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Loud Links: June 4, 2009

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4D returning with a fresh batch of Loud Links for your Pre-Finals reading delight. Did you know we have a "chosen one" playing in OKC, and no his name is not Kevin Durant. Perhaps you knew the Thunder was one of the best dunking teams in the NBA?  Our friends at Clips Nation weigh Griffin’s results from the NBA Draft Combine. There are a couple of articles that mention Nick Collison. According to ESPN Hansbrough’s stock is rising. Didn't I just say that? I’m still scratching my head over how poorly The Daily Oklahoman’s last two articles were written. Seriously, the OKC Thunder have no players with rings?!?

Blake Griffin at the Combine - Crunching the Numbers - Clips Nation
Griffin's measurements are his measurements, and I suppose he would be an even more enticing prospect if he was BIG and ATHLETIC and SKILLED and LONG. But LeBron James may be the only player in the history of the draft that can be said to be exemplary in all four of those dimensions - and if I were forced to pick only three out of the four, length is the one I'd omit. Some NBA players have used their freakish length to become much better than expected pros - Rajon Rondo comes to mind. More often it seems, players get measured at the combines, scouts find out how enticingly long they are, and they quickly rise in the draft, only to be disappointments compared to their draft position - think Darko Milicic and Tyrus Thomas. I'm not saying length isn't desirable - there's no question that it matters on defense, particularly on blocking and bothering shots, and on getting deflections in passing lanes. But length is useless if the guy can't play.


Nick Collison smells another championship for Lakers | The Des Moines Register
Collison turns 29 in October, in case you needed another excuse to feel old. When you've survived four coaches, two general managers, two owners and two home markets, nothing in this game really comes as much of a surprise. "For some reason, I've stuck around," says the 6-foot-10 Collison, who averaged 8.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for the franchise that used to call itself the Seattle SuperSonics. "I'm proud of that, I guess. I think they like what I'm doing. "As a player, it's just kind of understood that you just never really know for sure. They can really like you, but if a deal makes sense, they do it. It is a business. As long as you understand that and still have good relationships with people and just know that nothing is guaranteed."


Gordon rumors around the web - Chicago Bulls Confidential
Oklahoma City is going to come to the conclusion that Russell Westbrook is not a PG. Since he's not, Ben Gordon isn't a good fit next to him, because he's not a PG either. They also seem to have plenty of guys to take a lot of shots, so adding a gunner doesn't seem to be what they need really. Especially given that Durant and Jeff Green are both probably better as threes, and Westbrook is a guard, they seem to need a big man a lot more than Gordon.


For Thunder's Scott Brooks, second NBA title just wasn’t meant to be |
The Thunder has eight NBA championship rings. Unfortunately, none belong to its players. General manager Sam Presti won three rings with the San Antonio Spurs. He was alongside player development assistant Brian Keefe and director of player personnel Rob Hennigan, who won two each with the Spurs.


NBA: Thunder on same path as Magic |
The process that Thunder general manager Sam Presti often speaks of in Oklahoma City is playing out before our eyes in Orlando, where only after five years of rebuilding has the Magic positioned themselves to force their way into this year’s NBA Finals.


Peace, Love and Thunderstanding: #25 | The Lost Ogle
Thunder scouts were basically members of the Davidson travel entourage since they supposedly scouted Stephen Curry so extensively during the season. Since this would mean they are obviously enamored with the mid-major sharp shooter, the team may be open to trading down a few spots to take him. Or, failing that, they may do the same thing they did with Westbrook and take Curry much earlier than anyone had him projected at #3.


NBA PM: Mock Drafts Meaningless? - Basketball News & NBA Rumors -
One rumor that's been making the rounds is that the Oklahoma City Thunder could make DeRozan the third pick in the draft, putting him alongside Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, and Russell Westbrook in one of the most promising young lineups in the league. DeRozan likes the sound of that, even if it is premature to actually predict such a move.


Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard Leads the NBA in Dunks -- But Do Dunks Still Matter? -
Likewise, many of the NBA's top dunking teams this season long ago began summer vacation. The Denver Nuggets, the league's leading dunkers, made the conference finals, but the Philadelphia 76ers, the Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, Miami Heat and the Utah Jazz were all in the top 10 for dunks scored and failed to make or play deep into the playoffs.


NBA draft: Tyler Hansbrough's the big winner - ESPN Insider
I think it's time to declare Hansbrough the big winner of the 2009 NBA draft combine. While he was what you'd expect him to be in the skills portion of the combine, he came out better than expected in the measurements and strength and agility testing.


Deadspin - Sports Illustrated 's Many, Many Chosen Ones - Sports Illustrated
Here's the cover of the new Sports Illustrated, in which 16-year-old Bryce Harper is declared the "Chosen One." Sound familiar? It should.


"Handicapping the field for 2009-10" by 'Hawks in the NBA /
The No. 3 pick in this month’s draft (whoever it is) certainly will help the cause and the Thunder have a few other nice, young pieces — most notably Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook — but, realistically, this team is still a long way from challenging for an NBA title. If this nucleus stays together and develops and if they can find a way to add a veteran presence somewhere down the road, this team could be one of the hotter clubs in 3-5 years. But for now the thought that Collison and Co. have a shot at winning it all just seems ridiculous. Odds: 35-1