The OC Register ranked the top players under 24 and Kevin Durant came in No. 1. But Russell Westbrook was also No. 3. Basically, almost the entire Thunder roster could be in a top players under 24 list.
Dime ranks the top “JV Teams” and OKC was No. 1: “I know by me throwing the Thunder in the number one spot, I am giving into this Thunder fad that’s sweeping the hoops world as of late. But as trendy as they are, they have the players to make some serious noise in ’09-10. Kevin Durant, who is the current Dime’s cover boy, is on the cusp of being a top five NBA player. Russell Westbrook opened a lot of eyes last season and will be even better this year. Jeff Green’s versatility will allow him to contribute wherever is needed and they got a proven shooter and scorer in draft pick James Harden. If they can find away to keep this core together than you can expect to raise a couple of banners in the rafters of the Ford Center.”
HoopAngle is taking a look at all 30 teams and this weekend it was the Thunder: “Everyone knows about Durant and Green’s skills. Heck, James Harden has already been dubbed the safest pick in the 2009 draft, so we almost know the kind of production we are going to get from him. Westbrook on the other hand, is a complete unknown. He had such an abbreviated collegiate career, and even in high school didn’t really blow up on the recruiting scene until late in his senior year before UCLA made him a last minute scholarship offer. Obviously, we know about his athleticism and his defensive abilities, and no one questions those skills. His offensive point guard skills have been called into question though. For a guard, he shot a low percentage from the field as a rookie, and also has struggled from 3 point range; these are essential for an elite point guard because an effective shooter can stretch even the best defense. After a good showing at Team USA minicamp, it’s a pretty good bet that young Westbrook will flourish in his first full season as the point guard of the Thunder, but at this point we can only hope.”
MVN Primetime has the top three upcoming point guards: “Russell Westbrook – With all the hype surrounded by last season’s rookies such as Derrick Rose, O.J. Mayo, and Michael Beasley, UCLA guard Russell Westbrook received the golden opportunity to play behind the curtains and ultimately end the ’08-’09 season as the second best in the overall Rookie of the Year rankings. Westbrook proved to the NBA last season that he could not only distribute the ball to his teammates (5.3 APG), but score (15.3 PPG), rebound (4.9 RPG), and steal the rock (1.34 SPG) at a rather exceptional level, especially for a 20 year old rookie. Surrounded by youth, Westbrook and Co will continue to gain experience, improve their arsenals, and most importantly compete for a playoff spot within the next few seasons. RW’s speed and high-flying athleticism will allow him to take the next step in the NBA from being a solid rookie to a potentially top 5 point-guard in the league.”
Nenad Krstic and Thabo Sefolosha are prepping to represent their countries in this year’s Euro Championships in Poland.
KD playing horse in Hong Kong.
HoopsWorld looks at next year’s lottery teams. Guess who’s not in there? Victory!
Oklahoma City’s season would be a bust if: “They don’t chase a playoff seed. That’s not to say the season is a bust if they don’t make the postseason. The Thunder may have the best group of young players in the league. For their season to be a success, they need to up their win total from 23 to about 41. They may fade down the stretch – at some point they’ll probably fall out of the race – but OK City should be ready to take a step forward.” I do believe that’s a bit strong. “Bust” is kind of strong to say if the team wins just 39 games.