- UPDATE! Ball Don’t Lie just added their season preview of the team: “Here’s hoping they do trade Wilcox and Smith. Chris will be in his prime and he can really put a team over the top without needing plays called for him, while Joe can still contribute and has a salary that matches most MLE-types. These two are very trade-o-ble, and you just hope that GMs will look past the fact that they’re dealing with the savvy Presti and work toward improving their team. While we’re waiting, the Thunder will struggle to win 20 again. The home court advantage might play into the team’s hands, but beyond that this will be a horribly inefficient team with too many shortcomings to list. That doesn’t mean things won’t pick up, considerably in the future. Here’s looking at 2010-11, kids.”
- Sports Illustrated’s team scouting report: “There will be no shortage of references to a certain Rogers and Hammerstein musical when the Oklahoma City Thunder, a transplant from Seattle, begins play as a long shot to even improve upon last season’s 20-62 record. So let this be one of the first. Thunder coach P.J. Carlesimo could call upon this lyric from Oh, What a Beautiful Morning to describe last year’s SuperSonics defense: All the cattle are standin’ like statues/ They don’t turn their heads as they see me ride by. Thus, Carlesimo spent most of the preseason concentrating on that more bovine end of the floor.”
- Speaking of said SI Preview, Kevin Durant is on the regional cover. Very spiffy.
- Joe surmises that Coach Peej may be having an identity crisis – or worse: “I’d love to have a sit down conversation with P.J. because when I look at the numbers for the teams he’s coached, I see some fairly consistent themes in his coaching style; his coaching worldview if you prefer. Yet when contrasted with his first season with Seattle/OKC I see a stark contrast from his past coaching style.”
- Deadspin’s preview: “They already have their franchise cornerstone in the form of last season’s Rookie of the Year, Kevin Durant, who fills the basket the way a waiter at Ponderosa refills your Pepsi: Effective (20.3 PPG) even if he’s a little sloppy (43 percent shooting from the field, 28 percent from beyond the arc). Plus, it looks like he spent the summer slurping down some Weight Gain 4000, and the added beefcake should help him both on defense (where, hopefully, he’ll get to play in position this year) and on the boards (4.4 RPG last season).”
- The Sports Network’s preview: “This season certainly doesn’t look promising for the Thunder on the floor but the future looks bright. When you add Westbrook to a nucleus that already contains Durant and Green, you have to feel good about the next two-to-three years.” (try to ignore the fact they got our record wrong – but we’ll take the two extra wins.)
- Joe Smith to wear a mask and players react to preseason prognostications: “One year in Milwaukee, when Dez (Mason) and I were together, we were picked last in the East and made the playoffs,” Smith said. “You can’t go by what they say. With the talent we have I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”
- And be sure to acquaint yourselves with the Thunder’s division foes by looking at other blogger previews of the Northwest Division.