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Kevin Durant's a team player, Nick Collison concerned about ankle, Hope for Thunder Defense, More...


So I haven't posted a Loud Links all week, and its about time I got around to it. I have to admit I'm still trying to make that adjustment back into basketball season, which can call for three or more posts per day on gamedays (Gameday, Open Thread, and Game Recap), and I haven't been able to get as much commentary and editorial type pieces up as I'd like to. I will say that there are a few ideas rattling around in my head, and although they will take some time to get up and running, I'm hoping to add another dimension to the blog as soon as the resources to do so become available. Until then, I'll do my best to try and get more original commentary up between games and on off days. But right now, lets get on with today's edition of Loud Links which features plenty of articles that might peak your interest and also a header that you might think is new, when in actuality it was rough first draft that got trimmed back down. Anyway, I felt like using it today, so there you go, not that it even matters.

First up in today's edition of Loud Links is Kevin Durant, and get used to it because a lot of today's links have to do with our boy KD, and why not? Dude is sick amazing right? Right. So anyway, Kevin wants everybody to know that he's a team player, and is also an example of an athlete using twitter in the proper way, according to the Hoopsworld contemplates the next step in Kevincredible's development, while Slam Online selects KD as #8 in their Top 50. Of course we have to throw the True Hoop article in which Henry Abbott basically said that the Thunder were a better team when Durant wasn't on the floor, even though I personally could really care less about what Henry Abbot thinks, or +/- stats for that matter. Nick Collison still having ankle problems and newsok also hits on Kevin Durant's foul trouble issues so far this pre-season. Remember Chris Wilcox? Sure you do, he was a member of the Thunder for a few months, and with the Sonics for a few years before that. Anyway he's excited about the change of atmosphere he is experiencing in Detroit. Finally, Oklahoma City is one of the best places to "Launch," Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks hasn't settled on a starting lineup for opening day, and there is still a Glimmer of hope for the Thunder defense. So make the jump and check out all the links and don't forget to drop a comment or two.

Kevin Durant Wants You to Know He's a Team Player
"I felt like I wanted to defend myself,'' Durant said in an interview with FanHouse while the Thunder was in Tulsa for Wednesday's 96-91 preseason win over Miami. "I've let a lot of stuff slide. I shouldn't have done it. But when contributions to this team [are questioned], I got kind of offended because I'm passionate and emotional about all that stuff. I try to do everything to my best of my ability. Some people overlook that, and don't see how hard we work every day.''

Athletes must be cautious using Twitter
Twitter can be a valuable tool when it encourages communication and gives individuals a chance to speak out on important issues. Earlier this week, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant posted a response to a recent TrueHoop blog criticizing his contributions to his team. I felt this was a very practical use of social media. It allowed Durant to defend himself when he lacked the resources to respond with an entire article or website.

NBA At 2: Next Step For Durant
"I've got to be more of a leader for this team," Durant told John Thompson on ESPN 980 in DC recently. "Lead by example. Be more vocal. Collectively as a group we got to find what we have been learning in training camp…Towards the end of the season last year which is become a better defensive team. I think if we all feed into what we are trying to do on the defensive end we will continue to get better."

SLAM ONLINE'sTop 50: Kevin Durant, no. 8
One of my favorite things about working for a magazine that covers basketball from high school through the pros is getting to watch players develop every step of the way, and see hoKevin Durantw my/our projections pan out. When I saw Kevin Durant play in high school, to be honest, I had my doubts. Not doubts about making the League or anything, especially because the scoring was obvious then, but his skinniness drove me to distraction and I could not project NBA greatness for him.

The Kevin Durant Conundrum - TrueHoop By Henry Abbott
The Thunder's big three, for instance, are Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Jeff Green. Last season, in the 387 minutes Westbrook and Green were on the floor without Durant, the team outscored opponents by a dozen points. In the 1,683 minutes all three of them were on the floor together, they were outscored by 245 points.

Thunder notebook: Nick Collison concerned about ankle; Kevin Durant plagued by foul trouble
"I haven’t even practiced, yet, so I’m definitely going to be behind," Collison said. "Yeah, I’m concerned. I’ll be fine eventually. You never want to be behind. But you also want to be 100 percent. I’m doing pretty good with the pain. It’s the explosiveness is what I don’t have."

New Piston Chris Wilcox excited over different atmosphere
The Pistons like the ingredients that Wilcox, 27, can bring to the roster with his 6-foot-10, 235-pound frame. He's big, athletic, and has shown an ability to finish around the basket. "He's somebody that plays with reckless abandon," coach John Kuester said. When, that is, Wilcox can stay out of foul trouble.

Best Places to Launch: Oklahoma City is a heartland haven
Oklahoma City has its drawbacks. Among the most tornado-prone cities in America, it has the dubious distinction of getting hit in 1999 by the worst twister on record, with winds topping 320 miles per hour. And forget about entertaining your visiting clients with top-notch sporting events: Oklahoma City has only one professional franchise, the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, which had its first season in 2008 and finished 26th in the league.

Thunder notebook: Coach Scott Brooks not ready to announce starting lineup for Season Opener
Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Jeff Green are locks. Thabo Sefolosha is the leading candidate to start at shooting guard. Nenad Krstic and Etan Thomas are competing for the center vacancy, but Nick Collison could be an option.

Glimmer of hope for Oklahoma City Thunder defense
The Thunder’s biggest need remains a dominant big man who can erase defensive lapses. But some teams offset interior deficiencies by using length and athleticism to create havoc on the perimeter.