With the addition of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook is “really trying to adjust his game,” according to our guest, Andrew Schlecht (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).
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The Oklahoma City Thunder turned heads around the NBA this offseason when they added stars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. So far, though, integrating them into the team hasn’t been a smooth process. Before back-to-back wins against the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks, they had been riding a four-game losing streak and were winless against the Western Conference. Andrew Schlecht, host of the Down to Dunk and OKC Dream Team podcasts and contributor to Daily Thunder, joined us to try to diagnose what exactly has gone wrong and whether or not the Thunder should be worried. See what we’re rumbling about in these electric excerpts below (all time stamps approximate):
5:00-5:40: “Overall, there doesn’t seem to be any worry or panic within the team at all. They’re still pretty casual about everything. And then as a fan and somebody who’s watching them, you just have to wait. Even a team with some continuity will evolve over a season. So, there’s not a lot of worry. The team has a ton of talent, they’ve got talent on both sides of the ball, so you’d think they’re going to put it together. Luckily, really besides the Warriors and Rockets, there’s nobody that’s so far ahead of them in the Western Conference that the four or three seed are out of reach. So, they have that on their side.”
9:00-9:40: “They’ve relied heavily on isolation in all of their losses. I think that they can look at all those and say, ‘Wow, that did not work.’ The ball did not move. Basically, if you could not create your own shot, or if your name wasn’t Steven Adams, you weren’t going to touch the ball for any meaningful time. Continue reading
Rookie Joel “The Process” Embiid has almost singlehandedly made the Philadelphia 76ers fun to watch again (Instagram/@joelembiid).
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Four games into the season, the Philadelphia 76ers are again winless, and the franchise hasn’t won a pre-December regular-season game since the 2013-14 season. This time, however, Sixers fans are
enjoying the process marveling at Joel “The Process” Embiid rather than commiserating about tanking. Jake Fischer of SB Nation’s Liberty Ballers and SI.com joins the show and raves about Embiid’s impressive debut and transformative potential. Along with 2016 No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons, whose highly anticipated debut will have to wait, last season’s NBA All-Rookie First Team member Jahlil Okafor and rookie Dario Saric, Embiid’s emergence brings optimism back to Philadelphia basketball. Fischer also examines the Sixers’ glut of similar bigs and identifies the likely odd man out. Not since Iverson and Iguodala respectively crossed over opponents and soared through the sky has there been so much unbridled joy and passion around this fan base. Peep the excerpts below:
1:59-2:23: Fischer starts out describing the aforementioned new aura of positivity around the 76ers faithful: “It’s a complete 180 from the last couple years. There’s still the good-hearted humor of ‘Oh, I wonder which new way we’ll find out this team can lose a game tonight,’ but at the same time there’s an optimism now I think that fans truly have thought, at least in these first four games, that the team has a shot at winning every night just because Embiid’s out on the floor.”