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Loud Links: Oklahoma City Thunder News for July 19, 2009


In this edition of Loud Links: There is more coverage of the Thunder’s performance in the Summer League. There is some feedback of the recent waiving of Earl Watson. Sam Presti discusses the Summer League games with Hoopsworld. There are also some videos video interviews from Las Vegas.

THUNDER: Leaving Las Vegas
I’ll also give Ehambe kudos for one of the best plays of the first half. It came with under a minute to go when he grabbed a loose ball rebound, took a dribble and threaded a low bounce pass ahead to James Harden, who converted the layup. You had to see the play – it was basically a lead pass to Harden, similar to a quarterback leading his wide receiver down field.

Time to assess the OKC Thunder's young guns |
James Harden is ready to contribute immediately. The No. 3 overall pick played with poise, confidence and an unwavering maturity. He impressed with his court sense as much as he did with his knack for scoring. Harden is good enough to compete for the starting shooting guard job from Day One, but he’s proven he’s the perfect complement to the defensive-minded Thabo Sefolosha regardless of whether he starts or comes off the bench. Harden will have to do a better job of staying in front of his man defensively, but the whispers of him being a poor defender have been silenced.

Thunder notebook: Kevin Durant impressed with team’s mentality |
"It’s going to impact me," Livingston said of Watson being waived. "My responsibility is greater now to come in and do what they need me to do. That’s going to be, I’m not going to say simple or easy, but it’s more of what I do. I think if I go out there and play the ball that I know I can play, it’s going to be simple." After playing in eight of 10 games in Orlando and Las Vegas, Livingston said he’s almost completely over his left knee injury and will be more confident going into the season "I don’t think it’s any question I’m going to come into the season strong," Livingston said. "I was able to go out here and defend and make certain plays. So it’s there. It’s only going to get enhanced when I get into the season and get around our guys."

HoopsHype - Thabeet dud of the week?
James Harden basically carried a Thunder team that was without Russell Westbrook, who only played in the first game in Vegas after the team told him they’d seen enough. Today he had 22 points and four rebounds, which doesn’t sound all that stud-like, but given that the entire defense of the Mavs was focused on stopping him, it’s really quite good and was team-high for OKC.

Thunder Fans Happy To See Watson Leave Town - Indy Cornrows
While everyone in OKC expected the team to trade Watson, the Thunder decided to pull an Anti-Pacers policy by actually buying out the player's contract (Larry Bird, please take notes on how this is done). He immediately signed with the Pacers, becoming a security deposit for the loss of Jarrett Jack, which is expected to happen on Monday. It is presumed that Oklahoma City paid for part of his buyout, while the Pacers paid for the rest. That number should be around $2-$3 million. And if it's lower, well kudos to the men in the suits.

Vegas: Sam Presti Talks - Basketball News & NBA Rumors - HOOPSWORLD
Presti is a big believer in the value of team chemistry, hand-picking players that he thinks are likely to blend well. The summer league experience provides that chance. "It also gives our players the opportunity to spend time together, build some camaraderie off the floor, go through some things together, and we think that's going to be important for us moving forward," he noted.

THUNDER: Thunder Stressed Fundamentals, Implemented Philosophies in Las Vegas
Thunder head coach Scott Brooks and general manager Sam Presti have long talked about fostering a certain culture. Taking a team-first approach to the game; bringing in high-character players; doing things the Thunder way; and over time, building a winning program. These last two weeks were another step in that direction, which is something the players have acknowledged. "First of all, they want us to be a close knit group, which I think we are," forward D.J. White said.

Kevin Durant: Destined for Greatness
Kevin Durant is a week older than Derrick Rose, and a month older than OJ Mayo. That in itself is mind-blowing. While NBA fans like to rave about Rose's potential and ceiling at such a young age, Kevin Durant is the same age! In my mind, no player in the NBA has more upside than Durant. He already has an incredible offensive arsenal and can score the ball from anywhere on the floor, shooting, off-the-dribble, posting up, slashing and getting to the free throw line.

NBA Summer League: Day 9 |
#3 pick James Harden (11 pts, 4 reb, 3stl, 3 to) led a second quarter Thunder revival in the second, attacking the basket and having some success. A productive second quarter from Moses Ehambe (7 pts, 1 reb, 1 ast in 2nd) supported Harden and helped the Thunder cut the lead under 10 points. Prior to today, Ehambe had only seen 5 minutes of SL action.



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