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Loud Links: Oklahoma City Thunder News for June 20, 2009


4D and Loud Links are back. Happy Father’s, Juneteenth, and whatever else you may be celebrating. In the edition of Loud Links: Presti get interviewed. Wilkins and family teach the kiddies some b-ball. Durant plays a little street ball. The draft talk continues with a few looks at Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Ricky Rubio, and Sam Young.

THUNDER: Q & A With Thunder General Manager Sam Presti
How would you best describe the past month from the Draft Lottery to now? "The Lottery was big for us because it gave us some clarity as to where we’d be picking. And from there we started to work on narrowing the groups down and identifying parts of the draft where there might be value. What follows is a series of workouts and interviews to continue the information gathering. It’s the same process that’s going on with every team at this time of the year."

Washington Daily News Online | Campers learn from two Wilkins’
Not only did the campers get instructions from Wilkins, a five-year NBA veteran who plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but Gerald Wilkins, Damien’s father and a former NBA star, was also on hand to lend his support. Campers spent the afternoon going over drills, learning proper techniques and even playing some five-on-five.

Dime NBA Mock Draft, 6.19.09 | Dime Magazine (
Oklahoma City — James Harden, SG, Arizona State If they can’t land Griffin, Harden is a more than acceptable second option. Fitting into the two-spot alongside Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, Western Conference GMs are certainly going to be worried for years to come.

Durant Set For Return To Goodman League | Thunder Rumblings
Kevin Durant is scheduled to make his third appearance at the legendary Goodman League in Washington D.C. on Friday night. You might remember Durant scoring

NBA At 2: Young PG NBA Draft History | HOOPSWORLD
2004 – Shaun Livingston, L.A. Clippers: Livingston was just coming into his own with the Clips, known as a smart passer and fantastic defender, when he suffered one of the most gruesome injuries to a knee in recent history (I'm sure it's on YouTube if you really want to see it). Many wondered if he would play again and his first comeback with the Miami HEAT might have been a tad early, but late in 2008-09 he surfaced with the Oklahoma City Thunder and played very well.

Yao Ming says move to Cleveland "unknown" |
BEIJING— Rockets center Yao Ming has called a possible move to Cleveland an "unknown" amid rumors that the Cavaliers' new Chinese part owners want to sign him.

What to do with that other pick | Daily - Where Thunder Happens
So what to do there? Obviously, the 25th pick is directly related to what happens with the third choice. If the Thunder goes big at three, then they need to address guard issues at 25. If OKC goes guard at three, then they could take a big man or maybe take a guard opposite of what they took at three. Know what I mean? That’s not some big sports revelation there - if you draft a position with your first pick that fills a need, then you take something different with your next pick. Someone should let the Detroit Lions know that. FreeDrafto #24883131: The Mock
Oklahoma City Thunder - Rodrigue Beaubois, France The Russell Westbrook of Europe meets the Russell Westbrook of ... um, America. We (outside of stoicism fetishists like Joey) think of the San Antonio canon as one of boring, solid, workmanlike. But ignore Duncan for a minute. The team that brought us James White! This is what Presti took from the Spurs playbook, beyond the Big Three + flexibility trope: get players who can jump over canyons. I look forward to the first Green-to-Westbrook-to-Beaubois-to-Durant fastbreak in which feet never touch the ground.

Sam Young is the next Josh Howard | Dime Magazine
You know how Sam Young story is going to go. Sometime around January 2013, when Young is starting for a contender and his name is beginning to surface in All-Star talk, the mainstream will catch on: Who is Sam Young? How did everybody miss this guy? People’s Exhibit 397 that the Draft is an inexact science: Sam Young.

OKC Thunder schedule pre-draft workouts for Friday |
The Oklahoma City Thunder has scheduled another round of pre-NBA Draft workouts today. The group is highlighted by former Oklahoma player Taylor Griffin and former USC forward Taj Gibson.

Deseret News | Utah Jazz: Is Griffin the next Mailman or Boozer?
The easy route in the name game is to play up the fact the Jazz are working out a certain University of Oklahoma forward named Griffin today. Because they are. Only it's Taylor Griffin, who had a respectable college career in his own right — but doesn't quite live up in hype to that generated by his younger brother Blake Griffin, the widely anticipated pick when the Los Angeles Clippers select No. 1 overall in Thursday night's NBA Draft.

Fewer International Players Are Available for N.B.A. Draft -
From Serbia, Fabrizio Besnati scours Rome, Russia and Spain to dispel some claims and validate others. Besnati, the director of international scouting for the Los Angeles Clippers, annually compiles a list of about a dozen prospects. The list is shorter by the time Neil Olshey, the team’s assistant general manager, makes his trip overseas. It is narrowed to one or two names when Mike Dunleavy, the coach and general manager, makes the trek.

Thunder GM Sam Presti wired a bit differently |
If you're throwing a poker party, you had best steer clear of inviting Thunder general manager Sam Presti. He'd know what you're thinking before you thought it yourself. He'd know everybody's odds of winning and losing on every hand. He'd always have enough chips stacked in front of him to make you think twice.

International NBA Draft prospects lack star power |
Quick, name three international prospects in this year’s NBA Draft. Here’s a hint, two of them are named Ricky Rubio and Brandon Jennings. Go. If you’re struggling, you’re not alone. This year’s international crop, much like the entire 2009 class, lacks star power, franchise-changers and overall depth.

NBA draft: What do teams need? - ESPN Insider
The Skinny: The Thunder's rebuilding project is ahead of schedule. They already have two budding stars in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and some solid depth. Assuming that Westbrook is the point guard of the future, I think it's safe to say 2-guard is the area of biggest concern. Desmond Mason is a free agent, and Thabo Sefolosha is more of a defensive specialist. What they need is someone who can go in and really shoot the ball. The team also is pretty thin in the middle. Nenad Krstic is solid, but he's more of a 4 than a 5. Tyson Chandler would have looked great in Oklahoma; too bad he didn't pass his physical.

Is Ricky Rubio the most puzzling piece to the NBA Draft? |
No longer is Rubio, 18, perched comfortably atop draft boards as the consensus No. 1 prospect. Blake Griffin tugged at that crown with each rim-rattling dunk and 20-rebound performance he registered during his sophomore season at Oklahoma.

Jenni Carlson: Every day is Father's Day for Thunder coach Scott Brooks |
Scott Brooks wears his heart on his wrist. Ever since he first became a father, the Thunder coach has worn woven bracelets on his right wrist. Right now, he has three. One is for wife, Sherry, one is for son, Chance, and one is for daughter, Lexi.

NBA draft: The latest trade rumors and more - ESPN Insider
The Thunder are truly the wild card in all of this. Sam Presti plays things very close to the vest, but word is they've been sniffing around on Rubio, trying to get more info on his contract and get Rubio in for a visit. The Thunder do have an opening in their backcourt and, under Presti, have a pretty good track record of developing their young players. I think there's a little more uncertainty currently from the Thunder's side than from Rubio's side. If the Thunder really show they want him, my guess is that Rubio makes the trip to OKC. But everyone I speak to in the league believes that the Thunder are taking James Harden.

THUNDER: A Look At: Jrue Holiday
The 18-year-old Holiday is quick with deft ball handling skills, and has often compared his game to that of Denver’s Chauncey Billups. Holiday registered a 6’7" wingspan and 8’4 1/4" standing reach, both of which ranked first among point guards at the Chicago pre-draft combine.

THUNDER: A Look At: Brandon Jennings
Jennings made the leap from high school to professional basketball in Italy, where he played a season for Lottomatica Roma in both the Italian League and Euroleague. In the 16 games he played in the Euroleague, 11 fewer than he laced up for in the Italian League, Jennings averaged 7.6 points, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals in 19.0 minutes a game.



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June 2009

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