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Loud Links: 11.27.2009

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***Scroll down for Zorgon's preview of tonight's game*** Unconventional rise of Thunder puts Durant in MVP discussion
[Okay... This getting kind of strange. The hype over the summer is carrying over to the regular season. I can't say I'm upset by any means, but I'm afraid of getting too excited. The Thunder seem playoff bound. Harden and Ibaka are having promising rookie seasons. Thabo has been mentioned as a potential Defensive Player of the Year. The Thunder are above .500 and are doing well in the power rankings. KD seems to be heading to Dallas for the All-Star game. And now... now KD's name has entered the MVP talks. Wow, this seems a little too much to me. The recognition is nice, but I'd prefer more nationally televised games before MVP talks.] It's not so much that The Race is rooting against the success of the Thunder. It's more that The Race is flummoxed that if the season were to end today, Oklahoma City would be the eighth seed in the West, a pretty incredible achievement given its youth. By extension, that means that the Thunder is doing something right. And as it relates to the Race to the MVP, it means that Kevin Durant must suddenly be included among the names mentioned -- which cannot be an easy thing for Portland GM Kevin Pritchard to hear, despite the recent success of Greg Oden. After all, it was Pritchard who made Oden the No. 1 overall pick in 2007 (while Durant landed in the Sonics'/Thunder's lap as the No. 2 overall choice). Now, there are two views of Durant: The first is that he is not that good a player or leader, a high-volume shooter whose 27 points per game is inflated because he averages more than 20 shots per, an argument augmented by his 3.1-3.2 assist-to-turnover ratio. The other view, to which The Race is beginning to ascribe, is that Durant is the future of the NBA, his young teammates' success possible only because Durant's undeniable talents garner so much attention. The most impressive thing about Durant's numbers is that they continue to increase -- and one wonders where his ultimate apex lies.

Thunder notebook: Limited roster |
[Looks like the local media is trying to calm some of the hype. I hope they are wrong on this one.] Sefolosha’s impact Because he doesn’t rank high in "defensive" categories like blocked shots or steals, Sefolosha probably won’t get serious consideration for the league’s All-Defensive team. Sefolosha, though, has played well guarding stars like Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. Sefolosha held Utah point guard Deron Williams to 1-of-5 shooting in the second half of Wednesday’s win. The most revealing stat is the Thunder is 18-25 in games Sefolosha has started since he was acquired in a deadline deal with Chicago last February.

Who’s Looking Good
[KD want to know who looks good this season. Drop by his blog and let him know.] I’m sure most of you already figured out that I’m a HUGE basketball junkie. I love to play and watch, and just because I’m always busy hoopin’ with the Thunder doesn’t mean I don’t follow what’s going on throughout the League. I keep up on things through and box scores. So who do I think is playing well so far? Of course my teammates have impressed me. We’re getting better as a team. But there’s a lot of other players who have looked good, too.

THUNDER: Early Holiday for Thunder, Families at City Rescue Mission
Thanksgiving came a day early for families at Oklahoma City's City Rescue Mission. Thunder coaches, players, their families and staff members made a surprise visit to the facility just west of downtown. "This is a huge deal," said Tom Jones, President of City Rescue Mission. "It's not just about the Thunder being here; it's about what the Thunder can do to make these kids feel special." City Rescue Mission is home to 75 children right now. The number fluctuates through the year. "In the last 12 months we've seen a 55 percent increase in women with children here," Jones said. "Some of the children and their families are chronically homeless and some aren't. Some of these kids have kind of been slapped in the face with the reality that they're homeless now and everything has changed." That's been the life Kathleen Badgley, her husband and four children have led for the past year. "This is a big deal for my kids to see these guys here today," she said. "All my kids love basketball and all they can talk about is the Oklahoma City Thunder." "This is a great opportunity for our players and coaches and all of us really to help give something back to the community," said Sam Presti, Thunder General Manager and Executive Vice President. "It's especially important at this time of year. We've found that the human touch can go a long way. We're thankful for the kind of players we have because they enjoy doing this so much."

Media notebook: Kevin Calabro to call Thunder game |
Kevin Calabro, the voice of the Seattle SuperSonics for 21 seasons, will revisit his former franchise when he calls the Thunder’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks at 8:30 tonight on ESPN. Jon Barry will be the analyst. The flex telecast replaces the originally scheduled Phoenix at Minnesota game.