OKC Loud Links: Predictions and Rankings

The NBA community continues to forge ahead, producing things worth reading despite the seeming stagnation that is going on with the league and labor talks. After all, we have to waste our time on something or other.

Mayberry: Early Predictions for Next Season | NewsOK

Mayberry expects Serge Ibaka to average a double-double and Russell Westbrook's assist numbers to go down. I agree with both of these predictions, but the former to me is the most intriguing. If the Thunder want to make themselves into a truly unguardable team, they would do well to make Ibaka a low-post feature. Get his scoring up into the 16 PPG range, and the team would have very few weaknesses left.

Understanding and Fixing the CBA Mess | Daily Thunder

Here is a good look at the hard cap vs flex cap debate, as well as how the mid-level exception can be altered to better accommodate the players in the league.

History of the Blazers: The Drexler Era Part I | Blazers Edge

The Trail Blazers's SB Nation site continues to do a phenomenal job looking back at the team's history, and we're to a point where probably a good many of us can actually remember some of these players and teams. Although the team had the misfortune of playing during the time when the Lakers, Pistons, and Bulls ran the roost, they were still mighty good in their own right.

Ranking Every Player for 2011 | Wages of Wins

Exactly what it sounds like. Galletti does do us the favor though of grouping it by team, and we can see how each player stacks up on his team, by position, and overall. Good news for the Thunder - three of the top 50 players in the league start for them.

Free Agency: Big Names | Wages of Wins

The WoW fellas run down the list of all available free agents this summer, both restricted and unrestricted. They also offer their insight as to which ones would make the biggest contribution.

Bill Russell's Statue Finds a Home | WEEI

Celtic legend Bill Russell has been honored with a statue in his likeness, which will rest in City Hall Plaza in Boston. The statue is fitting, because Russell is iconic in the same way that other men such as Muhammead Ali are iconic.

More links after the jump.

 

Lowe ranks all of the available wing players that can be had in this off-season. Fortunately, I think the Thunder are good at the starting small forward spot.

The Top 593 Players of 2012 | Basketball Reference

It is never too early to rank players for next season, so this guy ranked all of them. Pity, Josh Powell

 

Kobe Bryant: Crunch Time Statistics | ESPN

It's been a few months, so it seems like a good time to rehash the whole "Is Kobe Clutch?" argument once more. Here is a tip though - the player who is really the most clutch in the league? He just won a ring.

Kobe's Dad to Coach LA Sparks | Ball Don't Lie

Kobe Bryant's dad, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, has been tapped to become the WNBA LA Sparks' new head coach. Can an intra-scrimmage between Lakers and Sparks be too far behind???

Jim Gray and the Decision: One Year Later | Sports Radio Interviews

Of course he says would do it all again. It isn't as if Gray gives a shred of evidence that he comprehends why The Decision helped parlay LeBron James into persona non grata.  

What LeBron Can Learn From Muhammad Ali | Negative Dunkalectics

LeBron James Finds himself at a cross-roads, as he is approximately half-way through his career and has gone from The Chosen One to the guy people enjoy watching fail. This piece takes a look at how James can learn from Ali, who also had a divisive personality. One of the things that would probably suit James well is to stop acting the way he thinks people think he is supposed to act. Even Ron Artest the riot inducer was able to generate sympathy just by being honest with himself and others.

Speaking of Ron-Ron...

The Ron Artest Ultimate Comedy Hour | CelticsHub

You know how most pro athletes are intentionally guarded and uncontroversial in order to maximize their fan appeal? Ron Artest is the diametric opposite of that. And yet, his honesty and transparency is somehow disarming and relatable. Even so, fair warning - you cannot un-read this post, so be careful.  

Desmond Mason Goes from Slam Dunks to Silver Screen | Tulsa World

Desmond Mason, former Thunder guard and current local OKC artist, has decided to try his hand at acting. I think it's great for him, as he continues to stretch himself artistically as he leaves behind his pro hoops career.

D-I's Top 100 Players | Basketball Prospectus

Here is a short analysis on their ranking of college basketball's top 100 players. Or, in other words, 100 guys who are looking for a job in an unstable labor situation.

Unemployed Man Seeks Fortune in Casino | Ball Don't Lie

Hard times have fallen on many, indeed.

Draft Pick Scouting Report: Derrick Williams | NBA Playbook

Pruiti takes a closer look at the #2 pick  

KFC Looks to Hire Dwyane Wade to Work the Drive-Through | KFC

Stalwart fast food chain KFC has gone shopping for opportunity, where they try to tempt currently unemployed Dwyane Wade to help them sell their chicken. It's a smart move, and he'd probably do well to work with them. Unless of course he's more of a Popeyes' Chicken kind of guy. In any event, it is reminiscent of when Dairy Queen did something similar with Mark Cuban, and Cuban took them up on the offer. Victory was had by all.

Also, this story allows me to link this movie scene.

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