Sean Deveney looks at who made some sort of impression in Vegas, whether it be good or bad: “Hasheem Thabeet has a long way to go. The fact Thabeet struggled offensively is no surprise. But the fact that he was whistled for 26 fouls while blocking just four shots is worrisome.”
Looks like DeVon Hardin is likely headed back overseas: “Last year’s 50th overall pick DeVon Hardin could be headed overseas for the 2009-10 season. Hardin still hasn’t signed a contract with the Thunder, and the team might want him to continue his development abroad rather than add the raw 6-foot-11 post player to the roster. “I’m not sure, but I would imagine I’m probably going to have to do another year overseas and then come back and be ready to go next year,” Hardin said. “Of course it’s not exactly what I want to do, but if it happens it’s just another step on my journey.”
A nice little story about how Kevin Durant fits the superstar mold in more ways than one: “What goes into making a superstar NBA player? It’s obviously a combination of talent, size, discipline, intelligence (whether it’s IQ or the basketball version, it’s no matter), and coachability. Kevin Durant gets high marks in all of those categories, and then some. He even has the intangibles that everyone wants in their hometown superstar. He is great in the community, as you might expect, but you know that with Durant, it’s genuine. You know this because his parents are hard-working, intelligent people who raised their son correctly. You know this because he has spent his past two summers taking some summer school classes in order to get a little bit closer to earning his college degree. I don’t know about you, but if I was a multi-millionaire at 20 years old, I certainly would not be spending time in a classroom, earning a degree that I will never put on any resume’. He is a class act, but that’s just the beginning.”
The Team USA mini-camp starts this week and OKC has three guys participating – Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green and Kevin Durant. It’s in Las Vegas and runs July 23-25. Also Joe Sharpe, OKC’s head athletic trainer, will be there as well.
Darnell Mayberry handed out summer grades: “Robert Vaden, C-: His lone job was to make shots. He fulfilled his duty only twice in 10 games.” But I thought he could really stroke it from the perim– ah nevermind.
Kevin Durant filmed a Nike commercial yesterday and uploaded a few pictures. Supposedly he’s put on about 10 pounds of muscle this offseason, bu I’m not really seeing it. Maybe he weighed in with all that junk around his neck on.
A Q&A with Scott Brooks about the summer: “There’s a couple of reasons why we do the things we do is because we feel that this is how we’re going to create our culture and our successes are going to be based on what we do day in, day out. But it’s also for guys like Serge. He comes in new to the program right from the very start. We have a program in place that’s already been implemented and he’s just part of the group, and there’s no adjustment period. The first day, we threw him in there and he was going 100 miles an hour, and that’s what we like and that’s what we’ve been doing. It’s been fun to see and develop. It still has to be continued and shaped and get better and we have to continue to execute it.”
Former Midwest City star and current Dodger center fielder Matt Kemp had a Q&A with SLAM: “How about the Thunder? Catch any of their games? MK: I haven’t. I think it’s real cool Oklahoma City has the Thunder though. The Hornets got a lot of support there and I thought they’d stay, but now it’s the Thunder and they get support, too. It’s a good NBA city.”
A great piece by Sam Amico on Sebastian Telfair and how hype ain’t always right: “Before Sebastian Telfair ever set foot on an NBA court, he was the subject of a book and the study of a documentary film. He was Stephon Marbury’s cousin back when being Stephon Marbury’s cousin meant something, and pals with LeBron James. He was The Next Big Thing in Basketball, another teenage star who was shoved in our face more often than another Britney Spears meltdown. He was selected straight out of high school with the No. 13 pick in the 2004 draft (by Portland), and everyone said it was a mistake for him to be chosen so late. A lot of teams would certainly pay for taking a pass, we predicted at the time. The point guard out of Brooklyn had it all — a wicked handle, the all-important street cred, lots of love from the new wave of media that aimed to convince the general public that style counted as much as substance, if not more. That is why I heard Telfair had been traded to the Los Angeles Clippers and immediately thought, “What’s happened to this kid?”
I was bored and reading through some old stuff I wrote and here’s what I said about James Harden back in November: “Get ready. I’m about to do it. I’m about to compare a black guy not just to a white guy, but to a Spanish guy. James Harden reminds me of Manu Ginobili, except without all the falling down. He’s lefty, he’s talented but he gets his points in different ways. He’s not your traditional scorer. He’s does little things well and scores a lot of awkward baskets. If the Thunder somehow fall to the fourth, fifth or sixth pick, this would be a pretty good one.” I AM THE SMARTEST MAN ALIVE!!!
But wait, here’s what I said about B.J. Byron Mullens in the same post: “He’s clearly got ability. He’s 7-1 and is extremely athletic. But one thing about him is nobody will know if he will be NBA ready when he comes out after this year. Watching video of him, I see a little Greg Oden in him, just because of his length and the way he dominates the post. But he’s so much more athletic than Oden. This pick wouldn’t hurt OKC. He should be a nice post player in the future, but I don’t see him as an immediate impact player. Right now, the Thunder doesn’t need anymore projects and I fear Mullens would be one.” Dominates the post? In my defense, that was high school video of him dunking over and over, but still. Little did I know we’d end up with Mullens… with our second pick.