Welcome to Loud City presents the Saturday edition of Loud Links! I just got back from the meet and greet with the newest Thunder members. Just in case you think James Harden is chubby, you are dead wrong. Byron Mullens chucked up an air ball, which drew a couple of friendly laughs. The new members were sociable and actually made rounds to say hello to everyone attending. In fact Harden caught me of guard when he approached me. I thought he was elsewhere in the crowd. I’ve posted a few pics. It is a very hot day in Oklahoma City so you’ll see a lot of brow wiping.
As far as news is concerned there isn’t much to report. There is more analysis of the Thunder’s picks. DailyThunder.com reports the new player’s jersey numbers. Collison was supposedly used as trade bait to get the #2 pick from the Grizzlies. As always there is more to read, so read on…
The Balance Of Power: West - Basketball News & NBA Rumors - HOOPSWORLD
With the addition of Harden combined with the way Oklahoma City finished last season, the Thunder seem poised to move up the Western Conference standings next year. It doesn't seem likely that the Thunder will actually qualify for the playoffs, but don't be surprised if they are at least in the conversation with all the talent now on the roster. A veteran big man is still on the team's shopping list, too, since Mullens is more of a project. This is a team ready to make a big jump in the right direction.
Harden, Mullens and Vaden get welcomed to the Thunder | Daily Thunder.com - Where Thunder Happens
The MidFirst Bank caravan thing had a stop today and gave fans a chance to get to meet the Thunder’s three new guys. And for your info, James Harden will wear No. 13, B.J. Byron Mullens will wear No. 23 and Robert Vaden No. 30.
The Columbus Dispatch : NBA draft: Thunder, Mullens can benefit from late pick
Yesterday, ESPN.com draft analyst Chad Ford proclaimed Mullens "a terrific value pick" for the Thunder because of where it got him. At the end of last season, Oklahoma City's rotation included five players with two or fewer years in the NBA and only one with more than five years. "We're thrilled to add him to our team," Presti said. "We feel like he's someone who's got a great upside. We're looking forward to working with him. He's just a tremendous athlete for his size.
A day removed: 9 NBA draft thoughts/musings/witticisms
I like Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti a lot, but I can’t say I see eye to eye with his decision to draft Arizona State shooting guard, James Harden, when he could have had Ricky Rubio or Stephen Curry. I guess they’re set on Russell Westbrook as their point guard of the future. I don’t know, I see him more as a Dwyane Wade type, a guy who played point guard as a rookie but ultimately became a guy who thrived as a shooting guard. Westbrook only averaged four assists-per-game in college and five assists-per-game as a rookie last year.
2009 NBA Draft Grades
Oklahoma City - B- I thought they had two really solid picks - James Harden and Robert Vaden - sandwiching one absolutely awful pick (B.J. Mullens). But if either Harden or Vaden develops into the 20-point scorer that they have shown signs of being then this was a really good draft for OKC. I'm a big Vaden fan.
Griz fail to land Randolph and much more! - The Memphis Edge
Cleveland (via Daniel Gibson and JJ Hickson), Charlotte (via Emeka Okafor and Nazr Mohammed), Dallas (via Josh Howard) and Oklahoma City (via Nick Collison) also made attempts to grab the No. 2 pick.
Hype, rumors didn't sway Thunder GM Sam Presti's draft decision | NewsOK.com
"If you understand how much of what’s being reported about your team and how much of that is actually bogus, then you know not to listen to stuff about other people’s teams," Presti said. "Because you know nine out of every 10 things they’re saying is completely wrong about us, we’re not going to listen."
B.J. Mullens: Another 7-footer for the Thunder? | NewsOK.com
Although an interior player with rebounding, shot-blocking and post-defense skills was the Thunder’s most pressing need going into the draft, Mullens has become a polarizing pick among many fans who can’t get past the franchise’s recent history of drafting 7-foot centers.
The Breakdown: Reasons to love James Harden | NewsOK.com
His number: Harden has worn No. 13 since high school. No fear. Then again, his nickname has always been "Lucky."
Moreau: The Morning After... - Basketball News & NBA Rumors - HOOPSWORLD
Harden was fortunate to land on a team with a plan, and he is a significant piece as the scoring two guard the Thunder lack. He knows going in exactly what his role is, and that is to be a supporting scorer for Kevin Durant. That should be an easy role for Harden to play. He is surrounded by young talent on the court, on the bench, and in the front office. And on top of all that, he can get a lot more house for the money.
NBA Saturday: Causes of the Fall - Basketball News & NBA Rumors - HOOPSWORLD
B.J. Mullens – 24th overall: The appeal of a young, promising big man like Mullens has decreased significantly over the years because of guys like Kwame Brown, Saer Sene, and Robert Swift. DeAndre Jordan saw himself fall all the way into the 2nd round last year, which Mullens was able to avoid this year by being willing to work out for all 1st round teams basically. Even the Cavaliers at 30 saw Mullens. There was speculation that Mullens could have gone as high as 15th to the Detroit Pistons but they opted for Austin Daye instead. For a short period of time teams were looking past Mullens' lack of production at Ohio State because of his great natural abilities. However, Mullens left a lot to be desired in a competitive setting and that's why he went 24th and was eventually traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.