Brian Davis on James Harden: “Thunder rookie James Harden did not hesitate when I asked him what the biggest adjustment has been so far as he transitions from college to professional basketball. “All of the free time,” he replied. No juggling sports and academics here. No early morning practices before classes start. Or squeezing in a couple of hours of reading between your last class and the beginning of practice. Or taking an exam in a hotel meeting room in Corvallis because you have a road game at Oregon State. So what does Harden do in his free time? He goes to basketball games.”
NBA TV has decided to air a few Summer League games for the rest of the week, but don’t get too excited – no Thunder games to be found. But 4 of the 6 that the network is showing involves the New York Knicks though. Thanks for nothing NBA TV. I hate you.
Protect the Paint reviews some studs from the Summer Leagues: “James Harden – Not too surprising that the player considered by the majority of scouts to be the “most NBA ready” went to his first summer league and was one of the best players on the floor. Averaged 14.8 points and 3.5 rebounds in forming an impressive tandem with Russell Westbrook. Coach Scott Brooks has to be excited and the organization confident they made the right choice in the draft. He flew west and is currently playing in the Las Vegas Summer League. Needs to: Mentally and physically prepare for an 82-game season. His game is complete.”
I did a little Q&A with NBATipoff.com. Nothing that spectular or life-changing in there, but it’s words to read nonetheless.
Kevin Arnovitz of TrueHoop: “Thunder general manager Sam Presti loves to collect versatile pieces to round out an increasingly mature Oklahoma City roster. To that end, Kyle Weaver’s game is hard not to like. He wasn’t the Thunder’s top scorer Thursday, but he gave his team a reliable handle, solid on-ball defense for most of the night on George Hill, and some timely shooting. The Thunder’s backcourt is standing room only, but in Weaver, Scott Brooks has a guy who knows his way around the court.”
Could Chris Paul be traded?: “New Orleans star point guard Chris Paul insisted he was serious when he said there’s a chance he soon could be traded. Paul was interviewed Thursday by Pro Basketball News, and asked about his team’s financial situation. The Hornets are staring at being well over the luxury tax, and might have to dump some big contracts. “In this league, anything can happen,” said Paul, at the summer league to watch his Hornets. “I can be dealt.” Paul then was asked that surely he can’t be serious he could be traded. “It’s possible,” he said. “It’s possible.” I guess the question is: What would you give up to get him?
Darnell Mayberry on Robert Vaden’s breakout game: “Keefe said the coaching staff never was concerned about Vaden. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard, Keefe said, still contributed by playing solid defense and spreading the floor by being a threat to knock down long-range shots. Vaden said he’s paid more attention to his defense, which he’s been criticized for in the past. But he’s also made an impression on the Thunder’s staff with his dedication to becoming a better player.”
David Thorpe on Hasheem Thabeet, who was less than impressive last night: “Griffin has 8 and 10 in 16 mins. Thabeet has 2 and 1 in 13 … That’s why some people thought it was a 1 player draft. If doctors switched their hearts, Thabeet would be a hall of fame certainty, and Griffin would be a junior in college somewhere studying.”
Thorpe on the Thunder’s game: “Ibaka! (I’ve written that a few times this month). He’s not as sharp as he was week one. Mentally tired … Ibaka can shoot. His face up game is more advanced than his post game. Kyle Weaver fighting hard to keep his spot.”
From Jason Fleming’s chat yesterday: “With the cap space we have do you see the Thunder maybe facilitating a treade between teams to maybe gain an asset? Jason Fleming: Absolutely – Sam Presti loves those kinds of deals. That’s how they ended up with Sefolosha and three first-round picks in two Kurt Thomas trades, by basically doing teams favors. That’s what the Grizz are doing now. If the Thunder do do this, they will likely not take on deals at more than one year, and might demand a pick along with it.”
Utah matched for Paul Millsap: “That much was made known today, when — one day prior to the deadline for doing so — it was decided by the Jazz that they’d definitely be matching the four-year $32 offer sheet that their restricted free agent power forward signed late last week with the Portland Trail Blazers. That would be with the one with about $10.3 million — including a $5.6 million bonus, and approximately $4.7 million of $6.3 first-season salary — due to be paid before the end of the month.”
Shoals writing about the NBA’s potential return to Seattle: “During the slow, tumultuous process that was the Sonics’ exit, David Stern became almost as reviled in the Emerald City as arch-fiend Clay Bennett. At least Bennett has neatly transformed the stolen team into a cult favorite among non-Seattle NBA-headz. Stern, he still has to answer for one of the more perplexing decisions of his tenure as king.”
Highlights of last night’s game: