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Loud Links: Oklahoma City Thunder News for July 11, 2009


4D here with more Loud Links. As reported earlier the Thunder has signed Harden, Mullens, and Ibaka. There are still more observations being made about the Orlando Pro Summer League games. As mentioned in a fanpost yesterday by Electric Pencils, James Harden and Russell Westbrook were named to the All-League first team and D.J. White made the second team. ESPN named Westbrook as the best player in Orlando. ESPN also named Shaun Livingston as the Best Comeback during the OPSL. Protect The Paint names D.J. White and Shaun Livingston as two of the top ten under-the-radar NBA players that are expected to a have breakout season next year. There is also a video of Thabo Sefolosha practicing this off-season.


THUNDER: Thunder Signs Harden, Mullens and Ibaka
The Oklahoma City Thunder have signed guard James Harden, center Byron Mullens and forward Serge Ibaka to contracts, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Orlando Summer League: Notes on Hansbrough and more - ESPN
BEST COMEBACK, PART I: Shaun Livingston showed brief flashes of being the breathtaking point guard who was once the fourth overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft, but for the most part he just tried to fit in on Oklahoma City's roster. But considering what Livingston has been through the past 29 months, just being back out on the basketball court is a remarkable accomplishment. Livingston, once thought to be the next Penny Hardaway because of his size and vision at the point guard position, shredded three of the four ligaments in his knee in February of 2007. He sat out the rest of 2007, the entire 2007-08 season and finally made it back at the end of this season to play four NBA games with Miami and another eight with Oklahoma City. He averaged 9.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists a game while playing out of position (he was at small forward alongside Westbrook and James Harden), but it was the thrill of being back on the court that was the most satisfying.

NBA Basketball Breakout Players of 2009-10 | PROTECT THE PAINT
Shaun Livingston G Oklahoma City Thunder: A career thus far plagued by injuries, most notably the one suffered in February 2007 against the Charlotte Bobcats in which he suffered a debilitating knee injury, dislocating his left kneecap after landing awkwardly following a missed layup, resulting in the left leg snapping laterally. Livingston injured almost every part of his knee, tearing the anterior cruciate ligament, the posterior cruciate ligament, and the lateral meniscus, badly spraining his medial collateral ligament, and dislocating his patella and his tibia-femoral joint. Ouch. During a brief stint late in the season, Livingston averaged 7.8 points on 53% shooting with 3.3 rebounds and 2 assists in 23 minutes per game. Will see time off the Thunder bench to make up a solid three-guard-rotation with rookie James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

NBA Basketball Breakout Players of 2009-10 | PROTECT THE PAINT
D.J. White F Oklahoma City Thunder: The former Big 10 Player of the Year came into the league last season, but his rookie year was delayed five months after undergoing surgery on his jaw to remove a benign growth. Played six games in the D-League before debuting for the Thunder in April. Played in only seven games but immediately proved he could play against NBA talent scoring 8.9 points with 4.6 rebounds in just over 18 minutes per game. Should fit right into the Thunder rotation for 2009-10 as one of the first players off Scott Brooks’ bench.

PBN | Summer setup
It's easy to think NBA summer league rosters are thrown together at the last minute. You take a couple of second-year players, a few draft picks, and a bunch of young guys who may or may not be playing in the NBA at some point. But believe it or not, a little more goes into it than that. "With the summer league, every team obviously puts a lot of focus on its own players," Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti told PBN. "But you also need to fill out the roster and put a team on the floor that can function."

Thunder notebook: James Harden gets time at PG |
Livingston liked what he saw out of Harden. "He has playmaking abilities. The point guard position is the toughest role in the NBA, just because you have so many guys that you’re in charge of, but he’s got the ability to do it," Livingston said. "We’ve got a few guards who can handle and are interchangeable, so that gives the coaches options and room to experiment." Westbrook made the trip to Las Vegas with the Thunder on Friday afternoon and may play in one of their games the coming week, which is an unexpected development. It is unlikely, however, that he will play in more than one game.

Sam Presti sticking with the 'hedgehog' concept |
"It's the hedgehog concept," said Presti, referring to a term used in Jim Collins' book, Good to Great, a popular philosophical guide for managers and directors. "We're navigating the course without steering away from what's important to us or making rash, irresponsible decisions that could cost us in the long run."

Oklahoma City Thunder loses its final Orlando summer league game |
The Thunder operated without starting point guard Russell Westbrook, who, like DeVon Hardin and Kyle Weaver, sat out the final day. Shaun Livingston and James Harden wound up sharing playmaking responsibilities, combining for 26 points and five assists as the starting backcourt, while power forward D.J. White led the way with 17.

SLAM ONLINE | " J. Gamble + Phifey’s Offseason Report Card
Oklahoma City Thunder, James Harden. Phifey’s Grade: A+ Phifey’s Reason: This kid is the truth and nothing but the truth. Harden is nasty on both sides of the ball and has a mid-range shooting game that has been missing in the NBA for years. Harden is in my top three choices for Rookie of the Year. The only thing stopping that from happening is his teammate, Kevin Durant [R.O.Y. in '07], a true gunner. Harden may not get enough touches, but who cares if the Thunder start winning?

Orlando Summer League: Day 5 |
With Westbrook out of the lineup, the Thunder were fortuitous to have Shaun Livingston back in the lineup to run the point. Livingston had a well rounded game with 12 pts, 5 boards and 4 assists. While some may argue that he's lost some athleticism, there is no doubt that Shaun can still play this game. With crisp passing and a smooth jumpshot, Livingston's execution of the offense was superb. His timing and decision making were impeccable as evidenced by his textbook give and go with Serge Ibaka. Also helping man the point was league standout, James Harden who had another solid game. Harden was blowing past defenders at ease as well as lowering his shoulder and taking it right at them. With the shot clock winding down, Harden is extremely comfortable taking and making the buzzer beating 3. Harden finished with 14 points, 5 rebs and 3 steals.

HoopsHype - Articles - Harden impresses
On first impression, few are overly impressed with the athleticism of James Harden – including the Oklahoma City Thunder rookie himself. But that doesn’t mean the sweet-shooting lefthander from Arizona State can’t still be a star in the making. Harden has heard the whispers that he was taken too high at No. 3 in the NBA draft and that he could struggle at the next level because he isn’t a high flyer with great size. But he did go a long way this week in the Orlando Pro Summer League toward debunking some of the myths about his game.



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