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Loud Links: 12|16|09

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2009-2010 Hollinger Projections - All Players - ESPN
[Guys we have a new superstar on our hands. Just click the link above and see how Hollinger's numbers put Kyle Weaver above the league's creme de la creme.] The rookie swingman was a poor man's Thabo Sefolosha, showing an ability to defend and handle the ball but displaying an iffy shooting stroke and generally poor offensive instincts. Weaver wasn't half-bad shooting on the rare occasions he launched, hitting 34.4 percent on 3s and 47.7 percent on long 2s, and he made a stellar 59.6 percent in the immediate basket area. But too often he was a wallflower -- only two shooting guards had a lower Usage Rate and he averaged just 10.2 points per 40 minutes. Additionally, for a guy who spotted up for his rare shot opportunities, he was shockingly turnover prone. Weaver's turnover ratio was the third-worst among shooting guards; normally guys like this are in the top ten because they're required to do so little. Although he seemed a good ball handler, his pure point rating also was poor, coming in at 44th at the position.

Livingston Keeps Moving Forward Without Looking Back -- NBA FanHouse
[It is great to see Shaun Livingston get more playing time. Doesn't Jamario Moon and Shaun look like brothers? I hope Shaun gets those hops back.] "There's certainly things that I lack athletically,'' said Livingston, comparing himself to before the injury, when he was averaging 9.3 points for the 2006-07 Clippers and appeared well on his way to being a fine NBA player after being taken with the No. 4 pick in 2004 directly from high school. "Speed and quickness and the initial burst and a maybe a little bit of jumping. But I'll sacrifice a little bit of that just to be able to play the game. I can still play in this league and make a difference.''

Just seeing Livingston on the court serves as an inspiration to his teammates. Forward Nick Collison said he's "really impressed with him with all that he's been through.'' Ollie feels likewise. "To see him being out there playing, you look at a guy who has persevered and gotten through certain things in his career, and he's not given up,'' Ollie said. "That fires up everybody when you see a player who's going through those things and you know he's a better person for it . ... He's continuing to bounce back and continuing to fight and hopefully he'll have success this season and beyond and get back to the position he wants to be.''

Biggest Story of the Year? SI.com
So as not to bring out the big storylines yet, I'm going to say the Thunder's being above .500. Generally, a young team with one dominant scorer -- Kevin Durant, at 28.3 points per game, is averaging 12 more than the second-highest scorer, Russell Westbrook -- equates to a struggling team. But there the Thunder stand, just one game out of a playoff spot, even as people in Seattle remain angry about a franchise that was hijacked from under them. But "quarter pole" should be in boldface -- it's really early.

Sweat Equity: Arinze Onuaku's path to 1,000 points | Orange Basketball Blog - syracuse.com
[Etan's record in Syracuse is being threatened.]
In the past 20 years, 24 players have reached the 1,000-point mark at Syracuse. Of those two dozen, only three were true centers — Otis Hill (1,416 points) and Etan Thomas (1,340)."Over the years, the guards do most of the scoring," said Onuaku. "You have to have the mentality that if you get the ball in scoring position, you have to take advantage of that and you’re going to score." Onuaku’s done that. He reached 1,000 points despite the fact that he’s never taken a 3-point shot. In fact, one could probably count on one hand the number of shots he’s taken outside the free-throw lane. But once Onuaku establishes position close to the basket, he’s nearly unstoppable. He is Syracuse’s career leader in field-goal percentage. His career percentage of 64.3 represents a Bob Beamon-esq leap beyond former leader Etan Thomas’ mark of 60 percent.

CavsHQ Running Thoughts - Cavs v. Thunder - 12/13/09 | CavsHQ - cleveland.com - cleveland.com
[I really need to start giving Krstic more respect.] Shaquille O'Neal looked good on Friday against Joel Pryzbilla, which is why it was a surprise that he would struggle mightily against Nenad Krstic. Shaq had 5 fouls and 3 turnovers in just over 18 minutes of play, and was once again pretty insignificant out there. While Shaq does give the Cavs a consistent plan of attack in the halfcourt, it would be better if that plan was working better.

Thunder notebook: Star search | NewsOK.com
ESPN.com’s John Hollinger, whose computer ratings were plugged in and the rest of the season was played out 5,000 times, attended Monday’s game in Denver. His reaction to his rankings predicting OKC will finish 48-34 and earn the No. 5 seed in the West? "It often changes because there’s so much water that has to go under the bridge," Hollinger said. "You can’t predict injuries or trades. The computer builds in some of that, but can’t (predict injuries). Their blowout win (at home) over Orlando really helped them." Hollinger said fans, coaches and players usually are more emotional about PER (Player Efficiency Ratings) than playoff predictions. In Hollinger’s updated future Power Rankings on Tuesday — projections for the next three seasons after the current 2009-10 season — Hollinger moved Oklahoma City up one spot to third.