Loud Links: Oklahoma City Thunder News for July 8, 2009

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Loud Links return on Welcome to Loud City for 7/8/9 day.  I know these posts have been missing few the past few days, but I had rather important issues to handle. Anyway, back to the links. There is plenty of news revolving around OKC’s Summer League team. Presti likes to hush all naysayers of his draft selections with the Orlando games. Last year everyone was shock when Presti drafted Westbrook, but Russell proved himself worthy in Orlando. The same could be said this year with Harden. Other than his jump shot, not much has been surprising about Byron Mullens. One of the biggest surprises is Serge Ibaka. Serge has display great athleticism, shot blocking, a decent jump shot, and some nice post moves as well. If Ibaka really does join the roster this year he could easily become a fan favorite.

 

azcentral.com blogs - Doug Haller : A conversation with Derek Glasser
"Talking to him the whole time and (assistant) Coach (Scott) Pera, I knew that 3 was a 50-50 chance. It was either him or Ricky Rubio. I thought the whole time he was going 3 because Russell Westbrook had such a good year last season. Why would they want to draft Rubio and take him off the ball? And James fit so perfect at (scoring guard) for them. I figured Oklahoma City would take him, but if they didn't, James might have had some problems. He might have slid all the way to eight, because he wasn't going to Sacramento at No. 4. The Knicks said that if he dropped to 8 they were guaranteed going to take him."

 

Nick Collison says Thunder is ready for the next step | NewsOK.com
"We’ve had a lot of experimentation the past couple of years with changes in our organization," Collison said. "They’ve done a good job. But we have to change the mind-set to where we don’t accept losing. It’s no longer a period where we’re trying things out."

THUNDER: Thunder Summer League Preview
"We feel that we have a team, a group of guys that need that experience in the summer," Brooks said. "So we’re putting more emphasis in our summer program. We’ve been out and visited most of the players on our team in their cities where they are at. So we’re putting a lot of emphasis into summer league to see where they are, see what we need to work on going forward."

NBA notes: - The News-Herald Sports
One rumor circulating is that Oklahoma City might make former Cavs forward/center Anderson Varejao an offer. That doesn't add up. Sure, he would be a perfect fit for the emerging Thunder. But Thunder GM Sam Presti is best friends with Cavs GM Danny Ferry. They have a buddy-buddy system going strong, and the perception is Presti would not do anything to hurt Ferry's team.

2009 Orlando Pro Summer League - What To Look For? - Ridiculous Upside
Shortly after that game ends, Orlando and OKC will matchup. OKC is essentially playing every player they have in the Summer League, so they're probably the favorites. Orlando has a team of former D-Leaguer's, undersized guards, and a couple of Euro-bigs I have no idea about, so they should be a fun team to watch, I guess. Orlando has some of the best players from the D-League last season (Lance Allred, Rich Hendrix, Kasib Powell and Ron Dupree). I'll be watching to see what OKC does with their backcourt. In theory, they could start some combination of Shaun Livingston, Russell Westbrook and James Harden - all of which can play two positions in Summer League ball.

The Back of the Envelope Guide to the Orlando Pro Summer League (Which You Can Watch Online) - ESPN
Oklahoma City Thunder * Russell Westbrook He's a fantastic NBA player who needs no introduction. I imagine he's here because his shooting percentage is low, and this might be a chance to work on ways to get it higher. * James Harden The Thunder are counting on great things from their lottery pick. * Serge Ibaka Many articles have been written about the Thunder's many young players with potential. Most forget to mention the African big man who has been playing in Europe. He gets a chance to make an American name for himself this week. * Shaun Livingston The former lottery pick who played well for the Thunder last year gets to continue re-inventing himself after a devestating knee injury while playing for the Clippers.

Orlando Summer League: Roster check | Dime Magazine
Russell Westbrook/James Harden (Thunder) — OKC’s backcourt of the future. I gave up trying to boycott the Thunder about three weeks into last season, and now Westbrook/Harden might make them appointment viewing. I can still wish bad things upon Clay Bennett, though.

NBA free agency: Three defining trends of this offseason - ESPN Insider
Moreover, the market for those players to get anything above the midlevel exception is basically gone. Unless they can persuade one of the above teams to join in the bidding, somebody like Lee or Millsap could end up settling for the midlevel exception or playing on a one-year deal for a scandalously low qualifying offer -- $1.03 million for Millsap, $2.68 million for Lee.

2009 Orlando Pro Summer League Preview | Sir Charles In Charge | An NBA Blog
The Thunder are going to have a pretty dynamic backcourt of Russell Westbrook and Shaun Livingston. Westbrook as you already know had an impressive rookie campaign and will dominate this summer. He is my pick for the MVP. Livingston is still trying to work his way back from his gruesome knee injury (don’t watch if you’re queasy). I’m not sure how much these two will play together this summer though they both are pretty special players with unique skills. Joining them in the backcourt is the number three pick in this year’s draft James Harden. Many people thought the Thunder may have fumbled this pick a bit, but this is a perfect place for Harden to prove the doubters wrong. The game is not going to get much easier for Harden playing with Westbrook and Livingston. He is sure to get a lot of shots off their creativity.

Orlando: Harden Impressive in Debut - Basketball News & NBA Rumors - HOOPSWORLD
In any case, it was a great opportunity to see what the Thunder may have in store next year with its No. 3 draft pick, James Harden. Even in this first summer league game, it was apparent why General Manager Sam Presti selected this former Arizona State 6'5" shooting guard over the unknown, i.e. Ricky Rubio. Harden scored 17 points off the bench, going six-for-nine in 21 minutes of play. He had one steal, one blocked shot, four rebounds, three turnovers and went three-for-three at the free throw line. A key stat, one which will make Thunder fans take note, is that he made two three-pointers out of three attempts. No other player connected on a three-point play. Recall that the Thunder was dead last in three-point attempts last season….so this bodes well.

Orlando: Westbrook Enjoying Himself - Basketball News & NBA Rumors - HOOPSWORLD
"James Harden is going to be good for us," stated Westbrook. "He can shoot the ball real well. He's smooth; he does a lot of things at a nice pace. He's also learning. It's a learning process for him as well. He's going to continue to learn and get better."

Don't Forget Shaun Livingston - Basketball News & NBA Rumors - HOOPSWORLD
Well, Livingston is back, back playing point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and doing it pretty well. "I proved to myself that I can come back and ultimately I think I can get back to where I was, but it's about winning - winning basketball games," said Livingston at the Orlando Summer League. "At the end of the day if I'm on the court helping them win basketball games, I'm doing my job."

Summer League — Day One " nbaroundtable
Russell Westbrook has the honour of being the best player in camp, and James Harden could very well be the second best player here. The Thunder have a lot of their own players on the team, six players who are expected to be on their roster next season, and nine in total when you include players who’s draft rights they own. If you’re a SL invitee, this is not a squad you want to be on, because opportunities will be few and far between.

Thunder big man Serge Ibaka drawing plenty of praise | NewsOK.com
Ibaka may not have the immediate impact of a Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook or even a James Harden, but the No. 24 pick of the 2008 NBA Draft is clearly a keeper. He followed up a 6-for-8 shooting performance in his summer league debut with a 6-for-7 effort in Tuesday night’s 91-88 loss to Indiana, impressing even Roy Hibbert, who started 42 games as a rookie last season.

Thunder notebook: James Harden impresses with attitude and hustle | NewsOK.com
In the third quarter of Tuesday’s 91-88 loss against Indiana, Oklahoma City rookie James Harden dribbled into the frontcourt and was swarmed by Pacers hopefuls Trey Johnson and Anthony Smith, getting the ball ripped away and losing possession.

Oklahoma City council approves plans for Thunder practice facility | NewsOK.com
The city council approved final plans for the project Tuesday. The council also awarded a multitude of contracts for pieces of a $100 million renovation of the Ford Center to bring it to NBA standards.

NBA offseason rankings - ESPN Insider
The Thunder are the "it" team among NBA junkies, who have a crush on Sam Presti for quickly turning a bad team into the best young team in the league. Kevin Durant is a superstar in the making. Russell Westbrook could be special. And Harden is a nice addition -- a savvy guard with an old-school game who will be fine playing third fiddle to Durant and Westbrook. If you factor in that last year's other draft pick, Serge Ibaka, has been looking pretty good in summer league, and that Mullens has enormous potential, the Thunder appear to be bursting at the seams with talent. However, their reticence to make a play in the free-agent market and their voiding of the Tyson Chandler deal in February mean that the Thunder won't be much better than the squad that suited up last season. Eventually, the Thunder will have to take some risks and add some veterans into the mix. I don't blame Presti for being patient, but next year he's probably going to have to make a big move.

NBA Financial News - 2009-10 Salary Cap set at $57.7 Million
Two things: depending on how well a team does this year (namely Toronto and Miami) the likelihood of retaining a superstar only increases. It also means that the savvy GM’s in the league, like Sam Presti of Oklahoma City, have put their teams in the best position possible given the desperate clearance of most teams to get under the luxury tax to accommodate lowered BRI’s.

SportingNews.com - Four More Years! Coach K Returns to Olympics
On the wing Michael Redd and Tayshaun Prince are clearly out. Kevin Durant steps in for one of those spots without question. He'd have size to bother opponents and be an excellent second-unit scorer. If you wanted to go with a defensive specialist, you could certainly look at Trevor Ariza. The good thing about him is you wouldn't be looking for an early commitment like with some of the other stars, so you'd have time to see if he was a one-year wonder and could function outside of Los Angeles. If you strictly wanted to go with a young, rising talent, Danny Granger would slide in nicely to one of these spots.

 

 

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