One couldn’t have imagined a worse outcome for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2014-15 season. A massive plague of injuries kept the team below full strength for the entire campaign. Specifically, Kevin Durant missed 55 games, Serge Ibaka missed 18 games and Russell Westbrook missed 15 games. The other four rotation players who started and finished the season with OKC – Anthony Morrow, Steven Adams, Andre Roberson and Nick Collison – missed between eight and 16 games each. All those missed
In recent weeks, there have been a number of folks advancing the theory that someone other than Andrew Wiggins deserves Rookie of the Year. There was a piece that said Nikola Mirotic was more deserving. There was another that said the award should go to Nerlens Noel. There was even one that said the top rookie is Elfrid Payton. Get a grip, people. Mirotic, Noel and Payton all have had fine rookie campaigns. All three are putting together strong finishes to their season. And
Each time the Rockets play the Thunder, four names immediately come to mind: Jeremy Lamb, Kevin Martin, Steven Adams and Mitch McGary. With all draft picks now liquidated, those players make up the return Oklahoma City received for James Harden in October 2012. Martin left the Thunder in free agency after one season off the bench, and the others all score fewer than eight points per game. That’s it. Lamb, who was supposedly the trade’s crown jewel as the No. 12 pick in 2012, isn’t
NBA players aren’t the only ones susceptible to rookie mistakes. NBA writers and editors are, too. I spent nearly 20 years in newsrooms, and every year in late March, we received a staff-wide email warning us of April Fool’s jokes masquerading as news releases. At a later point in my career, I became the one writing these emails, cautioning the staff. Be careful. Don’t assume, no matter how innocuous the release may be. Make a phone call. If something sounds hinky, it
Rajon Rondo is now in his ninth NBA season. He has led the league in steals once and in assists twice. He is second among active players in triple-doubles. He has made the All-Defensive Team twice and the All-Defensive Second Team twice more. He is a four-time All-Star. And he has a championship ring from 2008 with the Boston Celtics. And he still can’t shoot. That’s the biggest gripe with Rondo, other than the fact that he can be more than a
When Derrick Rose suffered a torn meniscus late last month, you could forgive Chicago Bulls fans if their reaction was, “Yeah, we’ve seen this movie before.” It was Rose’s third serious knee injury in less than three years, and in the grand scheme of things actually contained some good news: It wasn’t a season-ending injury. Four to six weeks? Hey, fantastic! Usually when Derrick gets hurt, it’s four to six months! We can deal with four to six weeks! And they can.
Earlier this week, we ran a blog post that led with the fact that Andrew Wiggins is running away with the Rookie of the Year race. What the post did not fully explain is how far ahead Wiggins is when compared to the rest of his classmates. It’s more than the injuries to fellow 2014 draft picks such as Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, Aaron Gordon and Julius Randle which propelled Wiggins to the head of the class almost by default. It’s more than Wiggins
Mitch McGary was unexpectedly thrown into the spotlight this week. He’s going to be there a while. The burly rookie forward of the Oklahoma City Thunder had spent most of his first NBA season recovering from injuries while toiling in the D-League. Prior to Sunday, he had played just eight minutes over two games this season while averaging 14.7 points and 7.8 rebounds in eight games for the Blue, Oklahoma City’s affiliate. But on Sunday, the Thunder were hosting the Los Angeles