There’s a lot of interesting stuff in there, but perhaps the most interesting note from Schuhmann’s diary is that Kevin Durant was the power forward in every lineup that he was a part of during Tuesday’s scrimmages.
Durant, of course, has almost exclusively been a three over the course of his NBA career, so the possibility of him playing the four during the FIBA games is a fascinating one.
Durant’s lack of bulk and strength, as well as the Thunder’s desire to keep Durant from getting beat up or into foul trouble, have prevented him from playing much power forward at the NBA level.
Fortunately for Durant, FIBA play means a wider key and more finesse-based forwards, both of which will make Durant’s “transition” to the power forward spot much easier; LeBron James was able to play the four very effectively for Team USA in the 2008 Olympics, despite his lack of experience at the position in NBA play.
Durant getting some experience at power forward in FIBA play could have some interesting implications for the Thunder once the NBA season starts. Jeff Green is more of a tweener forward than a true 4, and putting Durant on the blocks and Green on the perimeter from time to time could keep teams from loading up on the Thunder’s often stagnant offense. Durant obviously has the height, length, and touch to be a great post scorer (he’s also much stronger than he looks), but only 49 of Durant’s 828 made field goals last season came in post-up situations.
Regardless of how much Durant learning to play the 4 will impact his game, one thing is certain: If Team USA rolls out small-ball lineups like Rose/Billups/Iguodala/Durant/Odom and Rose/Curry/Billups/Durant/Love during the actual FIBA tournament, they are going to be a lot of fun to watch.
LeBron James sat out the Cavs’ preseason game against the Sixers on Thursday night, but Cleveland still held the lead for all but the final 5.4 seconds. Then, Sixers rookie Scottie Wilbekin did this:
Wilbekin, who played college ball at Florida, has a chance to earn legitimate minutes for the Sixers this season as they try to find young talent on the cheap. This is a good start.
Eight days ago, Derrick Rose had surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone suffered in training camp. The Bulls said he would be ready to resume basketball activities in two weeks, and in the meantime will rejoin practice soon. That part is still on schedule — head coach Fred Hoiberg says Rose will be with the team when they return to Chicago on Monday following a two-game preseason road trip, but unless the swelling in his eye dies down, it could be a little longer before he can start practicing again.
Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
It’s not ideal, but since there’s no structural damage to Rose’s face, once he’s cleared to resume practicing, it’s just a matter of getting back into game shape before he can start playing in games. The team is still optimistic he’ll be able to play opening night against the Cavaliers on October 27.