It’s Friday afternoon and I’ve watched five straight days of Summer League basketball, writing nearly 10,000 words total about it. My brain needs a release…
I haven’t heard Serge Ibaka speak yet in an interview, but we can only hope he sounds like Dikembe Mutombo. I’d be thrilled at the prospect of hearing that voice for at least the next four or five years. But I think it’s very cool that Moses Ehambe has been serving as his makeshift interpreter. Just another wonderful example of how on top of things this franchise is. They’re bringing over a guy that speaks little to no English and so what do they do? Add a teammate to the roster that speaks his language and can help him feel comfortable while he learns English. The Oklahoma City Thunder: Ahead of the Game.
I have come to the conclusion that cycling is far more impressive than NASCAR. Blah, blah, blah they’re going 200 miles per hour and it’s super hot in their cars. I don’t care. Watch 15 minutes of those guys pedaling like crazy at speeds of 35 miles per hour while two inches away from each other. All while slamming down some water and eating a Gogurt or whatever the crap that stuff is. AND THEY’RE NOT JUST PUSHING A PEDAL SITTING ON THEIR BUTT. They’re riding like 75 miles a day on a bike. Tell me that’s not impressive. Boring to watch, yes, but impressive nonetheless.
Five things we learned this week in Orlando:
1) James Harden is pretty good, Serge Ibaka is better than we thought and Byron Mullens appears to be an upgrade from Robert Zartan Swift.
2) The Thunder takes these summer leagues very seriously, sending a lot of roster players and also having Sam Presti and Scott Brooks in attendance for every game.
3) Mike Sweetney is fatter than we originally thought.
4) Dante and Galante were definitely humorous, but could sometimes be frustrating when talking about a) People they know, but we don’t; b) Hangover jokes for far too long (please don’t turn that movie into Dumb and Dumber or Anchorman); or c) Saying everyone either “got punched in the face” or “hit right in the mouth.” I did enjoy their commentary though. If I wasn’t actually trying to figure out who scored that basket, they would be a lot more fun.
5) Russell Westbrook has been working on his game. He appeared to be out of control sometimes, but all in all, he slowed down, took better shots (he hit over 50 percent) and made smarter passes. It also looks like he’s been working on his jumper, as wonderfully shown when he backed down Blake Ahern, spun baseline and hit a fadeaway jay.
Some GMs spend farrrrrrrr too much money. And teams wonder why they get in these holes and then four years from now everyone is after their hot expiring contracts. I’m talking to you Cleveland and Detroit. $90 million for Charlie Villenueva and Ben Gordon? Seriously Joe Dumars? I like the Presti approach better. So what that you have some cap space? If the players available aren’t going to make a positive impact on the team for the long-term, then screw it, we’ll wait. Some GMs are like a kid that found four dollars on the sidewalk and then run to blow it at the arcade. Presti finds that four bucks, puts it in his pocket so that maybe he can buy the arcade in a few years.
I was thinking about the prospect of signing aging, yet quality free agent veterans to one-year deals earlier this week and so I emailed Henry Abbott getting his thoughts.
My idea: I was thinking about the possible idea of GMs signing somewhat decent players to one-year deals, but purposefully overpaying them. With how valuable expiring contracts are and so many teams positioning for the 2010 free agency run, signing say, Joe Smith or Theo Ratliff to a $4-5M deal for one season could put you in position to make a trade at the deadline for a guy you want. Sam Presti seems to prefer to trade rather than sign because trading he doesn’t have to negotiate. He can pick a player with terms he likes and go after him and can skip all the negotiating crap. So in a sense, would it be a slick move to sign a couple valued players this offseason, overpay them a little on a one-year deal using the extra cap space OKC’s got and then use that to pull away a solid player from a team that’s just looking to free cap space for next summer? Stupid thought or possibly insanely super-brilliant?
Henry response: “It’s a great idea! But players won’t do it. When $40 million contracts are going around, no one wants to sign a $10 million one, even if the number of years is very different. It’s an artifact of the guaranteed contract. However much you sign for, you keep no matter how badly you get injured, or how poorly you play. Getting to free agency with your value intact, and not getting one of those big deals? It’s just considered poor strategy. And a few players have done it and had it not work out …” So I guess I’ll have to put my being an NBA GM on hold for just a little while.
I hope this season James Harden gets put on the Kiss Cam, and he just lays one on his hand.
You know what blows my mind? That Shaun Livingston’s knee injury was so bad that that they nearly had to amputate his leg. I’m totally ready to read at least 2,000 “Shaun Livingston is back and thankful for it” articles this year and I won’t complain a bit. And I don’t think you’ll hear him gripe a bit when he gets asked about it in every city he goes to this year. When you almost have your leg amputated, you relish the fact that you actually have the chance to be asked those comeback questions.
Someone remind me again, why do I pay six bucks a month to Cox for NBATV again? That’s right, to watch games from 1982, not to see actual games actually going on right now. I remember now.
I have a confession: I love Entourage. Evidently, it’s un-hip to like that show now, when it was insanely cool to like it four years ago. Funny how that stuff happens. Something rises in popularity at an incredible rate to the point where it’s no longer kitschy and cool to like it. Now you’re just one of millions of fans. So therefore people start picking the thing apart and finding ways it’s stupid and therefore, you’re stupid if you like it. Dane Cook met this fate a year or two ago, as did Coldplay. The really great stuff can plow right through it (Seinfeld, South Park, Mitch Hedberg, Lindsey Lohan… wait). But the stuff that’s just “ok” eventually succumbs to being uncool to like and is dismissed as dumb programming. Regardless of all that, I’m looking forward to the season premiere Sunday night.
Who wins the Thunder coolest name contest: Serge Ibaka or Thabo Sefolosha?
I’m not seeing Bruno based on pure principle. For the next year and a half college frat boys are going to be quoting that thing and if I haven’t seen it, then I won’t know what they’re talking about. Sure, the movie’s bound to have a few laughs, but it’s not worth it. If I could go back and have skipped Borat not only would I have been spared seeing some fat guy’s everything plastered across the biggest movie screen in Oklahoma, but I wouldn’t know what people were talking about when they were saying, “Verrrie naice,” every 15 seconds.
I think with B.J. Mullens now going by Byron, D.J. White should embrace his first name as well. Dewayne White anyone?
So what are we going to do with ourselves after Vegas is over? I guess I could write a couple hundred season preview stories or break down every single play from last season. Oh, oh, how about a countdown of the top 100 Thunder players ever? No. 100… uh, let’s make that the top 15 Thunder players ever, starting with No. 15, Robert Swift. All I know is that October can’t get here fast enough. Never thought I’d say that.