In this edition of Loud Links: A preview of KD’s new kicks. Rubio didn’t feel so well while visiting Sacramento. ESPN takes a look at "Thabeet" in popular music. Westbrook gets to meet President Obama. There is more draft speculation surrounding Griffin, Flynn, Sam Young, Harden, Rubio and many others. Take a looksie after the jump.
THUNDER: A Look At: Blake Griffin
Griffin improved in every major statistical category as a sophomore, averaging 22.7 points on 65.4% shooting, 14.4 rebounds and 1.17 blocks per game. He led the nation in rebounding and double-doubles (30), was second in field goal percentage and 11th in scoring. Griffin led the Sooners to the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament last spring, where OU lost to the eventual national champion North Carolina Tar Heels.
THUNDER: A Look At: Jonny Flynn
During his sophomore season at Syracuse, Flynn averaged 17.4 points, 6.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He capped his college career with outstanding postseason performances in which he led the Orangemen to the Big East Championship, which included an epic six-overtime affair, and the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Tournament.
NBA draft: John Hollinger's Player Rater - ESPN insider
To give you some context as to how the Draft Rater has performed in past drafts, I've included its projections for each draft going back to 2002. Each chart shows the top 12 college players picked by the Draft Rater, as well as where those players were actually selected among collegians on draft night. As the charts show, the Draft Rater has generally held up very well; in fact, in most years it has produced better results than the actual draft.
Chat: Chat with John Hollinger - SportsNation - ESPN
Kevin (Reno): Where do you think Sam Presti ranks on the list of best NBA GMs? Any thoughts on what the ex-Sonics should do this year? John Hollinger: The only proper grade for a GM in his position is an Incomplete. I think he's done a great job so far in accumulating assets, but that won't mean much until/unless OKC starts winning.
NBA draft: John Hollinger's Draft Rater 2009 - ESPN Insider
The truth about analytical methods is that once in a while you'll get a result that flies in the face of conventional wisdom. When that happens, it means one of two things: (1) that the analytics saw something that everybody else couldn't see, or (2) that everybody else saw something that the analytics couldn't see. And in the case of two particular players in this year's NBA draft, it will be very interesting to find out the answer. The draft is Thursday, June 25, and now that we know who's in and who's out, it's time to unveil this year's Draft Rater -- a statistical projection of the top NBA prospects coming out of the college ranks.
Rubio Visits Sacramento, Harden In OKC | Thunder Rumblings
Whether Sacramento is sold on the 18-year-old phenom’s abilities is something that probably is being decided during his visit. What’s become clear, however, is Rubio and representatives are eager to land in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee was granted an exclusive sit-down interview with Rubio at a downtown hotel late Tuesday night, allowing Rubio the opportunity to be seen and heard talking about the Kings’ roster and how he would fit. The Sacramento Bee also reported that Rubio doesn’t have any other visits scheduled on his trip. This despite earlier reports that he had planned on visiting Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers while in the country.
Will Rubio Visit OKC? | Thunder Rumblings
What’s growing more and more evident is Rubio doesn’t appear likely to workout for any of the additional teams he might visit over the next week. The ESPN.com report says the Thunder is pushing for a meeting, physical and a review of Rubio’s contract in Spain, adding that if he feels better and is up for the visit he will travel to Oklahoma City next.
Anniversary of Sonics' NBA title in '79 a bittersweet memory - Steve Aschburner - SI.com
"The NBA always has been a star-driven product, but that team's balance meant it wasn't one single name that carried us," said Wally Walker, a reserve Sonics forward then and later the team's president and general manager. "We had a couple of veteran guys and a lot of guys in their 20s. But it was so well-balanced. And we had a really good locker room."
NBA AM: Moving Al Jefferson? Harden at #3?
Harden At #3? There is little doubt that Blake Griffin is going number one overall, from there the water gets really murky. The Memphis Grizzlies are the wild card. They have made it clear that if they viewed Ricky Rubio as their guy, they would draft him regardless of the way his camp is handling things. Sources close to the situation say that should Rubio be off the board at #3 the Oklahoma City Thunder will go James Harden or Hasheem Thabeet. If Harden goes at #3, the Kings will not go Thabeet at #4 and Washington may pass on Thabeet at #5 meaning the 7-foot Thabeet might tumble. If the Grizzlies do not make a deal with Rubio, either to draft him #2 and trade him or keep him themselves, they are expected to draft Harden #2 overall and pair him with Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo, and could possibly trade Rudy Gay at some point this summer. That would leave OKC with either Rubio or Thabeet at #3, with sources close to the situation saying OKC would draft Rubio #3 and see what his value is. Either way it seems while Memphis is holding the lynch pin to the draft order, the OKC Thunder could really be the ones that dictate how things play out. It is now fairly clear that the Top 3 will be Griffin, Rubio and Harden - the question is what's the order they go in?
Hasheem Thabeet, in Song - TrueHoop By Henry Abbott - ESPN
If you are a fan of UConn center Hasheem Thabeet, who is likely to be very high draft pick next Thursday, then it's impossible to hear that song without assuming they are in fact saying "We Got Thabeet." Honestly, if you were to re-record the song in honor of the big man, it sound exactly like the original. They did a perfect job. But that's only the beginning...
2009 NBA Draft Preview: No. 25 Oklahoma City Thunder
The Pick: Sam Young, Pittsburgh, Forward. A good back-up for Durant, or someone that can play shooting guard while Durant plays the three. It’s something I’d like to see the Thunder try because both of them are terrific shooters. Young has a great mid-range game to go along with his perimeter shot. He is very strong and athletic and he is a great rebounder for his size (6-foot-7). Scouts call him the "master of the shot fake."
Nike KD II Kevin Durant - Spring 2010 | TheShoeGame.com
With the sucess of Kevin Durant’s first signature shoe, the KD1, Nike is set to release the second signature model next year. The KD1 was a very simple silhouette, and the KDII will follow in the same footsteps. Nike footwear designers spice things up a bit by adding a strap to the KDII. According to these images, the Nike KDII is off to a good start and should attract a strong following. Dropping Spring 2010 for $85.
THUNDER: Westbrook Meets Obama, Visits China
The Los Angeles native kicked things off with a trip through China as part of the NBA Jam Van. When he returned, his agent, Arn Tellem, had invited Westbrook to have dinner with President Obama at the Beverley Hills Hotel, where the president spoke at a fundraiser.