As I’m sure you’ve all seen at this point, Russell Westbrook is having surgery today to repair a torn meniscus suffered in the second quarter of Wednesday’s game against the Rockets. This is, of course, bad news. I went full Michael Scott walking down the Boulevard at SMU when I saw the news on Twitter.

Westbrook embodies the Kellen Winslow ideal. He’s a soldier. He’s the closest thing I’ve seen in the NBA to an Iron Man, both Tony Stark and Cal Ripken. He is, until tipoff tomorrow night, the active leader in consecutive games played at 439. He never missed a game at UCLA, and while it’s not documented, he says he never missed a game in high school. It is a big dang deal that he isn’t playing.

That being said: He might not be out for long. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the injury is a minimal tear and that Westbrook could return in a matter of weeks, not months. Recently, Metta World Artest came back from a meniscus tear in 13 days. It’s foggy, but when he was at OU Blake Griffin came back from one in something like a week. We can rebuild him. We have the technology.

What do the Thunder do in the meantime, though? Hopefully the answer is win games and give Russ some time to rest. Reggie Jackson will probably (hopefully) get the keys to the offense and I’m excited to see how he works with the first team. He’s made a few plays recently that has me dreaming about him being a beard away from a Sixth Man trophy. The Thunder will definitely miss Westbrook’s production, but we may get to see a rare Kevin Durant performance in his absence. Much like his doppleganger Jamie Foxx, we may see KD go full Django on the Rockets these next few games. Unfortunately we also get more Derek Fisher. My beef with him is well documented on this site. I wonder how much “veteran leadership” translates into buckets nowadays.

So we’ve got a heartbreaker on our hands. We’ll see if the Thunder rise to the occassion or if the Rockets and that guy with the beard who flops a ton have an opportunity to steal one. I think Jackson is going to slot in well, and maybe Scott Brooks brings in Jeremy Lamb as a sharpshooter rather than giving DFish 20 minutes. But I’m an optimist, not a basketball player. So away we go.

Cloud Coverage: In Praise of Second Best

You don’t need me to tell you this, but Kevin Durant just turned in one of the most transcendent offensive seasons in NBA history. He becomes only the sixth member of the 50/40/90 club, reserved for players that shoot 50% from the floor, 40% on 3-pointers and 90% from the free throw line. (He’s the eighth if you count the seasons had by Steve Kerr and Jose Calderon in which they hit the percentages but didn’t make enough shots in a category to qualify for the “league leaders” list.) Durant is also the youngest player to make it into the club and his 28.15 points per game is the second highest scoring average for a 50/40/90 season behind Larry Bird’s 29 PPG in the 1987-88 season. So yeah, this was pretty good. Continue reading “Cloud Coverage: In Praise of Second Best”

Cloud Coverage: Gone Fishin’

Cloud Coverage (tentative name, please suggest better ones in the comments) is a new, hopefully weekly, column in which I try my hand at OKC Thunder beat writing. Let’s see how this goes.

The trade deadline came and went without much fanfare for Oklahoma City. Unrealistic dreams of a big move had filled my head for weeks leading up to that last day. Maybe Sacramento was ready to give up on Boogie Cousins (and maybe Presti and Brooks could beat some sense into him). What if Utah decided to skew younger with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter and let Paul Millsap slide over? These were the type of trades I wished would happen. What OKC got was Ronnie Brewer for a 2014 second round pick, and a trade exception for letting Eric Maynor play out his contract year in Portland. Not exactly the kind of splash you write home about. Continue reading “Cloud Coverage: Gone Fishin’”