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Loud Links: Oklahoma City Thunder News for July 23, 2009


More Loud Links served up for your reading pleasure. Kevin Durant AKA Baby Ice is interviewed by Slam Magazine. Draft Express reviews Serge Ibaka’s effort at Las Vegas. Hoopsworld writes two nice articles about the Thunder. One article looks at Durant’s role on the team and the other article speculates on the current state of the Thunder. The Preseason Schedule is released (Tulsa should have received more games). Oh yeah, vote for the "People’s Choice" Thunder Girl.

SLAM ONLINE | " Baby Ice Q + A
SLAM: Oklahoma City will have to be speaking with you and your representatives about an extension very soon. Do you believe in GM Sam Presti’s vision for this team and is this the team you want to be on in the future? KD: I love this team, man. This is where I want to be. Sam is incredible. He’s like another father to me, outside of my real father. Anything I need. He’s always asking if I need anything or how my family is doing. I just like good people like that. He’s not just a GM. He’s more of an everyday guy that is always around. He asks my input on everything, whether it’s about the newest music out or what type of shoes I like. Small stuff like that. I love him, I love the organization and hopefully I can stay as long as possible.

Berry Tramel: Is Thunder's James Harden the NBA's next crafty lefty? |
"There’s some Jeff Green to his approach to the game," Presti said. That’s high praise within the Thunder compound. But Harden went elsewhere when asked to compare his game to another. "Manu Ginobili," Harden said like it was no big deal. Manu Ginobili? The Spurs’ whirling dervish who has helped deliver not just three NBA titles to San Antonio but a gold medal to Argentina? Sign me up for that.

DraftExpress: NBA Vegas Summer League Player Reports (Part One)
Ibaka’s best assets at this point are his speed and effort level. A long-strider with good quickness, Ibaka was the first player up the floor for the Thunder on certain possessions, running hard to the block and attempting to get position down low. Though he didn’t get many touches in transition in Las Vegas, his willingness to get up the floor is one that should serve him well playing next to Russell Westbrook down the road, just like it did at times in Orlando. His speed also helped his team’s half court offense, mostly on the pick and roll, where he was able to open up space for his teammates by sprinting up from the opposite block to set screens, giving his ball handler more space to attack rotating defenders by quickly establishing position. His feel for how to operate out on the court appears to have improved greatly over the last year, which is a testament to the work that his coaching staff in the ACB put in with him all season.

State of the Oklahoma City Thunder - Basketball News & NBA Rumors - HOOPSWORLD
The summer of 2010 will be a critical time for the Thunder. Of utmost importance to Sam Presti is securing Kevin Durant's future with the team. Presti will surely seek to sign him to a five-year extension and is making darn sure he has the money to get it done without crippling their financial future. By all accounts, Durant is happy in Oklahoma City and on board with the direction of the team. Earlier this year, he told Johnny Ludden with Yahoo!Sports "Hopefully, I'll spend my whole career here." Just a couple weeks ago, Durant told local Thunder writer Chris Silva: "I love it here. My family loves it here. All my teammates do as well." Sounds like we can put chatter about him leaving to rest.

Durant: A 20-Year Old Veteran - Basketball News & NBA Rumors - HOOPSWORLD
"I don't think of myself as a younger guy because these last two years, believe it or not, have been long for me ," Durant admitted. "I feel like I've been in the league five or six years because of things I've been through. I was thrown into the fire early being what you might call a 'franchise player.' I've been through everything: playing against the best players, guarding the best players, being guarded by the best defenders, losing games, making winning shots."

TEAM USA BASKETBALL: Roster spots in demand - Sports -
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to possibly play for Coach K," Durant said last weekend while watching the Thunder play in the NBA Summer League at UNLV. "I was hoping to be part of the last team, but I'm excited about maybe being on the next Olympic team." Colangelo all but said Durant will be on next year's world championships roster. "You have to aspire to be an Olympian," Colangelo said. "Durant, he's paid his dues. He keeps getting better."

THUNDER: Thunder Announces 2009 Preseason Schedule
The Oklahoma City Thunder will host a pair of neutral site games in Austin, TX and Tulsa, OK as part of a seven-game preseason schedule leading up to the 2009-10 NBA regular season, the team announced today. The Thunder begins the preseason with two road contests: Wednesday, October 7 at Memphis and Saturday, October 10 at New Orleans. Oklahoma City returns to the Ford Center Monday, October 12 versus Phoenix and then heads to Tulsa on Wednesday, October 14 to host Miami at the BOK Center. Durant, Rose have early edge as mini-camp begins
Kevin Durant, SF, Oklahoma City -- The 2006-07 Rookie of the Year almost made the team for the 2007 FIBA Americas tournament after an impressive training camp and intra-squad game. He's a lethal offensive weapon, he's just 20 years old and you can almost guarantee that he'll be on the roster next year and in 2012. His playing time, though, may hinge on his ability to play defense.

PBN | Mocking the free
Desmond Mason, G/F -- Hoping to stick around in Oklahoma City, Mason has been hampred by injuries the last two seasons. His free throw shooting has become a major issue and he can't shoot 3-pointers at all, but his athleticism, when he's fully healthy, makes him a very competent perimeter defender.

Peace, Love and Thunderstanding: CP3 Redux at The Lost Ogle
For Oklahoma City, that first love was Chris Paul who went with the Hornets back to New Orleans. More than any single person, even Mayor Mick, I believe it is Paul who can be credited with infecting this area with the NBA bug. His humble, likable demeanor coupled with his jaw dropping ability at the point guard position proved to this market that the NBA was not the game that had become synonymous with Stephon Marbury’s "me-first" game or Ron Artest’s lunacy. He was a joy to watch on the floor, and a player the city could be proud to have as a representative off of the court. To this day, the city has to take pride that his professional infancy was played out here.

THUNDER: People’s Choice Thunder Girl
While most of the 2009-10 Thunder Girls team was chosen at the final dance competition on July 21, there is one spot left to fill and we want YOU to be the judge. Check out the People’s Choice candidates below and decide who you think deserves to be part of the team. Voting only lasts until noon on Monday, July 27 so make your voice heard today and be part of a choice that will impact Thunder Basketball all season long.

What should we expect from the Thunder next season? | Daily - Where Thunder Happens
Nenad Krstic averaged 9.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.07 blocks in 24 minutes of action for the Thunder in his first year back in the NBA since tearing his ACL with the Nets and playing overseas for a small spell, so it’s understandable for Presti and Brooks to expect an improvement in Krstic’s numbers (though I doubt his rebounds and blocks go up all that much). Krstic’s numbers may actually surprise some since statistically he was very comparable last season to the much more touted Spencer Hawes. Unlike Pryzbilla though, Krstic does not provide the shot-blocking and rebounding anchor in the post that the Thunder are still looking to fill. Thabo Sefolosha experienced a breakout half-season upon joining the Thunder midway through the year, averaging 8.5 assists, 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.1 blocks in 31.1 minutes a game and shooting 41.7%. More so, Thabo’s zeal for defense helped ignite a surprising run for the Thunder as he became the team’s defensive stopper.


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