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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.
 
Biggest Surprises and Fails for 2010-2011
Monday , Apr , 04 , 2011 J.N.

Biggest Surprises and Fails for 2010-2011

The season is almost over. It is time to look back and reflect on the positives and negatives. The hype before tip-off was through the roof. There was a lot of anticipation on new rivalries and storylines to be played out. Will the South Beach trio work out? How will Blake Griffin play? Is Steve Nash’s window closed? Are the Lakers still the team to beat? Kevin Durant got the MVP? The Chicago Bulls are 4th seeders, right?

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Why LeBron James will not win MVP. Ever again.
Wednesday , Mar , 16 , 2011 J.N.

Why LeBron James will not win MVP. Ever again.

I come in peace, but I’ll talk about this. This has to be addressed. Welcome to LeBron’s new nightmare. The Miami Heat is getting $hi#$ed on by the full media blitz. It’s not over. It’s never going to be over with the public onslaught. There is more to come, but no one has mentioned this particular item. I write this with full sincerity - LBJ will not win MVP ever again. This is a bold claim, but there are many reasons to see why.

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The 2011 NBA MVP race is the weakest ever Vol. Stop Crying
Thursday , Mar , 03 , 2011 J.N.

The 2011 NBA MVP race is the weakest ever Vol. Stop Crying

That’s all I’ve been hearing lately. Blah, blah, blah, weak sauce, blah, blah. Why you mad, though? The major complaint is that no one really stands out from the pack. My thinking is “How the eff does that make the race weak?” My dude, you serious? Go watch Tommy Wiseau’s The Room if you think the race is the weakest then hit me back up or get slapped with a notice out of nowhere to give up the kids like Charlie Sheen. If you don’t like this season’s MVP race, you don’t like NBA basketball.

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2011 MVP Race – Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron, Wade, Rose, Nowitzki, Howard, Durant
Thursday , Feb , 24 , 2011 J.N.

2011 MVP Race – Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron, Wade, Rose, Nowitzki, Howard, Durant

The newly minted 2011 All Star game MVP worked his way to be the star of stars. 37 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 steals are great numbers. Props to Kobe. It is back to business since All Star weekend is over. Where is Kobe in the league MVP race? Remember, this isn’t the legacy award  like the All Star spots. Everyone has to put in serious work. That includes Bryant who is usually penciled in before the season started. Every great player's time fades away, too. It sucks, but that's life.

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Tuesday , Feb , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Could OKC Thunder really get Kevin Love?

I’m not saying the Wolves are or should be looking to trade Love- the sole issue at point is that they would not hang up the phone immediately if Sam Presti came calling.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: On the surface, it doesn’t sound realistic –Kevin Love joining Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook with the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder.

Here are two facts about Sam Presti, the Thunder’s lead executive, resident whiz kid, and one of the up-and coming suits in pro sports.

First, after making his bones with the San Antonio Spurs, Presti has rebuilt the Thunder through astute drafting, collecting undervalued assets, and maintaining fiscal sanity. He’s ready to use some of these excess chips to put his club over-the-top with a significant trade and/or signing.

Second, that may mean trying to bring the league’s leading rebounder to Oklahoma City. After all, Presti has a plan for every situation and scenario, and knows how well Love would complement Durant, Westbrook, and the raw Serge Ibaka.

Right now, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Love seem connected. The country strong post has given the lowly Wolves an identity for the first time since you-know-who was dealt to the Boston Celtics.

These two are far from married, though.

Love may be having a fine season; however, he’s not untouchable. He has shown little interest in inking a long-term extension with the Wolves. His relationship with Coach Kurt Rambis is touch-and-go.

Bottom line: Love wants to win now. No more waiting; no more rebuilding. He knows he won’t win championships in The Frozen Tundra of Sota.

While it isn’t likely, Love to the Thunder isn’t impossible. It makes some sense. For now, that will keep us talking.

--Oly Sandor.

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

Kevin Durant – One Dimensional MVP
Friday , Feb , 04 , 2011 J.N.

Kevin Durant – One Dimensional MVP

The streets are buzzing. I’m going to agree with this. The future NBA commercial featuring him and some old black guy standing there talking about his future is creepy. That pissed off Seattle. Sorry, Seattle. That sucked just to watch. You’ll always have Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. And Shawn Kemp’s kids. And grunge. And a band formerly called “Mookie Blaylock” that became Pearl Jam. And Gary Payton’s trash talking. That was the ish back in the day.

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Monday , Jan , 31 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant calls Chris Bosh ‘a fake tough guy’

"I was talking to my teammate and he decided he wanted to put his 2 cents into it. I'm a quiet guy, a laid-back guy, but I'm not going to let nobody talk trash to me. He's on a good team now, so he thinks he can talk a little bit," Durant said. "There's a lot of fake tough guys in this league and he's one of them," Durant added.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Chris Bosh isn’t exactly respected by his NBA peers.

Shaquille O’Neal once branded him the ‘RuPaul’ of big men. Amar’e Stoudemire boasted to the world that he was better than Bosh. Today, Kevin Durant called him a ‘fake tough guy’.

Durant’s comments came after his Oklahoma City Thunder dropped a close game to Bosh’s Miami Heat on national television. The lanky three-man missed a fade-away jumper in the closing seconds which would have sent the game to overtime.

However, the tough loss wasn’t the reason for Durant’s outburst. Earlier in the game, he and Bosh bumped into each other and exchanged words. Both were given technical fouls.

Clearly, Durant doesn’t believe Bosh can back-up the tough talk. And he isn’t the only one.  

--Oly Sandor.
 
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below
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Friday , Jan , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade named 2011 All-Star starters

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Today, the NBA announced their starting line-up for the February 20th All-Star game in Los Angeles.

Of course, the fans vote in the starters. And the Western and Eastern Conference’s line-ups are filled with the usual suspects. Check out the list below and get at us with thoughts in the comment box below.

Western Conference:

G Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

G Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets

F Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets

F Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

C Yao Ming, Houston Rockets

Eastern Conference:

G Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

G Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

F LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

F Amar'e Stoudemire, New York Knicks

C Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

 --Oly Sandor

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

 

 

 

2011 All-Star Starters Announced
Friday , Jan , 28 , 2011 Christopher Sells

2011 All-Star Starters Announced

 Your 2011 NBA All-Star Game starters, as voted by the fans and announced by the NBA are below. The game will be played in Los Angeles on February 20.

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Sunday , Jan , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Durant owns New York with fade-away three-pointer

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The legend of Kevin Durant continues to grow. 

Last night, the lanky scorer won the game for his upstart Oklahoma City Thunder with a fade-away three pointer against the New York Knicks. Watch the clip and get at us with thoughts on Durant’s heroics in the comment box. 

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Jan , 01 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Josh Smith feels ‘disrespected’ by Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook

Asked if he was upset by Ibaka’s dunk, or the foul, or both, Smith said, “You know what it was. That’s showing disrespect (dunking the ball). Everybody in the whole league knows you don’t do nothing like that. I talked to Durant about it. He said he would talk to him (Ibaka) about it, and he knew that wasn’t right.
 
 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It wasn’t as offensive as Andray Blatche screaming at a teammate or Ricky Davis shooting on his own basket.

It was close, though.

Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook and center Serge Ibaka won’t win any friends on the Atlanta Hawks by padding their statistics in the final moments of yesterday’s game.

Last night, the Thunder had beaten the Hawks. Time was set to expire. Both teams seemed content to let the final seconds play out and move on to the next game.

Then Westbrook suddenly passed the ball to Ibaka for an uncontested, breakaway dunk. Westbrook needed one assist for a triple-double, while Ibaka needed two points for a double-double.

This is a no-no.

The Hawks’ Mike Bibby and Josh Smith rightfully took exception to Westbrook and Ibaka’s actions. Thunder superstar Kevin Durant was left to play peacemaker after the game.

Even Thunder coach Scott Brooks couldn’t defend his players, telling The Oklahoman “when you got the game won, you run the clock out”. Anyway, watch the clip and get at us with thoughts on Westbrook and Ibaka’s last second basket against the Hawks.

 
(Ibaka's dunk is at the end of the highlight package.)
 
--Oly Sandor.
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Monday , Nov , 08 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant had private shootaround with Obama

Kevin Durant had his own private shootaround with President Barack Obama back in September.

Durant was passed over for an opportunity to play pick-up basketball with Obama on Aug. 8 when Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul were invited to Fort McNair to do so.

According to a report in The Oklahoman, Durant's agents made a connection with Reggie Love, Obama's special assistant and personal aide, to get Durant an exclusive invitation to shoot hoops with the president.

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Wednesday , Oct , 27 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

To extend or not extend: Portland`s Greg Oden saga

Greg Oden will not sign a contract extension with the Blazers ahead of the Nov. 1 deadline, his agent has confirmed. That means Oden will become a restricted free agent this summer.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: To extend or not extend. That is the question.

The Portland Trail Blazers are in an interesting spot with former first overall pick Greg Oden.

On the one hand, they must proceed cautiously. Oden’s history of injuries makes it impossible for the Blazers to offer a long-term extension worth the GDP of a developing nation.

At least, right now it’s impossible. The seven-footer has much to prove and much to make up for.

On the other hand, the Blazers must maximize their asset. After all, Oden was a celebrated draft pick, taken before superstar Kevin Durant.

This is a massive commitment, so the organization has to continue supporting, nurturing, and developing their fragile post.

So far, Oden’s career has been a struggle. However, the Blazers can’t make the situation worse by giving up too soon.

--Oly Sandor.

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

 

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Sunday , Oct , 24 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant: Brandon Roy toughest opponent to guard

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was asked on the John Thompson Show who he feels is the toughest opponent to guard in the NBA. Instead of picking Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, Bryant went with Portland's Brandon Roy.

"Roy 365 days, seven days a week. Roy has no weaknesses in his game," Bryant said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: No surprise here.

NBA fans shouldn’t be shocked Kobe Bryant picked perennial All-Star Brandon Roy as his toughest cover over Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade.

There’s no agenda here. There’s no subtle slight against the game’s more marketable superstars, either. 

Bryant was simply speaking his mind. Here’s why he was making sense:

1) Roy’s a fundamentally-sound, Tim Duncan-type in a two-man’s body.  He does everything well and uses his mind, not athleticism, to succeed.

2) Bryant is a student of the game. He spends hours in the video room, analyzing where to attack opponents like Durant, James, and Wade.

Bryant has probably spent a day or two watching Roy and has clearly concluded he has no weakness. There’s no Achilles heal to expose.

3) Roy’s Portland Trail Blazers have had some success against the Los Angeles Lakers, especially at home in The Rose Garden.

--Oly Sandor.

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