Oklahoma City has not been right so far this season. The offense ends up in too much isolation for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The defense lacks the tenacity it had last season, teams are shooting well against them. OKC is not creating turnovers and converting those into the spectacular transition points we expect.
But they are above water at 4-3, thanks to free throws.
No team in the NBA gets to the line more often then Oklahoma City — they have attempted more free throws in ratio to field goals attempted than any team in the league (35.4 percent). Durant has averaged 10 free throws a game, Westbrook 9, Jeff Green another 6.8. As a team they average 32.6 free throws a game.
And they are converting them at a record 87.3 percent. As a team they are shooting just shy of 90 percent. For comparison, the best team free throw percentage for a season was the 89-90 Boston Celtics at 83.2 percent. OKC is 4 percent higher than that right now.
All this is keeping the Thunder in games when everything else isn’t working. And that’s part of the plan, coach Scott Brooks said told the Oklahoman.
“That is the personality of our offense,” Brooks said. “We want to get to the rim, attack the basket and get to the free-throw line. It’s a great asset to have.”
You get the feeling that the Thunder will work out their other problems, that this is just is just the fluctuations one should expect from a young team. Learning to win at the next level, as the hunted and not the hunter, is hard. But if you have one thing you can fall back on — say getting to the line a lot and converting — you have a cushion that allows time to work everything else out.
Despite the Warriors’ loss in the Finals, it’s been a good summer for Harrison Barnes. He signed a four-year, $94 million deal in Dallas and won a gold medal with Team USA at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. And maybe best of all, he got engaged on Saturday night, as he revealed on Twitter:
Congrats to Barnes and his new fiancée.
Shortly after winning a title with the Cleveland Cavaliers, veteran guard Mo Williams picked up his $2.2 million option for next season, choosing to take the guaranteed money on the table for him rather than test free agency at age 33. But he might not be with the Cavs this season — the Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Joe Vardon reports that Williams is considering retiring from playing due to lingering knee problems, and the Cavaliers could waive him under the stretch provision in the coming days.
Williams, 33, a 13-year veteran and former All-Star who played a supporting role in the Cavs’ 2016 NBA championship, is strongly considering retirement, multiple sources told cleveland.com.
From Williams’ side of this, he battled a left-knee issue for most of last season while playing in just 41 regular-season games, as his playing time dwindled once Irving returned from knee surgery and the coaching staff chose to stick with Matthew Dellavedova as Irving’s backup.
Sources said his balky knee, desire to coach — especially younger players and children — and the obvious chance to go out as a champion are weighing heavily upon him.
Vardon reports that the Cavs are considering stretching him before the August 31 deadline, but are holding off for now because they want to leave open the possibility of a trade with another team to take on his salary. Either way, it looks as though Williams is done after 13 seasons in the NBA.
I’d say the obvious — it’s sickening to turn a murder of a mom of four, a genuine tragedy, into a political opportunity — but that has become the way of politics. What line of decorum?
None the less, it’s sickening. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tweeted about the tragic death of Dwyane Wade‘s cousin Nykea Aldridge, who was pushing her stroller down a Chicago street this week when two men got into a gunfight (reportedly gang-related) and a bullet killed Aldridge.
Trump tweeted what you see below (actually, what is below is a tweet edited by his staff, the original one misspelled Wade’s first name, putting “Dwayne” instead):
Later, this Tweet came up, again from his staff.
(So you know, you can tell which tweets come from Trump and which from his aids based on the device used to post it.)
Trump’s Tweet is part of his recent apparent attempted outreach to minority voters, which is not about them and more about trying appease concerns of white, middle-class suburban voters (for example, outside Philadelphia, in a swing state). Polls show Trump struggling with those suburban voters, in part because they see him as bigoted.
As you might expect, Twitter unloaded on Trump for his tone deaf and incendiary Tweet. Not that he cares, people are talking about him and that seems his primary goal. Actor Don Cheadle was one of the most prominent.
It’s sad this has become a focus and not Nykea Aldridge — and what can be done to prevent the next Nykea Aldridge.
The relationship between Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler was the subject of much scrutiny last season in Chicago. Reports of tension between the two stars never fully went away, and they proved to be an awkward fit together on the court. But any hard feelings between the two of them appear to be in the past as Butler posted a photo on Instagram of the two former teammates (and Rose’s son, P.J.) hanging out together at a Dodgers game in Los Angeles, where they both work out in the summer.