The USA Basketball non-contact workouts are taking place this week in Las Vegas, and all the stars are out West, honing their skills for forthcoming exhibition games. Stars like Russell Westbrook, who got clowned a bit in the above video clip for screwing up a fairly simple scoring drill–Westbrook was expected to score using 2 dribbles or less.
The coolest thing about this clip, is just how broken down in laughter LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony were; the two superstars were on the sideline observing Westbrook perplex both himself and USA Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach Monty Williams, who shared a laugh with Westbrook before the camera panned to LeBron and Melo.
It’s worth noting that this is pretty valuable time for Williams and Westbrook, who will be doing this for much longer than the exhibition period of USA Basketball. Williams was hired in the off-season to be an assistant coach for the Thunder, after gaining notoriety for his offensive prowess as the head coach of the Pelicans.
Bleacher Report has just released their top point guards of the 2014-2015 season. The point guard discussion has rivaled debates such as the best quarterback, or best pitcher. There will definitely be arguments between who should be in top 5, who’s underrated, and overrated, but it will be hard to find a player to kick off the list. The metrics used to create this list included:
Non-Scoring Offense: Facilitating (20) and Off-Ball Offense (5)
Defense: On-Ball (20) and Off-Ball (20)
Intangibles: Conduct (5) and Durability (5)
22. Deron Williams 17. Derrick Rose 15. Rajon Rondo 12. Tony Parker 6. Kyrie Irving
The Thunder make a huge decision for the future of their franchise
Despite leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to three Western Conference Finals appearances and the 2012 NBA Finals, head coach Scott Brooks has been fired, according to a statement made by the team’s general manager, Sam Presti, just moments ago.
After losing James Harden to the Houston Rockets following the 2012 season, the Thunder’s core of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka was expected to continue to contend for NBA titles for years to come. However, major injuries to both Durant and Westbrook during the last two playoff runs have left the Thunder unable to fully compete, and this year, they missed the playoffs entirely.
All week, there has been speculation that Brooks might not make it to next season, and two NCAA coaches–Florida’s Billy Donovan and UConn’s Kevin Ollie–were rumored to be front-runners for Brooks’ job, but Ollie released a statement today that he is fully committed to remaining Connecticut’s coach next season, opening the door for another viable candidate.
It’ll be interesting to see how this decision plays a role–if it plays one at all–in the major decision Kevin Durant has to make next summer, when he will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.
Russell Westbrook is the most difficult player to evaluated in the history of the NBA. No one has truly found a place to put him in yet. Point Guard, shooting guard, playmaker, turnover-machine, all have been said in order to analyze his game. But Westbrook has never been one to be defined, having broken the model of what it means to be a point guard. He isn’t a point guard, he isn’t a shooting guard, he is a player that will do whatever it takes to win the game. From winning All-Star MVP in Madison Square Garden this past February, to dropping a triple-double 3 days after having facial surgery; Westbrook can’t be defined by any other label than straight baller. Thoughout the season Westbrook has had some many memorable moments on and off the court. Check out the season that Westbrook has had.
Of course he’s rooting for them, but he’ll never tell
Last night, the Oklahoma City Thunder took care of business at home and beat the Portland Trailblazers to remain neck and neck with the New Orleans Pelicans for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, meaning both teams’ seasons will come down to the year’s final games on Wednesday. If the Pelicans beat the Spurs, they’re in the playoffs. If they don’t, and the Thunder beat the Timberwolves, Russell Westbrook will continue his record-setting play in the postseason.
Naturally, after last night’s win, reporters asked Westbrook if he’ll be a one-and-done Spurs fan on Wednesday, silently rooting for Tony Parker and company to down a resilient Pelicans squad. His response? GTFOH.
As the 2014-15 NBA regular season comes to an end, there’s still one lingering question, who is going to be this years Most Valuable Player? In previous NBA MVP races, there have been two likely winners, in other years there’s often one unanimous winner. This MVP race, however, is much too close to call. This year’s candidates for the NBA’s most prestigious individual award are Stephen Curry, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Lebron James, and Anthony Davis, and you can make a valid argument for each player, as to why they should be named this year’s MVP.
Should it be Stephen Curry, since his Golden State Warriors have the best record in the league, or should it be James Harden for carrying his Rockets without Dwight Howard?LeBron left South Beach for a second stint with Cleveland, and his Cavaliers sit comfortably as the Eastern Conference’s #2 seed, hoping to make a championship run in the playoffs, while the Heat–just one year removed from an NBA Finals appearance–need a miracle just to play postseason basketball this time around. Davis and Westbrook are the two fringe candidates, and one of their hopes will coming crashing down within a week, considering only one of their teams will sneak into the Western Conference playoffs as the #8 seed. Though they’ve both enjoyed ridiculous years statistically, whoever’s team is left out of the playoffs will have to watch their name will be pulled from MVP consideration, as there has never been an MVP whose team did not make the playoffs.
We’ve built a case for why each player has a real case to win this year’s 2014-15 NBA MVP award. Let us know if you agree or disagree.