Kevin Durant describes his friendship with Russell Westbrook as “really tight,” and it came into focus Thursday, when Durant chose Westbrook to present him for induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, as The Oklahoman’s Anthony Slater details. The bond between the Thunder teammates looms large, with Durant poised to hit free agency this summer and Westbrook to follow in 2017.
“There’s times where we go at it,” Durant said about Westbrook in a Q&A with Slater. “There’s times I don’t like what he’s doing out on the court, there’s times where he hates what I’m doing out on the court. There’s times where it’s Russ, you gotta control your attitude or KD, you gotta stop, you gotta speak up, whatever. There’s times we cuss each other out, but that’s a part of being brothers. Because I know if I need something, he’ll be there and if I need to talk to someone outside of basketball, he’ll be there. It’s a real brotherhood type relationship. We’re like family.”
- Alec Burks is playing at a more controlled pace and making better on-court judgments, Jazz coach Quin Snyder said, and that’s helped him come back better from the shoulder injury that prematurely ended last season than he was before it, as Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune examines. Much of his improvement is in the details, the coach also asserts, according to Falk. “There are a lot of little things, habits that are hard. Literally, which foot do you want forward? … All those things that maybe you don’t see add up,” Snyder said.
- Jazz draft-and-stash signee Raul Neto isn’t quite seeing starter’s minutes, but he’s in the starting lineup and impressing Snyder, as Falk details in a separate piece. “I think he’s handled it great,” Snyder said. “If you look at a lot of international players, and particularly the guards, there’s an adjustment period. I think he’s way ahead of that.”
- The Timberwolves have a long way to go, and the front office surely knows it, but the defensive play of their starting lineup has been top-notch and No. 1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns is showing offensive versatility with his shooting and post-up game, observes Evans Clinchy of Hardwood Paroxysm.