Loud Links: 10/19/10

Sorry guys, but I am in a total rush this morning. This is going to be quick and painless. No funny pictures.








Bill Simmons Must-See Opponents - From ESPN.com
Three things to follow with KD this season. First, Russell Westbrook made a leap of sorts this summer -- by the end of the world championships, he was Team USA's second-best player -- which can only help Durant's progress as the GATH (a cousin to the GOAT, the acronym here is for "Greatest At This Hour"). He might be playing with the best under-25 guard in basketball for all we know. Second, don't sleep on rookie Cole Aldrich -- he sets great picks, rolls to the rim, crashes the offensive boards and knows where to be. Durant hasn't had someone setting him a decent pick at any point in his career. Now he does.

Bill Simmons, ranking teams he wants to see with his L.A. Clippers season tickets, lists the Thunder at #3, behind Boston and Miami, in that order.

I already feel sorry for the guy because he gets to watch a team that has had precicsely two winning seasons since moving to Los Angeles in 1984. This isn't lost on Simmons or anyone else, pretty much attributing his investment (Clipper season tix range between $333 for upper level baseline to over $40k for 1st row courtside) to the hype around Blake Griffin.

On second thought, I'd get excited too.

Upstart Thunder could be Lakers' biggest challenge- from foxsportswest.com
This past Sunday prior to the Lakers preseason game against the Jazz, some of the veterans (Kobe, Artest, Odom) were talking about last year’s playoff run with the rookies (Caracter, Ebanks, Johnson). Guess what series the vets told the rooks was the toughest. Not Phoenix or Boston, but rather Oklahoma City. That’s right. The Thunder gave the Lakers their biggest challenge on the way to last season’s repeat. "Oklahoma City was the toughest series we had," said Ron Artest. "They played hard on every possession, and they had five shot blockers on the court at all times. One through five can block shots."

Well, I'm glad the Lakers took notice.

The author refers to the Thunder as "potential young party crashers," an identity I am totally at peace with. I like the thought of people checking their schedules, seeing games against Oklahoma City in the Ford Center (or whatever they're gonna call it now,) and feeling a lead weight hit the bottom of their gut.

Thunder transition defense 'pathetic' in win over Spurs - from newsok.com
"It was pathetic," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "It's something that we're not proud of. They did a great job of really running out and scoring off of our misses. The first part of our transition defense is getting a good shot. We have to be able to consistently get a good shot every time downcourt so we have good floor balance and can get back in transition."

A good reminder that last season's success means precisely squat. Brooks was forced to play his starters while the Spurs were resting theirs to pull out this win, and if the bench can't bring that transistion game each and every night like they had problems with last night, this is going to be a long season.

Also, it seems Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook will be taking the night off tonight against Denver, so I suppose it'll be a good chance to see if the bench's ability to keep Carmelo Anthony and the always-tough Nuggets away from fast break oppertunities proves last night was a fluke or a problem.

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