Etan Thomas discussing the NBA age limit with Dave Zirin: “My position on the NBA’s age limit has always been that I am against it. My mother and I actually have debated this issue many times as well. Her being a teacher, she feels very strongly that there should be an age limit and the fact that so many young people are not taking advantage of an education is not only catastrophic but a sad day. My mother’s position is that our people had to fight so long for the right to be educated and now young people are not valuing that struggle and are essentially throwing their education to chase a dream that has been dangled in front of their faces like the horse with the carrot. I can’t disagree with her point and we go back and forth on this topic. Now, I stayed in school for four years. Had a wonderful experience at Syracuse University. Got my degree in business management, met my wife, grew as a person and it prepared me for life. But that’s my case. Is it fair to force someone who wants to take a different path to attend college?”
The Hoop Doctors early rookie rankings with James Harden coming in second to you know who.
Chris Silva with James Harden: ”As for turning 20 years old on Aug. 26, Harden said it was light on celebration. “Nothing at all,” he said. “It’s business time. I want to get a head start on the season, so I’m out here just preparing.” Harden has been in business mode ever since the Thunder made him a lottery pick on June 25. He made a name for himself at the Orlando and Las Vegas summer leagues, where he showcased his potential and athleticism with averages of 14.7 points, 50.6 percent shooting and 3.3 rebounds in nine games.”
Great piece from Michael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns on social media and the NBA: ”For years, fans could only view their NBA heroes through the lenses of the media and a PR-savvy league. Players were towering, athletic fish in a fish bowl, only to be gawked at on the court before leaving the confines of the arena to lead their own private, mysterious lives. Fast forward to this offseason, and anybody with an Internet connection knows who Jared Dudley worked out with this summer, what disguise Steve Nash wore when playing pickup ball in China and even that Amare Stoudemire was going in for more eye surgery in July – before the team made an official announcement or a beat reporter broke the news.”
Kevin Durant is having some birthday bash with someone named Wale. It’s in D.C. Who wants to carpool?
And now for some excellent unintentional comedy – Greg Ostertag is planning a comeback. You hear that Eric Montross and Big Country Reeves? Ostertag is coming back!
I missed it yesterday but Susan Bible of HoopsWorld has a Thunder season preview out: “The Thunder still lacks a threatening presence in the middle. Center Krstic has considerable skills, but intimidation isn’t one of them. The team ranked 20th in defensive rating and 22nd in shot-blocking – Thomas may improve the latter. Other concerns: they ranked 1st in turnovers, 26th in field goal percentage, 29th in offensive rating and 30th in three-point attempts/made. This is why they drafted Harden.”
Bill Ingram with additional thoughts: “Again, with the Thunder it’s not going to be about big, sexy moves that grab headlines, but incremental improvements that play out over the course of a season or two. As we’ve seen Kevin Durant emerge as an All-Star talent, so his team will emerge as a playoff team in the very near future. It probably won’t be this season, but in two years . . .the Thunder should be ready to rattle the rafters of the NBA.”
Serbia lost in overtime yesterday to Turkey. Nenad Krstic had 11 points and eight rebounds but four turnovers in the loss.
FanHouse looks at three teams cheaper than the Grizzlies: “Oklahoma City Thunder. Barring a major trade or an offer sheet to someone like David Lee, OKC will enter the season with the cheapest payroll in the land. (That’s probably good, considering the financial trouble lead owner Clay Bennett has had over the past year.) According to ShamSports (the most trustworthy contract repository on the web), the Thunder have $50.7 million in payroll locked up this season. No Thunder player will be paid more than Etan Thomas’s $7.9 million. The projected starting five — Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic — will earn a combined $21 million. (By comparison, Boston’s starting five will make $61.7 million next season.)”