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Loud Links: 11.05.09

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Here's the Thursday edition of Loud Links, with the typical random comments and excerpted snippets thrown in for good measure.

Thunder's reserves pack a punch off the bench |
[Starting off, we have an article detailing how this year's Thunder bench is better. I'm fairly certain that just about any bench would be better by the removal of guys like Wilkins and Atkins, so this isn't actually as awesome as it seems at first glance. Addition by subtraction and then a little more addition, if that makes any sort of sense] Last season Oklahoma City’s reserves often poured gas on the fire, and deficits widened. This season, Etan Thomas, James Harden, Nick Collison and Kevin Ollie are impacting games. Against the Lakers, OKC’s reserves closed the gap to three points early in the second quarter. By halftime the Lakers’ lead was 51-50. "To be a good team, it can’t just come from the starting five," said Jeff Green. "You need production off the bench. ...We have guys who won’t miss a beat."

Kings waive G/F Mason |
[In already-report-news, the Kings waived Mason. While not directly related to the current iteration of the OKC Thunder, it's still notable due to all the connections he has with the area, how terrible the Kings are, and ... yeah. Who bets he ends up in Minny?] The Sacramento Kings waived guard/forward Desmond Mason on Thursday. Mason, signed in September to a one-year contract, averaged 2.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in five games -- four starts -- for the Kings this season. The 31- year-old missed most of last season due to injury, playing in only 39 games with the Thunder and averaging 7.5 points and 4.0 rebounds.

There's also some news on the Thunder Mavs dazzling rookie, another one of those Durant/LeBron comparisons, discussions regarding Thunder hair, and more after the jump.

Beaubois Gets 1st Start With Dallas Mavericks |
[So remember when we were all gaga about the Thunder drafting the toolsy Beaubois ... only to have him traded for Mullens minutes later? Lets hope Mullens pans out, because Beaubois is making waves early on.] The 21-year-old was drafted by Oklahoma City, then was sent to Dallas for No. 24 pick B.J. Mullens and a second-rounder. The opening minutes of his first start could not have gone much better. He scored the Mavericks' first nine points.

Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James: A debate that could last the entire NBA season |
[No doubt these types of articles will keep on coming down the pipeline throughout the season. The post expounds upon previous articles looking at who's going to end up with the better career at the end. An interesting thing to compare, but ultimately entirely useless ... at least for now.]
This growing debate about Durant being in James' league has been going on since late last season. In fact, earlier this month, the guys on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption had a debate on which player would have the better career. Here are the current numbers: Durant is averaging 23.5 points, eight rebounds and 2.5 assists. James is averaging 25.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 8.2 assists.

Peace, Love and Thunderstanding: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow |
[An interesting article about Thunder players going more conservative. Is it part of the integration into Thunder culture and system buy-in or is it something else entirely? I'm not sure and the article doesn't say, but it's still kind of an amusing tidbit to note and mull over.] The tattoo, being the primary visible indicator of the poor image the league gained in the late-90’s and early part of this decade (the other being images of Ron Artest being pelted by ice at the Forum), was something few Thunder players displayed. Since the time of Royce’s article, the number has dwindled even more as Robert Swift (who was hardly on the team, anyway), took his painted man freak show to the Bakersfield Jam of the D-League. Now, only Thabo Sefolosha displays the only ink on the roster (shoulder tattoo). In the same vein, the team appears to be going more conservative with their hair.

Thunder-Rockets Preview |
[Just the basic rundown for the game. It'll be an interesting game, what with the Lakers narrowly edging out both teams back to back.]
Both the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets are coming off overtime losses to the reigning NBA Champions but while the defeat was somewhat of a moral victory for the young Thunder, it felt more like a missed opportunity for Houston. The host Rockets will have a good chance to get back on track Friday night as they try for an 11th straight win over Oklahoma City, which is trying to avoid a third consecutive loss amid a promising start. One night after the Los Angeles Lakers won 101-98 in overtime in Oklahoma City, they beat the Rockets 103-102 on Wednesday. Houston fell just short of a fourth straight win even though it continues to play without Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady.