the deadline so he can win a ring. Just kidding…kind of.

In essence, Westbrook is one assist away in the Philly game from triple doubling all three games this week. What we’ve seen in each game was a slightly different nuance of Westbrook. Against Phoenix–it was pure Kobe audacity with 51 points on 44 shots. Tonight–it was Westbrook’s most efficient game of the season to date. 33-12-16 with an 11-21 night from the field. It was Westbrook at his best as the Thunder went from 13 assists in the Phoenix game to 29 helpers versus the Lakers tonight. The ball moved, it didn’t stick so much. Simple game. Jerry West and Kevin Durant would be proud.

My three stars would be 1 Westbrook, 2 Steven Adams, 3 tie Victor Oladipo and Enes Kanter.

Adams double doubled with 14 and 12. Kanter scored 16 points with an efficient 8-11 shooting night. Oladipo hit the 20 point plateau for the second straight game while continuing to show glimpses of what Thunder Nation hopes will come in more consistent incremental intervals as this season moves along.

So here the Thunder stand 3-0 one week into a young 82 game marathon of a season. None of the three wins came against a team which will be playing an 83rd game this basketball season, but it matters none. Because for the first time since July 4th there’s a sense of hope in the streets of Oklahoma City. A sense of renewed love for our Thunder. A sense of hope the basketball gods are going to right the crime which transpired on July 4th. Heck…I might even hang my Thunder flag out of my truck window this week. Seriously.

The schedule gets tougher in a big way this week with a road back to back against the Clippers and Durant’s Warriors. Two very tough games. Then a home Saturday game against the Timberwolves.

But there’s hope, love, and a sense of karma boomerang. The Thunder are still relevant and it’s all because of Russell Westbrook.

For the Daily Thunder millennials

Luke Walton Radio Interview — June 2016

The Lakers are in town tonight with another head coach. Former Golden State assistant Luke Walton now has the task of rebuilding the Lakers to some level of respectability. It’s always about players. First rule of coaching…Players Make the Coach. Lakers should once again finish near the bottom of the West and will stay there until they bring in a free agent like say Russell Westbrook who can change the current culture of losing.

But then again all the talking heads were sure Durant and Westbrook were going to the Lakers together after this season–and of course we all saw how that went. Duke rookie Brandon Ingram should be fun to watch along with some other young Lakers. OKC isn’t good enough to take anything for granted so it should be a fun game as most of the games should be this season.

Why is Kevin Durant Acting Like Such a Phony Douchebag?

What’s going on with this person? He made his decision. He left. It’s the weakest thing I’ve seen in any of the four major sports from a superstar in my lifetime. Russell Westbrook has moved on. Sam Presti has moved on. Clay Bennett has moved on. Even the Thunder fanbase has moved on although they’re going to boo the living shit out of Durant when he makes his first appearance in Oklahoma City in February.

What gives? Go back and look at all the beautiful things Durant said about Westbrook in his then epic MVP acceptance speech. Who was that person in relation to this douchebag we see today?

Which Durant is the real Kevin Durant? Which one is the person versus the crafted brand created by his handlers?

Westbrook Leads Thunder Over Suns in OT, 113-110

Behind Russell Westbrook’s first official triple double of the season–the OKC Thunder battled back from an eighteen point first half deficit to win a 113-110 OT thriller in the season home opener at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Friday night.

A Westbrook driving twisting layup with seven seconds left in OT was the game winner and an Andre Roberson block of a Devin Booker shot was the savior.

This was not the Westbrook of Wednesday night in Philly when he was prudent with his ball distribution. Adams, Kanter, Ilyasova, and Sabonis didn’t see much of the ball. This was pure Kobe/Westbrook. If you’re a white geek millennial who writes dumbass nonsense on various basketball blog message boards and you never really saw Kobe in his prime you saw him Friday night wearing # O for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Westbrook was simply audacious. Kobe, Phil, and Jerry Buss would be proud. Officially–Westbrook’s triple double read 51-13-10. Kobebrook was 17-44 from the field playing 45 minutes. The Chesapeake Energy Arena used to be Kevin Durant’s building. No more. Russell Westbrook now owns the building and the state of Oklahoma. If Westbrook wanted to be the GOP presidential canidate over Trump or the simpleton Ted Cruz it would be his if he so chose.

Consider this…. Oklahoma City had 13 assists and 22 turnovers as a team and still won this basketball game.

Victor Oladipo had a nice bounce back game scoring 21 points while showing glimpses of why Sam Presti traded Serge Ibaka this past summer. Officially–the OKC starting backcourt combined for 72 points on Friday night.

I think it would be fair to say after two games Russell Westbrook is on everyone’s MVP short list. In two games he’s averaged 41.5 points. Maybe Kevin Durant should tweet some bullshit apology about holding Russell back all these years.

Granted…I’m almost certain Billy Donovan would rather see more of the Russell Westbrook we saw on Wednesday night in Philly per ball distribution, but there will be nights like this as this season unfolds before our lucky eyes as NBA basketball purists.

My Three Stars of the Game are 1 Russell Westbrook, 2 Andre Roberson, and 3 Victor Oladipo.

OKC improves to 2-0 on the season and will host Luke Walton’s LA Lakers on Sunday evening inside the Peake.

Westbrook Leads Thunder Past Sixers in Opener, 103-97

Behind what was essentially a Russell Westbrook triple double, the OKC Thunder won the season opener over an energized Sixer team on Wednesday night in Philly. It didn’t come easy though as the Thunder found themselves trailing by six entering the fourth period on Joel Embiid Night before a playoff-like crowd on the road. But behind Westbrook, Enes Kanter, and others the Thunder won the fourth period by a 34-22 count in claiming their first win in the post Kevin Durant era in Oklahoma City.

Any road win is a good one in the NBA, but this win was essential as the Thunder overcame Joel Embiid’s professional debut and a raccous crowd to get this season on the right first step without Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka.

For the most part I thought OKC was pretty good on the night. Russell Westbrook was superb. He basically tripled doubled at 32,12,9. His court management was exactly what this young team will need through the course of the season. He steered his team, but didn’t bully his usage to an overbearing extent. He was just about right in getting other players involved.

Steven Adams scored 16 points while grabbing 5 rebounds, but more importantly he was involved offensively to the point where he attempted 16 shots. Adams was solid, but you almost feel certain his level will amp up even higher in coming games.

Victor Oladipo struggled–no way around it. Oladipo went 4-16 from the field and was 0-5 from three point range. He finished with 10 points and did redeem himself in the fourth period with two big buckets as the Thunder rallied to win the game.

Enes Kanter was excellent in the fourth period. He had a solid night going for 17 points and 12 rebounds in 24 minutes of play.

Domas Sabonis actually started the game, thus becoming the first ever Thunder player to start as a rookie. He looked a bit nervous initially, but settled in and gave Billy Donovan solid minutes. Sabonis will become a core player as time moves along.

Ersan Ilyasova was good. He hit two big threes, had ten points overall, drew two charges, and was decent defensively. I liked what I saw from him as he fit into the Westbrook flow and will give Donovan two solid stretch four options.

Andre Roberson didn’t do much for me. He scored one point, didn’t attempt a three, and missed on several opportunities around the basket. But scoring isn’t Roberson’s thing so I won’t dwell on it. If he scores more than six points in a game it’s a bonus.

Alex Abrines played 13 minutes and hit a big three in the fourth period. Kyle Singler hit his first three then missed his next four, but his hair looks better this season. Backup point guard Semaj Christon played and was decent from my perspective. In all ten players saw the floor for the Thunder on opening night.

I’d give the Thunder a B on their report card. I’d have Westbrook, Kanter, and Adams as my three stars of the game in that order. I was impressed with Sabonis and Ilyasova as stretch fours, and okay with Christon as the backup point guard. Abrines was about what I expected. Oladipo had a tough shooting night. His integration alongside Westbrook has to become smoother for the Thunder to become a top four team in the West.

But anytime a young team can go on the road and win in a playoff like atmosphere you take it as a positive, an incremental step forward, and then get ready to host Phoenix on Friday night in the season home opener.

Skip and Shannon on Kevin Durant

I think this is a very good discussion on the Durant-Westbrook dynamic and their broken relationship. I pretty much agree with everything Skip and Shannon say in the discussion.

It is what it is, but enough of the pettiness from Kevin Durant. You were an unrestricted free agent. You exercised your right within the rules of the NBA. You earned the right. But shut up with the little girl bullshit in reference to Westbrook, Donovan, and Presti. You went 10-31 with two of the worst late game turnovers in NBA history in Game 6. You then moved to the team which benefitted from your horrible performance in Game 6.You didn’t go to San Antonio, Miami, LA, Boston or even your hometown Wizards with Scott Brooks. You took what you and your handlers perceived was the best hand to beat LeBron James and win a championship. Just admit it once openly on the record and be done with it.

Spurs Rout Warriors in Season Opener

The much awaited debut of Kevin Durant’s AAU Super Team in Oakland left much to be desired as the San Antonio Spurs destroyed the Golden State Warriors by a 129-100 count on Tuesday night inside Oracle Arena.

Durant was actually decent as he led the Warriors with a 27 point night. The rest of his new team in a word…sucked. Golden State looked awkward, confused, and thoroughly outcoached by one Gregg Popovich. It wasn’t just that Curry, Thompson, Green, and other Warriors were off, more to the point they looked nothing like the team which won 73 games last regular season.

The Warriors turned the ball over sixteen times and gave up 129 points at home in their much awaited ‘super team’ opener. All summer we’ve had to listen to Kevin Durant’s immature references to Russell Westbrook, Billy Donovan, or the OKC Thunder culture in general so it’s more than ironic his new super team looked this bad on the national stage in their debut. I won’t go any further.

I’ll circle this though, teams have bad shooting nights–it happens. But with ZaZa Pachulia as the Warriors’ new rim protector the Spurs did whatever they wanted near the rim whenever they wanted to do it. Andrew Bogut wasn’t an All-Star, but he clearly was better than ZaZa Pachulia.

Granted–it’s only one game out of eighty-two, but what the Warriors showed on Tuesday night is that winning an NBA championship with ZaZa Pachulia as their starting center might be challenging.

In closing–Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with a career 35 point night and showed why he’s the second best overall player in the NBA only behind LeBron James.

Maybe Durant will end up a Spur after this season exercising his option year. If Nike and his handlers tell him to do it–maybe we’ll see Durant playing with Leonard next season.

Hope Jerry West and Ron Adams tucked Kevin Durant in and kissed him on the forehead when they told him his bedtime story tonight.

Hey–KD, Steven Adams is in Oklahoma City, ZaZa Pachulia is in Oakland.

Just sayin’.

OKC Thunder’s Top Eight Players

The Thunder waived Mitch McGary and Ronnie Price yesterday while keeping Semaj Christon as the third point guard. This pares the Thunder roster to fifteen the day before opening night. A very, very young roster. It’s imperative Westbrook and Adams stay healthy.

So who will be OKC’s top eight players as the season begins. I’d go 1 Russell Westbrook, 2 Steven Adams, 3 Victor Oladipo, 4 Andre Roberson, 5 Enes Kanter, 6 Domantus Sabonis, 7 Ersan Ilyasova, and 8 Cam Payne.

Until Cam Payne returns from his foot injury to fill backup point guard minutes Russell Westbrook will have to log especially heavy minutes.

Victor Oladipo has to find his comfort zone as Westbrook’s backcourt partner and define himself as the team’s third best player for this team to become one which hangs onto a fourth, fifth, or sixth seeding position.

I don’t watch NBA preseason games, but my guess is the new player to watch beyond the top three will be Domantus Sabonis. He’s a young player who should at some point give the Thunder another solid two way big man to go along with Adams. He’s smart, has good hands, nice feet, is tough,does everything relatively well, and isn’t a liability on either end of the floor. He should become a solid piece in the Thunder’s future moving forward.

You look at this current Thunder roster of fifteen players and it just seems to me that Sam Presti at some point in this season will be making a trade which shores up the roster a bit more. Oladipo’s level of play being the key as I see it. Can Oladipo become a consistent third piece to fit alongside with Westbrook and Adams is probably the most pressing unknown as we begin the season tomorrow night.