The Thunder is helping bring business to OKC: Retailers — from restaurant operators to mall developers — have been very interested in Oklahoma City during this year’s International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas, which ended Tuesday, city officials said. About 30,000 people attend the convention each year, with retailers scouting new franchisees and locations and cities hoping to attract new businesses. This year, Oklahoma City was getting a lot of attention … The Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team’s playoff appearance and a recent announcement that Whole Foods is coming to town have given Oklahoma City representatives a lot to brag about. J.G. saw this coming a month ago before the playoffs started.
Counting down the top 25 head-to-head matchups of the season. KD makes multiple appearances in the list.
The Thunder’s arena and practice facility renovation have a clear budget now: “An oversight board charged with keeping renovations of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s arena under budget now has a clearer picture of a multimillion dollar shortfall in funding for the project. Members of the city board were told Tuesday that the final budget for the renovations will be US$112 million, or about $9 million less than anticipated when voters approved a one-penny sales tax intended to upgrade the arena and lure the Thunder away from Seattle.”
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! reports P.J. Carlesimo is trying to find a coaching job: “P.J. Carlesimo discussed a possible job on Toronto coaching staff, but source says “It’s dead now.” Carlesimo wants back in, friends say.”
Hornets 24/7 has an interesting post on passing on Daniel Orton: “It’s being considered a sure fire decision for him to head to the NBA draft. Why would that be? Because his stock is high despite doing nothing in college. A return for a second season would give NBA scouts and GM’s a better idea of what kind of player he can really be. and that could be horribly detrimental to his draft prospects. Right now, they just don’t know, and that’s the best thing for a young gargantuan prospect. Will he be a Kendrick Perkins or a Robert Swift? Either way he wants to be paid millions next year. It makes one wonder if he cares more about the money or becoming an awesome basketball player. It’s also concerning that he skipped the NBA Draft Combine this week for no apparent reason. For a guy having a lot to prove, he certainly doesn’t seem too interested in showing off.”
Ziller grades the draft’s big men on offense: “The next two prospects in terms of high usage are Luke Harangody of Notre Dame and Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins. The prospects are similar in terms of offensive output: each used more than 30 percent of his team’s offensive possessions while on the court, and each was substantially above average in terms of efficiency. Harangody — a likely second-round pick — and Cousins — a top-five guy — are so far apart on draft boards because of age, size and defensive potential. Cousins, though, looks comparable to Blake Griffin and Brook Lopez as college sophomores (good!) and slightly less prolific than freshman Michael Beasley (yeesh).”