January 21st, 2013 at 4:11 PM
By Kyle Smith
Chris Paul will start at point guard for the Western Conference and Kobe will start at shooting guard for the 2013 NBA All Star Game. The ballot was updated and shown publicly on December 13th, and the starting roster announced January 17. But the current NBA statistics might tell the fans that they may have wanted to vote for Russell Westbrook instead to start at point guard for the big game in Houston, Texas February 17.
Consider the most recognized statistic in all of pro basketball: Points-Per-Game (PPG). Russell Westbrook is currently sixth in the NBA, where he is currently scoring 21.9 PPG; Chris Paul averages 16.8 PPG, which is good enough for thirty-second overall in the NBA.
Scoring baskets is not the only job of a point guard. The point guard is to be the general of the court, "the quarterback of basketball". A prototypical great point guard manages the offense by setting up his teammates, not turning the ball over, and being a good defender. Russell Westbrook has been criticized for not being a great point guard due to his high turnover rate. The turnover rate has not been good for Westbrook this season, as he is tied for fourth in the NBA in most Turnovers-Per-Game (TOPG). However, this is a skewed statistic as perhaps the best passing point guard in the league, Rajon Rondo, has more TOPG than Westbrook. Should the fans not vote for Rondo because he can be careless with the basketball? The answer is no because he has been such a valuable player and leader for the Boston Celtics this season.Read more... Join the Conversation...
October 24th, 2012 at 8:28 AM
By Alex Rose
1. Serge Ibaka
Ibaka gave his best effort at the alpha dog role with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both given the night off. Ibaka scored 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting with 8 rebounds, 1 steal, and 2 blocks. He also drained a corner-three. He has taken high volume of shots from long-range this season, so we'll see if it ends up as a gimmick or if Coach Brooks allows him to selectively pull the trigger when the games actually count. It cannot be stressed enough just how much improvement Ibaka has made to his offensive game. He showed the potential last season that he could become a reliable mid-range player. This season, so far, he is proving that he can put forth the consistency needed to be counted on night in and night out, though he won't necessarily need to carry the scoring load. His stat line won't play Thunder fans away at the end of the night. There's just too many other weapons that demand a certain number of touches.
2. DeAndre LigginsRead more... Join the Conversation...
October 22nd, 2012 at 10:16 AM
By Alex Rose
1. The Thunder starters
Oklahoma City trotted out its vaunted starting lineup for the first time this year. With both Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha recovering from injuries, they were finally able to join the lineup that helped guide them to the Finals just a season ago. Both Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka chipped in 16 points. Ibaka continues to create buzz with his offense, and KD is starting to back up his statements regarding his improved passing. He dished out 5 assists to go with those 16 points. Russell Westbrook shot the ball poorly, connecting on just 4-of-13. He did, however, add 9 assists to his stat line. Individually, the starting five are making progress. Perk and Thabo are improving each day as they rehab injuries and get back into game shape. Durant is more of a complete player, while Westbrook continues to make strides in his point guard role.
2. Kendrick Perkins
Perk saw his first game action since the NBA Finals on Sunday night. It was relieving to finally see the grump out on the court after rehabbing from those nagging hip and wrist injuries. Granted he was not as effective as he will need to be heading into the season. Luckily, he still has two games to improve on his timing and his conditioning. He finished last night's game with 4 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 18 minutes. Read more... Join the Conversation...
October 17th, 2012 at 10:11 AM
By Alex Rose
1. Serge Ibaka
Breakout season. These are the last two words opposing fans want to hear heading into the Chesapeake Energy Arena during the 2012-2013 season. Last year, fans witnessed the emergence of James Harden as a superstar. Heading into that season, the majority of chatter surrounded Harden's breakout potential and whether or not that would bring some haymakers off the bench. Harden turned out to be yet another draft-pick bulls-eye for GM Sam Presti in what is starting to become quite the list of homegrown stars. Ibaka, specifically, looks like he's ready to contribute to the offense on a nightly basis. He has been playing with his back to the basket, making a conscious effort to provide a low-post presence the Thunder so desperately needs. The absence of this low-post option reared its ugly head during the Finals last year, proving that a team with athleticism to close out on shooters while packing the paint can cause fits for Oklahoma City. Against the Bobcats, Serge finished with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, 10 boards, and 2 blocks.
2. Andy RautinsRead more... Join the Conversation...
October 15th, 2012 at 2:19 PM
By Alex Rose
The Oklahoma City Thunder's first preseason tune-ups are in the books and have officially kicked off the 2012-2013 NBA season. The Thunder and Coach Scott Brooks have just under three weeks to put the finishing touches on situational lineups, allotted playing time, and additional aspects of X's and O's. For the players, this is a time to work themselves back into basketball shape. Although, that most likely won't be a challenge for the likes of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Serge Ibaka. Obviously, they will benefit from playing a ton of competitive basketball over the summer. Additionally, the preseason marks a time in which a foundation of player confidence must start to take shape. As the players begin to log substantial time on the court with one another, chemistry and comfort within the system start to build. This, in turn, will lead to confidence in themselves, as well as confidence in teammates that they will be taking care of their own responsibilities on the court. Sports Media 101 takes a look at some of the most charged talking points coming out of these games.
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