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Oklahoma City Thunder VIDEOS

March 26, 2015 Updates

“Durant at the All-Star Game said, ‘The media’s not our friends,’” Tramel explained. “Well, he’s right. Nobody on a serious journalism level pretends to be. But with the Thunder, there’s not even an acquaintance. There’s no relationship.” It was a gripe I heard again and again from the Thunder press corps. Nobody held a grudge against Durant or Westbrook. They knew the locker-room scrums would produce a poor harvest. What frustrated the press corps was that the players — especially Durant and Westbrook — remained largely out of reach. Grantland

But in the Thunder locker room, there’s a watchfulness that prevents all but the most formal interactions. Reporters said that nearly every time they approach a player, even with tape recorders holstered, a Thunder PR rep sidles up to listen. “If you have a conversation with a player about parenting, someone is going to be standing right there hovering and trying to steer it whichever way they think it should go,” Mayberry said. “That’s the kind of culture they’ve created here. No one has a personal relationship with any of these guys.” Grantland

This poisons the locker-room atmosphere in much the same way as limited access. “Any question I ask that’s perceived as threatening is going to look worse when these guys are asking softball questions,” Mayberry said. It turns the basic work of journalism into enemy activity. The in-house media has another effect. If Durant and Westbrook talk for tightly controlled amounts of time, questions from team employees can run out the clock. Grantland

The next time they met, Tramel asked Westbrook a question. Westbrook answered it with something other than a Lynchian catchphrase. No one remembers what was said. They simply moved on. “I’m actually more encouraged about our relationship now than I was before,” Tramel said. “Because it’s literally the first time he ever acknowledged that he knew who I was.” Grantland

March 25, 2015 Updates
March 24, 2015 Updates

Q: Who do you like watching, Mike? D'Antoni: "Golden State jumps out at me. You've got to like Oklahoma City. I mean Holy mackerel, watching Westbrook is like sitting on a roller coaster and going a thousand miles an hour. You've never seen anything like that. What he's doing?" Q: You know what's funny? Everybody always brings up Oscar Robertson as the triple-double king – and that's true – but we forget how fast they used to play. This OKC team is not playing at anywhere near the pace of those old Oscar teams, which absolutely makes your head spin. A: "No, it does. And if you watch old films, that ball is flying around and they're going. They're going. I think that if you put today's bodies (of) people and played the way they did, now you're talking. It's interesting. You know what's fun about basketball? It keeps evolving, and it keeps changing a little bit. And the older guys want to try to hold it back to how they grew up, and it's not the same. You've got to change with the times, and some of the guys you've got to drag across the finish line." USA Today Sports

We asked 25 NBA folks -- a combination of executives, coaches and players -- to rank the point guards in the NBA from 1 to 30. The results of that poll are below, along with a sampling of thoughts from those who answered our survey: The top tier The top tier of our survey included no fewer than eight 2015 NBA All-Stars, with Russell Westbrook edging Stephen Curry at the top of the list. Once an NBA question mark, Mike Conley had a solid showing in our survey, beating out the likes of Kyle Lowry and Tony Parker among those we polled. 1. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder (732 points, 13 first-place votes) "He might be an alien. I've never seen anyone like him before. His athleticism and antics are off the charts." -- NBA executive 2. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (727 points, 9 first-place votes) ESPN.com

Kanter, in particular, has altered the dynamics of the Thunder’s offense since his arrival from Utah. He’s the first legit post-up presence OKC has had and already, in 14 games since the trade, has all five 20-10 games from a Thunder center in history. He’s averaging 17.8 points and 11.1 rebounds on 56 percent shooting this month. “No, not at all,” Adams, who defended Kanter a ton when he was with the Jazz, said when asked if he knew Kanter had this type of offensive skill. “I was like, ‘What? This is surprising.’ But I don’t know. He’s just a lot more comfortable here I think.” Oklahoman

Kanter, clearly, is playing with a freedom and joy he lacked during a tumultuous end in Utah. He’s pointed to a firmer role and winning culture as the reasons. “We’re playing for a ring,” he says. But the Thunder’s expressed commitment to him long-term also seems to be a factor. Oklahoman

March 23, 2015 Updates

But during Love's appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, he picked Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook -- his college teammate at UCLA -- over James for MVP. Love, breaking from tradition by not supporting a teammate who's up for MVP, cited the two weeks James took off to rest nagging injuries, even though James (61 games) has played more than Westbrook this season (55 games). "They're both having an MVP-type season, but I'm going to go with Russell Westbrook because he's, every single night you're looking at his stat sheet, they're fighting for a playoff spot, with Serge Ibaka going down now, Kevin Durant potentially being out the rest of the year and him still going out there and fighting for his team, and winning, and fighting for that seventh or eighth spot in the playoffs," Love said. "I think Russ is arguably having the better season." Cleveland Plain Dealer

On Sunday, Kanter finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds, with Westbrook setting up six of his 12 buckets. That's Kanter's ninth double-double since joining the Thunder. In the Thunder's seven-year history in OKC, they'd never had a center register a 20-10 game; Kanter has five already with the Thunder. "We're implementing new sets by the day to figure out how use his best post-ups, how he likes to catch them, and where he likes to catch on the move, if he likes to catch from a diagonal pick, or a cross screen, or a rip screen," Brooks said. "We just have to figure that out as we see him play in games, but I think he's done a good job and Russell's done a good job finding him." ESPN.com

March 21, 2015 Updates
 

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN SUPERSONICS HISTORY

Kevin Durant may end up claiming the No. 1 spot, but for now it belongs to Gary Payton.

   

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