kevin-durant
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Monday , Aug , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Report: Kobe to represent USA at 2012 Olympics

Kobe Bryant is a yes whatever happens, according to a source close to the 34-year-old; Bryant badly wants a second gold medal to go with the one he won in '08.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: If you’re starting a team, Kobe Bryant isn’t a bad place to start.

Reports indicate the Los Angeles Lakers superstar has already committed to being a part of the American national squad that will look to defend its gold medal at the 2012 Olympcs in London, England.

Bryant deserves credit for wanting to represent his country. The rest of the 2008 gold medal-winning squad from Beijing found an excuse not to participate in the FIBA World Championships in Turkey.

(Bryant was badly injured. The young American squad still won in Turkey because of chemistry, discipline, and Kevin Durant’s fine play.)

This time around, Bryant is in. His age doesn’t matter; same with his battered, bruised body. And he doesn’t care if the NBA is still mired in an ugly labour dispute.

Bryant wants to play for the United States. Here's the question: do his superstar peers share his passion?

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below with thoughts.

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Thursday , Aug , 04 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Kevin Durant Destroys ‘Baby LeBron’ heckler

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: We already knew Kevin Durant was great. That didn’t stop the scoring champ` from providing further proof at the Nike Pro City run.

A small contingent of fans were heckling him. These brave, and stupid, souls called the All-Star ‘baby LeBron’ and even chanted ‘Russell Westbrook’.

Rather than overreact or become distracted, Durant became a stone-cold assassin.

He acknowledged the hecklers. He engaged them, ever-so slightly. He let them think, for a moment, they were winning. He then took over in spectacular fashion, hitting the game-tying and game-winning shot.

When it was over, when he had won, he gave a little thanks-for-trying wave. This was not overt or boastful, for Durant had merely done what he was supposed to do.

Others can learn from such a display. Rather than respond like an E-Thug on twitter or declare through the media he’d get revenge, Durant simply went about his business.

And boy was it refreshing!

(Watch the clip, form an opinion, and tell us about Durant in the comment box below. Thanks to Slamonline for the video.)

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Wednesday , Aug , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Blake Griffin on lockout: ‘My first three seasons, I could play 82 games’

"I haven't stopped working out really since May," Griffin said. "It's been every day, sneaking it in whenever I can." Griffin says it's frustrating for him to think that the NBA games may be interrupted after his first season playing in the league. Griffin missed all of the 2009-10 season with a broken kneecap after he had been the No. 1 draft pick out of Oklahoma. "Now my first three seasons, I could play 82 games," Griffin said. "So, we'll see what happens."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Last year was overwhelmingly positive for the NBA.
 
The sporting world was galvanized by Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James joining forces and becoming the ‘Heatles’ in Miami.

Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd’s hard work was rewarded with an NBA championship, guaranteeing both immediate entry into the Hall of Fame when they retire.

Derrick Rose won the MVP award, leading the Chicago Bulls to the league’s best regular season record and a place in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder took another step winning two playoff series before falling to Nowitzki and Kidd’s Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals.

The Memphis Grizzlies made the playoffs and upset the San Antonio Spurs. After years of futility, the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers were relevant and entertaining.

There are other storylines I’m missing.

For instance, high on this list is the emergence of Blake Griffin, whose aerial antics reminded the world there’s a professional basketball squad in Los Angeles not called the Lakers.

(And this squad, the Clippers, can compete and delight despite being owned by the twisted and incompetent Donald Sterling.)

Suppose there’s a lockout. One that wipes out the entire season. Griffin, who missed 2009 with injury, will have played just eighty-two games in his first three seasons.

Fans would have to wait a year to see Griffin assault the rim. Fans would have to wonder what Griffin would do to defend his crown at the 2012 Slam Dunk Contest. And fans, the purists, would have to wait a year to see Griffin’s above average passing and skill-set develop.

This is tragic. And just another thing Commissioner David Stern, the owners, Union Head Billy Hunter, and the players are risking with their posturing and rhetoric.

I hope they know what they’re doing. Griffin missing another year should be a last resort.

--Oly Sandor.


Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Wednesday , Aug , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Nick Young scores a Durant-like 60 in Drew League

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Anything Kevin Durant can do, Nick Young can do better.

Well, almost.

Durant obviously trumps Young, however, the Washington Wizards swing dropped a Durant-like 60 points in summer action with the Drew League.

(Quick aside: Durant had a mere 41 points yesterday at the Nike Pro City game.)

Anyway, click the link, watch the video, and get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below. 

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

 

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Tuesday , Aug , 02 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Kevin Durant catches fire and scores 66 at Rucker

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: There’s nothing like playing at the world famous Rucker Park. Correction: there’s nothing like scoring 66 points at the world famous Rucker Park.

Yesterday Kevin Durant caught fire like a character off NBA Jam and scored 66 points at the great outdoor arena.

Click the video and get at us with thoughts in the comment box on Durant’s performance. 


--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Jul , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Russell Westbrook: There’s no beef with Kevin Durant

Westbrook also argued with his coach, Scott Brooks, and his star teammate, Kevin Durant, on the court, leading to speculation that he was feuding with both. And when the Thunder were eliminated by the Dallas Mavericks, Westbrook shouldered most of the blame. In the two months since, Westbrook hasn’t lost much sleep worrying about the criticism.

“I refuse to let myself do that,” Westbrook told Yahoo! Sports. “I’ve been working too hard to get to the position we were in last season to worry about anything somebody else was saying.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Superstars need each other.

In today’s NBA, one superstar isn’t enough to win a title. The crème de la crème of talent know they must partner up to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy in late June.

For instance, the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, and San Antonio Spurs have a few premier players working towards a collective goal.

(The 2011 world champion Dallas Mavericks were, perhaps, the exception, surrounding their sole superstar, Dirk Nowitzki, with five or six very good players.)  

The Oklahoma City Thunder, if they are to join the ranks of legit contender, need Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook working together. Durant knows this. Westbrook knows this, too.

These two will never tell media or fans if there was tension over Westbrook’s questionable shot selection in the playoffs. They’ll keep it in-house, which shows they’re mature beyond their years.

However, coach Scott Brooks may want to clarify roles by reminding Westbrook that he is Robin and Durant is Batman. Not the other way around.

Brooks might also want to remind Westbrook he needs to focus on setting-the-table for teammates -as well as getting his own points.

Of course, this could be tricky. Once the lockout is settled, Westbrook and the Thunder will be ironing-out the details on a new, long-term extension.

Such declarations, if handled poorly, would do permanent damage to the Thunder‘s relationship with Westbrook.

All parties must proceed with caution. They need each other.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

NBA stars who can possibly reach near MJ level
Tuesday , Jul , 05 , 2011 J.N.

NBA stars who can possibly reach near MJ level

No. This is not an attempt to compare any of these guys to Michael Jordan. Nope. That has been beaten, raped, and pillaged to hell and back. This is more of an examination of the talent today that might have a chance to reach Jordan’s status. They are obviously not him and will not surpass him either. The goal is ridiculous anyway. However, getting close to Jordan is possible. It’s not out of the question. 

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Saturday , Jul , 02 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant: players ‘not going to give in’ to owners

Set to be locked out by the league at day's end, Durant pledged solidarity for the players' union Thursday even if it means sacrificing the first few months of the season to get a new deal done.

"We're going to stand up for what we have to do, no matter how long it's going to take," Durant told The Associated Press after the conclusion of his two-day youth basketball camp. "No matter how long the lockout's going to take, we're going to stand up. We're not going to give in."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: On the court, Kevin Durant has impeccable timing. Off-the-court, not so much.

Today, Durant had some interesting remarks with respect to the lockout, saying the players will not give in and will stay out as long as necessary.

Not the time. Not the place.

The public wants a solution and has no sympathy for millionaire players drawing a line in the sand. In this economy, such an approach rings hollow, offends, and undermines.

So Durant should think about what he says. Careless statements could haunt him when the NBA finally returns.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

There is no best player in the NBA today
Saturday , Jun , 18 , 2011 J.N.

There is no best player in the NBA today

We are back to what the NBA was when Michael Jordan retired for the first time in 1993. There is no true ultimate dominator in this league who is head and shoulders above everyone. Remember that time? Malone, Stockton, Olajuwon, Shaq, Kidd, Miller, Barkley, Richmond, Pippen, Payton, and more became prominent when Jordan left. As of 2011, there is no one head and shoulders above anyone. We can make arguments for a few select, but they each have flaws whether it’s getting old, shrinking up, or whatever. 

 
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Is Kobe Bryant still a top 5 player today?
Friday , Jun , 03 , 2011 J.N.

Is Kobe Bryant still a top 5 player today?

It’s been a tough ride for Kobe Bryant and Laker Nation in 2011. They were dominated in the 2nd round of the playoffs against the Mavericks, Phil Jackson retired, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar disrespected, and Kobe looked old. Just going by numbers, the Black Mamba is not a top 5 fantasy player. Take notice that he is not being picked number one overall in many drafts. The trend picked up beginning in 2008 when Chris Paul and LeBron James started to take over.

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Wednesday , May , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant on last play of regulation: ‘I didn’t know what else to do’

On the biggest play of the series, the final play of regulation, Kevin Durant caught the ball at halfcourt, but when he looked toward the basket, he saw three Mavs coming at him. So, he shot from at least 8 feet behind the three-point line. “I didn't know what else to do,” he said, the frustration obvious in his voice. “I didn't want to run into their defense and get another turnover.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: If the Oklahoma City Thunder ever wants to win an NBA championship, they have to do better than a Kevin Durant prayer from eight feet behind the three-point line.

The game was tied. There was 6.5 seconds on the clock. And the Thunder had used a timeout to design a play.
 
In these situations, great teams get a basket or, at a minimum, a good shot. The Thunder wasted the possession, and the Dallas Mavericks won game four in overtime to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
 
The Thunder may have been reeling from surrendering a double-digit lead in the final stages of the fourth quarter. Perhaps the moment got to them.
 
They have to be better. It starts with superstar Kevin Durant.
 
Point blank: Durant has to know what to do in these situations. He has to exude confidence. Most importantly, he has to produce.
 
Anything else won’t do. Not if the Thunder are serious about winning a championship.

--Oly Sandor.


Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
Dallas vs. OKC: Age Before Beauty
Tuesday , May , 24 , 2011 Paul Eide

Dallas vs. OKC: Age Before Beauty

 

 
It’s almost impossible to quantify in a tangible way, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. The value of having experienced, battle tested veterans on an NBA roster during the playoffs is priceless and accounts for unexpected game and series victories every year.  
 
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Tuesday , May , 24 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

OKC blows fourth quarter lead, Dallas takes 3-1 lead

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Choke job. This is the only way to describe the Oklahoma City Thunder squandering game four of the Western Conference Finals to the Dallas Mavericks.

The Thunder held a massive lead in the fourth quarter before losing 112-105 in overtime. Bottom line: they lost their focus.

For instance, the Thunder had the ball with 6.5 seconds remaining. The score was tied. However, all they got was a Kevin Durant heave off a broken play.

The Mavericks now lead the series 3-1, and are on the verge of returning to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2006.

Click the link to watch the video highlights of game four and get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.   

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , May , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kendrick Perkins: Thunder ‘didn’t trust each other’

The Thunder has toyed with this disturbing trend throughout the playoffs. Oklahoma City has trailed after one quarter in 11 of its 15 games this postseason. But this was as bad as it's ever been. “Tonight, we didn't trust each other,” said Kendrick Perkins. “We just got to have trust in each other. That's the bottom line.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is Kendrick Perkins a touch too assertive right now?

Yes, he has playoff experience. Yes, he has a championship. Yes, he has a tell-it-like-it-is personality.

Still, it's a bit harsh to publicly declare that the Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t trust each other in game three.

Perkins, after all, is new. He joined the Thunder at the trade deadline. He’s a valuable player, but hardly a superstar. That role belongs to Kevin Durant, who isn’t calling out teammates to reporters.

So why should Perkins?

Another question: why is Perkins calling a timeout early in the third quarter of game three? That's the coaching staff's job. Only a few great players can get away with calling for a stoppage in play.

To be fair: I like the burly center. I like the simplicity of his game. If healthy, he’s probably the difference between the Boston Celtics winning and losing game seven of the 2010 NBA Finals.

He just needs to take it down a notch.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

 

 
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Saturday , May , 21 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Kevin Durant posterizes Brendan Haywood

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: You’ve likely seen this. Still, Kevin Durant ‘posterizing’ Brendan Haywood in game two of the Western Conference Finals is worth another look.

So click the video and get at us with thoughts in the comment box below. 

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.  
 

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Saturday , May , 21 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

In defence of Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook

Westbrook, the Thunder's most misunderstood, puzzling or overanalyzed player, depending on your perspective, wouldn't flame the scrutiny on coach Scott Brooks' decision not to play him a single second of the fourth quarter in OKC's Game 2 win over Dallas on Thursday. The play of the Thunder's second-best player has been publicly picked apart throughout the postseason. Does he shoot too much, take bad shots and not pass enough?

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Russell Westbrook has a giant bulls-eye on his back.

The critics allege the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard shoots too much, knocks heads with Coach Scott Brooks, and wants to establish himself at the expense of his team.

The critics argue Westbrook should be the Thunder’s third option, with superstar Kevin Durant and super-sub James Harden as primary scorers.

Perhaps this is fair. Perhaps, the Thunder would be better with Westbrook using his athleticism to set-the-table for teammates and averaging a balanced 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.

The criticism is, to an extent, unfair. Especially since the Thunder won game two of the Western Conference Finals in Dallas. 

Sure, Brooks sat Westbrook for the entire fourth quarter. Sure, the Thunder won in spite of Westbrook, not because of him.

They still won, though. They still achieved a split on the road. And they have home-court advantage.

The world isn't ending. Westbrook isn’t the devil. He’s just a 22-year old point guard, who sometimes struggles with when to pass and shoot.

Others have had issues with decision making. Like Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons. Like Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. And like Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls.

By the way, these three figured 'it' out and won a combined 13 NBA championships.

Don’t get it twisted: Westbrook is not the next Zeke, Kobe, or MJ. It takes time for players, specifically point guards, to figure ‘it’ out.

Take Chauncey Billups. Before he became Mr. Big Shot with the Detroit Pistons, Billups was a nomad, playing on four teams between 1997 and 2002.

Critics said he lacked a position, couldn’t involve teammates and was a bust. Billups suddenly figured 'it out. Over the last ten years, he has won an NBA championship, been a Finals MVP, and made regular appearances in the Conference Finals.

Bottom line: Billups has had an excellent career. And he isn’t done. Like Westbrook, he needed time. Westbrook, at this age, is mch further along than Billups.

Critics need to appreciate Westbrook for what he is and can do. Soon enough, he’ll figure ‘it’ out. Then opponents will have to watch out.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

“Durantula” And Who Else?
Thursday , May , 19 , 2011 Paul Eide

“Durantula” And Who Else?

 

The Oklahoma City Thunder don’t want to get into high scoring games with the Dallas Mavericks every game in this series because they just can’t hang; Dallas is too deep and is loaded with scorers. By comparison the Thunder really only have three options; Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden who were the only three players to average double figures during the season. In the playoffs Serge Ibaka is averaging 10.2 ppg but as a defensive specialist in the middle he is a fourth scoring option but only out of necessity. After that it gets thin in a hurry as Nick Collison is the fifth leading scorer averaging 5.8 ppg. And that’s pretty much it.
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Sunday , May , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kevin Durant wants The Decision 2.0?

Asked if any inch of him wanted to someday experience his own summer of LeBron, Durant said: "You said an inch, so I'll take that inch. One inch of my mind just wants to experience that, see what it's like, you know. I've been through the recruitment process, of course, going to college, but I want to see how that is. I'm not saying that I want to go to another team or I want to go to a greater market. But just how much it was publicized this summer, I just want to see what that's like. I'm an interested person, I'm a curious person. And once again, I'm not trying to say I want to leave or anything. But I just want to see how that is.

"I'll be 27 when my contract's up. So maybe when I'm 27 … But you never know. Two or three years down the line, I might sign another extension here. So we'll see. We'll see. But right now, I'm happy where I'm at, I'm glad I'm locked in for five years."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kevin Durant, don’t do it. Don’t pull a LeBron and hold ‘The Decision 2.0’ when you become a free agent in a few years.

Don’t announce your future on national television like a raving egomaniac. Don’t pull Jim Gray out the ‘reporter’ scrap heap for a paid gig. And finally, don’t ruin your nice guy persona in an afternoon by acting like a jerk.

Just don’t. Don't even think about it.

In a few years, you’ll be a free agent. You have the right to pick where you play. Nobody can take issue with what you decide. As James learned the hard way, how you decide is everything.

For instance, James had given Cleveland seven years. They couldn’t provide a legit’ co-star, so he left. Fair enough. He had that right.

However, the backlash occurred mostly because James acted like a diva. ‘The Decision’ was unprofessional; his image has yet to recover.

Hopefully, Durant was misquoted. And hopefully, Durant has learned. One bad decision –like 'The Decision'- can change years of goodwill.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
 

All-NBA Teams Announced; Let The Second Guessing Begin
Saturday , May , 14 , 2011 Paul Eide

All-NBA Teams Announced; Let The Second Guessing Begin

 

On the first team, the only unanimous player selected by all 119 media writers and broadcasters was LeBron James. Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard each received 118 votes, each shunned by one short sighted voter. D Rose is good enough to win the MVP but not be a unanimous selection? Must’ve been a Hawks or Pacers fan.
 
Let’s Give Kevin Durant His Props
Tuesday , Apr , 05 , 2011 Paul Eide

Let’s Give Kevin Durant His Props

 

Kevin Durant doesn’t get the hype he deserves. From being drafted second overall in 2007 and getting overshadowed by Greg Oden taken at number one or playing in one of the NBA’s smallest markets, the novice NBA fan still doesn’t appreciate his talent.