Dime thinks they know five things about the Northwest Division: “I think I know that the Thunder will be a sleeper team. Kevin Durant is going to have one of those seasons that will be shake-your-head good. I consider him a superstar already, but he gained a type of confidence last season that is essential for him to truly put himself at a level above the rest of the league. He’ll also have more help with the drafting of James Harden, a jack-of-all-trades type player and an improved Russell Westbrook to guide the offense. Jeff Green has also worked to become a better player each year he’s been in the league, and next season will be no different. Ultimately, what really showed me the Thunder could sleep on some people this year is the confidence they played with at the end of last season. Though they only won 23 games, they lost almost 10 games by less than 6 points which is an obvious sign of a young, inexperienced team. I’d expect closer to 35 wins by the Thunder in ‘09/10.”
John Hollinger looks at the order of the West (Insider): “OK, hungry fans, it’s time to turn our attention to the Western side of the menu, after Monday’s look at the new pecking order in the East. I’m not sure the pecking order in the West is quite so “new;” less changed in these parts since the end of last season. But I’m here to break it down all the same. Much like the East, the West can be broken into five distinct groups. Make that five and a half, actually, as there’s one additional category we didn’t have in the East.”
The Nick Collison-Jenni Carlson Twitter War came to a head yesterday. Nick tweeted late yesterday: “DISCLAIMER(the following is in no way shape or form commentary on Oklahoma City)…….but….. its another beautiful day in Seattle.” Before that, after asking him about it, Nick said: “an example of incentive for athletes to be boring and full of cliches,” in reference to Jenni calling him out for things. Jim Traber ranted on the radio about both people and in the end, NONE OF IT MATTERS. Why does anyone care where Nick Collison lives in the offseason? And so what that he evidently enjoys living there? Is that not allowed? You can’t like where you live? Next time Kevin Durant tweets, “Wassss up alll my dc peeeps holla,” should we interpret that as, “Oh, well I guess KD wishes he was playing basketball in DC instead of OKC”? Sheesh.
A small interesting debate – more scoring titles: LeBron or Durant?: “LeBron is stronger, Durant is a better shooter. LeBron shoots more from the floor and the line, however Durant has been a more effective shooter. It seems like LeBron could score more if he wanted to, however, he’s always been about getting his teammates involved. At LeBron’s age, Michael only had two scoring titles, of course, Mike would win the next eight.”
HoopsWorld looks at six teams on the way up: “The rebuilding project continues for the Thunder, perhaps ahead of schedule. Kevin Durant is rapidly emerging as one of the league’s most potent scorers. While his average climbed from 20.3 points a game to 25.3, he only needed 24 additional shot attempts to make the jump. The difference was a substantial climb in his field goal percentage (from 43.0% to 47.6%). Durant also averaged 7.1 free throws a game, up from 5.6. The Thunder added shooting guard James Harden in the draft to solidify what could be one of the most exciting young cores in the league with Russell Westbrook at the point, Durant at the three and Jeff Green at the four. The center position remains in flux with Nenad Krstic, Nick Collison, Etan Thomas and rookie Byron Mullens. It remains to be seen how much support the Thunder will get off the bench from players like Shaun Livingston, Kevin Ollie, Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka, Kyle Weaver and D.J. White. The Thunder remain a young team that in all likelihood will return yet again to the lottery. Nonetheless they’re talented, well coached (by Scott Brooks) and a threat to hit at least .500 this coming season.”
A Q&A with Detlef Schrempf: “Q: You worked as an assistant coach for a while. Would you like to get back into that? A: I don’t know. Not right now. I still have a kid in high school, and I want to be there. I am working for a wealth management firm, so I am happy. In the right situation, down the road, I would like to get back into it. Hopefully, there will be a team in Seattle. Q: It had to be tough for you to watch the Sonics leave. A: Yes, it was. It was frustrating. I almost couldn’t believe they were letting this happen. But I am looking forward to getting a new team into the city.”
The Thunder’s Summer Caravan will be in Yukon and El Reno this weekend (Aug. 15). Go check it out if you have absolutely nothing to do with your life.
And now there are just 77 days until the Thunder tip off the 2009-10 season: