Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuesday's Five

1. Kevin Durant's PER is at a solid 19.48 right now compared to 15.87 for his rookie season. He ranks 37th in the league in PER, ahead of players like Carmelo Anthony, Gerald Wallace and Rashard Lewis. The two categories KD really needs to improve in order to get into "elite" status are assists and cut down of turnovers. Something many don't realize is that Durant ranks SIXTH in the entire league in scoring at 23.8 ppg, and THIRD in the West. And he's in his second year and is 20 years old. Durant actually ranks ninth in the league in three point percentage (44.4). One other thing is that under Scott Brooks, KD is averaging about seven more minutes per game than under P.J. Carlesimo. I had that as one thing that needed to change for Durant almost two months ago.

2. A somewhat disturbing stat: Oklahoma City has hit 135 three pointers on the season. The team is shooting a pretty solid 38 percent from three which ranks 11th, but the 135 made ranks second to last. Between Jeff Green and Kevin Durant, those two have made 89 threes (Green 45, Durant 44), accounting for 66 percent of OKC's made threes. The next highest total comes from Damien Wilkins who has made 16 on the year, followed by Russell Westbrook who has 15. After that, Earl Watson has 11, Kyle Weaver three and Joe Smith one. I think three point shooting is an issue.

3. David Thorpe on Russell Westbrook: "Westbrook has not disappointed his coaches on either side of the ball. He notched his third five-steal game of the season on New Year's Eve after scoring 31 points two nights earlier. The Thunder were expecting the steals, but not the points this early in his first season. He's scoring well while still not being a good shooter, a skill that can be improved over time. That bodes well for both Westbrook and the Thunder." Hmm. Seems like somebody else was saying that about Russell. Look out league if he can get a consistent jumper? Yep.

4. Nenad Krstic appears to be fitting in nicely with his new team. He's already been given the nickname "Krispy." There's no definite word on whether Krispy will play tonight against the Knicks, but all signs point to yes. He's been cleared to play and the way Scott Brooks talked, I bet minutes will be limited (something like 8-10), but we should get a look at him at least.

5. Kevin Durant leads the Thunder in blocks with 30. The next closest player is Nick Collison with 24. And if you're wondering, no, Krispy is not a big-time shot blocker. He has averaged just 0.7 bpg over his NBA career.

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