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Loud Links: Oklahoma City Thunder News for October 5, 2009

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The Monday edition of Loud Links during the offseason is generally speaking the most difficult day to compile links for because of the limited amount of stories being written over the weekend. Never the less we've put together a few articles of interest for Thunder fans this morning as you begin your work week. It's been a very long offseason, but as you read this, we're only 2 days away from the Thunder tipping off for their first pre-season game of the 2009-10 season. So while today's edition may be lacking just a little, hey I really don't have the knack for scouring the net and finding obscure articles about the Thunder and their players like daddydai did, but I assure you, you'll be able to look forward to plenty of info coming all week long in Loud Links in addition to our own content which should be showing up in a few hours as well.

In today's edition of Loud Links you can read about just how social networking sites like Twitter can not only be a positive force in professional sports, but can actually bring a young team closer together. Thunder guard Shaun Livingston is putting his knee injury behind him and is also raving about Thunder Rookie James Harden along with some of his other teammates. National writers and broadcasters believe the Thunder will be on the rise this coming season, well most of them do anyway, while others think the Thunder will finish with no better than 26 wins this season. Slam online takes a look at the Thunder and give you a full preview. And finally Kevin Durant is set to grace the cover of Dime Magazine and hoopsworld takes a focused look at his fantasy prospects for the upcoming season.

Twitter helps Thunder develop strong bond
Lucky for the Thunder coach, his players already have a jump on that. Thanks to Twitter. The social networking site has become all the rage among tech-savvy young professionals, which pretty much describes the core group on this Thunder squad. They are certainly young, and they have more gadgets than an Apple Store. Heck, Jeff Green lost his cell phone a couple days ago and felt like he fell off the face of the earth. The Thunder forward said so on his Twitter account.

Thunder guard Shaun Livingston putting knee injury behind him
Two years later, following a D-League stop with the Tulsa 66ers and a late-season audition with the Thunder, Livingston is competing for Oklahoma City’s backup point guard vacancy. "I’m impressed with the work he’s put in the last two years," Brooks said. "Anyone who has seen his injury, that was pretty devastating to watch. For him to come back says a lot about his character. He has no give-up in his bones. He continues to fight to get back to where he was three years ago.

Oklahoma City Thunder players rave about James Harden
"He has the type of ability he could run away with Rookie of the Year, depending on what that guy in LA does," Livingston said. "That shows how much confidence I have in him, how much I believe in him." Reminded "that guy in LA," Blake Griffin, the No. 1 pick who played at OU, is a local icon, Livingston said: "I don’t want people around here to be mad at me. But (Harden) is the No. 3 pick and I still think he’s underrated.

Thunder is on the rise, at least that's what national writers and broadcasters think
Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports sees Durant as a potential All-Star this season and a player who, along with an improving Russell Westbrook, could have Oklahoma City flirting with the playoffs. "With Durant and Westbrook leading the way, the Thunder should be about to win 42 games with most of the wins coming at home," Spears said. "I think OKC will compete for a playoff spot this season but likely come shy."

SLAM ONLINE with an Oklahoma City Thunder Season Preview
The term blueprint is defined as "something intended as a guide for the creation of something else." Shawn Carter has basically monopolized the term, dropping three albums since 2001 that bear the name, but the blueprint we’re going to examine doesn’t involve the Heart of the City, 03’ Bonnie and Clyde, or the Death of Auto Tune. Somewhere in the League’s Northwest division, the best GM in basketball has already begun laying it out for us; he’s been laying it out since 2007.

Kevin Durant graces cover of Dime Magazine
"Putting Durant on his second Dime cover was an idea that had been floating around our editorial meetings for the last year or so. When we finally decided to pull the trigger, the timing couldn't have been better. We shot KD in late-July in Las Vegas, at the same time he was blowing everyone's socks off (how's that for an old-man reference?) at the Team USA mini-camp.

Fantasy Focus: Kevin Durant from HOOPSWORLD
The guy is a gym rat, always talking about how he needs to improve, and never boasting about his accomplishments. Unbelievably, at the Team USA mini-camp this summer, he graded himself "average", while Coach K and others were practically salivating at the skills he exhibited. He's a virtual lock to make the team. Whether or not he is truly unaware of his impending superstar status or refreshingly modest, he is setting himself up to rival the greats.