Charley Rosen grades the NBA coaches and Scott Brooks gets a B-plus: “Scott Brooks (Thunder) is a young coach who’s growing along with his young players. He knows the game, and his enthusiasm is contagious.”
Shoals previews the Thunder for the Baseline. I think he’s excited about the Thunder: “Indeed, OKC’s team often serves as a cipher meaning many things to many people. However, this fragmented view of the Thunder misses the most obvious point: If you sleep on this team, you’re missing out on what’s probably the most exciting, innovative and altogether intriguing young squad in the league today. Yes, they’re shrewdly building up their ranks; as with the far-duller Blazers, there’s a plan and a mix of players that makes you feel like you’re watching the growth of something important. The Thunder, though, are positively bonkers. Hit-or-miss as they may still be, there’s no question that, on any number of levels, this team is the future.”
A little more video I took from yesterday. Senior VP Brian Byrnes talking about next year’s renovations among other things.
Darnell Mayberry has five reasons we should watch the Suns closely: “The race for the eighth seed: With Houston losing Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady to injuries and Ron Artest to free agency, the Rockets are widely considered to be a team in decline. If the Rockets miss the playoffs this season, that will open one spot for a postseason hopeful in the highly competitive Western Conference. The Thunder would exceed everyone’s expectations if it reached the eighth seed. But that ambition would be assisted if the Suns fall off.”
Some first hand reaction on Serge Ibaka’s game from Saturday: “He showed flashes Saturday that made you think he could be closer to contributing than anyone will let on. He showed range out to 18 feet, good hands in the paint when finishing dump-off passes with dunks and a nose for the ball when battling for rebounds. On one possession, Ibaka swatted a Darius Songaila 17-footer, recovered the ball and was on his way to a breakaway dunk before Songaila wrapped him up. Later, he set a down screen for Kevin Durant, read the defense and rolled to the basket when Earl Barron cheated on Durant. Russell Westbrook found Ibaka for an uncontested two-handed dunk.”
Kevin Durant is the background skin of Yahoo Sports main page. I found this cool.
If you want to see all the pictures I took yesterday from the tour of the Ford Center, I’ve uploaded them here.
Andrew Sharp of SBN liked what he heard from KD in that interview he did with a D.C. radio station: “Isn’t it refreshing—in the age of marketing, PR agents, and oversaturated everything—that a superstar can still develop organically? Just by playing pickup all summer in his hometown.”
Susan Bible of HoopsWorld makes a playoff case for the Thunder: “Despite the general consensus that the Thunder are on the rise, up-and-coming, have a bright future, etc., most stop short of predicting a postseason for the team this year. This got us thinking. Do they have a legitimate chance of landing in the eighth seed spot this year? Of course, the instinctive answer is no. Look at the strength of the Western Conference – the Suns didn’t even make it to the playoffs with 46 wins last year. The Thunder won 23 games last season. What are the odds that OKC can more than double their wins this year? Unthinkable, right? Fasten your seatbelt, because we believe they can double last years’ wins, and perhaps add even more, and here’s why:”
I found this mildly interesting. It appears on NBA Live 10 that you can wear Sonics throwbacks. Just kind of strange.
Speaking of, Sonicsgate is out. More to come on this later.
Make that 16 days until opening night.