Alert: Two days until the Thunder plays competitively against another team. Two-a-days wrapped Saturday with a scrimmage and now the team starts prepping for games. It feels good to almost have the NBA back. Real good.
Don’t forget: The Thunder has an open practice tonight at Midwest City High School from 6:00-8:00. Doors open at 5:30 and from what I hear, you should get there early.
Susan Bible of HoopsWorld with a training camp report: “Yesterday HOOPSWORLD stopped at Thunder Training Camp in Edmond, OK. The place was absolutely buzzing with trainers working with groups of players on a variety of drills up and down the court. Kevin Durant and Byron Mullens were spotted in a hot competition at the free-throw line – the first one to reach a score of 21 won. Durant won….and we didn’t see him miss a single shot.”
A story about T. Boone Pickens with some Thunderers making a cameo: “Right before halftime, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook and James Harden pay a visit to Pickens’ suite. The Thunder stars shake hands with Pickens and his wife, who asks where each player went to college. When it’s Durant’s turn, Pickens jumps in. “You went to Texas A&M,” he deadpans. “No, I went to Texas.” “I know where you went.”
Scott Brooks says Russell Westbrook is doing very well in camp: “He’s a better player,” Brooks said. “Russell’s going to improve for a lot of years. He’s not a finished product. He’s 20 years old and has the chance to get better for the next 10 years. And he will get better. He’s an athletic young point guard that challenged himself all summer to improve. And I see the improvement. We have to continue to work with him to get better. He has a nice feel. He’s not playing as fast, and he’s comfortable out there. I’m happy with the way he’s been playing so far.”
James Harden is expected to play in Wednesday’s preseason game after spraining his ankle last week.
The NBA Board of Governors approved two more uses of replay. To determine at any point during the game whether a 24-second shot clock violation occurred prior to the release of a successful field goal attempt or prior to a foul being committed and to determine during the last two minutes of regulation play and the last two minutes of any overtime period which player last touched the ball prior to it going out-of-bounds or whether the ball was last touched simultaneously by two opponents.
A column on SLAM about parity (or the lack thereof) in the NBA: “Here’s to hoping ‘Melo continues to improve and the Nuggets steal a ring one of these years. Here’s to the Blazers and their young, solid squad. Maybe they can shock the Lakers and Celtics in some long and exhilarating best of seven series. Here’s to LeBron—stay on the Cavs, win it all and stamp your name as Ohio’s number one son. Here’s to the Oklahoma City Thunder—build around Durant, get a legitimate coach and make the Sooner State proud… Well, the Thunder may not be ready just yet, but you get my point.”
A nice sneak peek at the new Ford Center. I must say, looks fantastic. Especially the brick work. Too bad I’ll never see one of those updated suites. I bet they sure are sweet. Bwahahahaha.
SI has a nice feature on the Thunder’s new journeyman: “Kevin Ollie has mastered the NBA’s transition game. Last week, for example, he loaded up his Escalade with all the clothes, utensils, cookware and bedding he’ll need for the upcoming season and had the vehicle shipped to Oklahoma City, as if it were a 400-horsepower suitcase. Three days later, he jumped on a plane and met it at the other end. New team. New opportunity. Same old twinge of regret.”
In this mock fantasy draft, Kevin Durant went third in front of Dwyane Wade, Kobe, Dirk, Danny Granger and Dwight Howard.
The NBA’s got a memo out to players to quit standing all the time because it blocks fans’ views. That affects the Thunder for sure because we have that “tradition” of standing until the first bucket, players included. No biggie at home because everyone is standing. But on the road, the players have carried that same tradition with them (which is cool). I wonder if they’ll still stand until the first bucket away from the Ford.
UPDATE: Byron Mullens was a guest on the Club Trillion podcast. Listen and learn. (h/t Scott)
Now 23 days until real basketball is played in Oklahoma City. Back in July, I didn’t think we’d ever get here.