This is extremely exciting news – three members of the Thunder have been invited to Team USA camps in July. Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Jeff Green will all take part and have a chance to fill what’s believed to be four open spots. Chris Sheridan on their chances: “Kevin Durant: He played so well the past two summers, there was serious talk of adding him to the Beijing roster before the powers that be whittled the competition for the 12th spot to Tayshaun Prince and Tyson Chandler … Jeff Green: Barring an injury between now and late July, he and Andre Iguodala will be the only players in camp to have been on the ’07, ’08 and ’09 Select Teams … Russell Westbrook: It will not rain in Vegas in July, but there will be plenty of Thunder. And don’t forget, Colangelo likely will set his sights on inviting a couple of high draft picks, so Oklahoma City might actually have four players in Team USA camp.” If that doesn’t tell you something about OKC’s pool of talent, well… uh, that should tell you something about OKC’s pool of talent.
Thunder to work out Rubio – and the NBA has not had any issues with him, contrary to yesterday’s report: “But the Thunder is in the process of scheduling workouts with all the players it is considering with the third pick in next month’s draft, including Rubio. The Thunder has not encountered any issues with Rubio or his representatives regarding playing in Oklahoma City, contrary to a report on the Web site Draftexpress.com. The holdup in scheduling Rubio’s workout most likely stems from the fact that Rubio’s DKV Joventut team is still playing in the postseason … Aaron Goodwin, the agent who represents Kevin Durant and projected lottery pick DeMar DeRozan, said the Thunder likely should never be affected by public stances from draft-eligible players who say they don’t want to play in the city. “A general manager and an owner are not going to succumb to an agent saying, ‘If you select my player he’s not going to come here,’” said Goodwin, co-founder of Seattle-based Goodwin Sports Management. “If a GM does, he won’t be a GM much longer.”
Ziller on the whole Rubio thing: “As for the Thunder, they have a point guard and a superstar. Rubio will never be bigger than Kevin Durant in OKC, barring injury or a complete destruction of expectations for Rubio. (This isn’t to say Rubio can’t be a more important player than Durant in the NBA — I don’t think he ever will be, but it’s possible. But Durant is a decade-long MVP candidate, and a decade-long scoring title contender. Chicks dig the long ball, or something.) … This is not an endorsement of the ploy by Fegan, leaking it out across the ether that Rubio dislikes Memphis and OKC. It’s a bit shady, and I’d much rather land Rubio because Memphis and OKC fall in love with Thabeet and Harden, respectively. But it doesn’t reflect poorly on Rubio. He’s not making these decisions. He just wants to play in the NBA. And with all due respects to the power brokers involved, we ain’t drafting Dan Fegan. We’re drafting Ricky Rubio. I don’t plan on engaging in any sort of guilt trip if Fegan sneaks Rubio out of Memphis’ hands.”
HoopsWorld on OKC’s prospects: “No team needs a defensive stopper and rebounder in the middle than the Thunder and with the third pick in the draft it seems obvious that Oklahoma City will select former Connecticut star center Hasheem Thabeet to fill that role. Thabeet, a 7’3″, 265 lb., shot-blocking specialist fits right in with Oklahoma City’s plans to build around its young core. While Thabeet is far from a finished product, particularly on the offensive end of the floor, his knack for blocking and altering shots make him the best fit for the Thunder.”
Dime on the Green for Griffin proposal: “So instead of running with a core of Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Green, and perhaps Arizona’s Jordan Hill at PF, the Thunder are willing to part with one of their three core guys to get BG. If I’m OKC’s GM, I’d offer up Jeff Green and the No. 3 pick – but I’m not sure that I’d be so quick to give up Westbrook. It’s not that Green isn’t a really solid player – he is. It’s that Westbrook could be really special if he continues to develop.”
Sam Amico on Rubio: “But what this really boils down to is that Rubio is an 18-year old kid who is thought highly enough of to play pro basketball in the greatest league in the world. That should be enough, and he and his agent should take care not to raise a fuss over location.”
Draft Express observed one of Blake’s workouts: “Beyond the flurry of offensive rebounds and dunks, the most common theme from watching Griffin this past season was the poise in which he conducted himself on the court. Off it, you get a similar sense, as he shows little of the detachment or sense of entitlement that you often feel when being around other star players. Really, he couldn’t come off as being any more “normal,” which is the last way you would describe the average lottery pick. It’s exactly these intangibles that should have the Clippers or any other team that drafts him excited about making him the face of their franchise.”
The Lost Ogle, PL&T: “At first, I didn’t believe this could possibly be true. Then, I thought about it. The Grizzlies have spent their last three first round picks on point guards. After taking Kyle Lowry (and trading for Javaris Crittenton) in 2006, they selected Mike Conley, Jr. in the lottery of 2007. Then in 2008, they selected Kevin Love, but swapped him for Minnesota’s first round pick, O.J. Mayo. That’s four point guard prospects out of the last three drafts, and the log jam was so bad that Memphis gave away two of them before the trading deadline in February. Essentialy, what was happening is that Memphis was making the same mistake Seattle did in taking project centers every year and that Atlanta did by taking 6′9″ swing men every June. That has to suggest the Grizzlies might go a different direction this year.”