Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook has a fantastic post up about improving OKC’s pick and roll: “Last year, the Thunder were the NBA’s surprise team. Their front office did a fantastic job of gathering young talent, but they weren’t expected to seriously compete for a playoff spot. The Thunder were able to sneak up on a lot of people. This year is going to be different, because teams are going to taking the Thunder seriously from the start. To get where they want to be, the Thunder are going to need to improve on the offensive end. Using SynergySports you see that the Thunder’s weakest offensive option is the pick and roll. According to Synergy, the Thunder only had .80 points per possession on possession considered “Pick and Roll Ball – Handler,” which was good for 22nd in the league. As for possession considered “Pick and Roll – Roll Man,” the Thunder only scored .97 points per possession, ranking them 24th in the NBA.”
Oklahoma City makes an offer to LeBron James. The deal? A luxury suite at least once per homestand, letting James create a “LeBratwurst” hotdog with toppings of his choice, the chance to throw out the first pitch every night, giving him all free promotional giveaways; changing ticket packages to honor James’ number, four tickets to the “All You Can Eat” section and gift certificates to local businesses.” Did I mention this is coming from the OKC Redhawks, the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers?
I continue to chuckle at Richard Jefferson opting out: “Spurs spokesman Tom James said the nine-year veteran informed the team Thursday. Jefferson was due to make about $15 million next year after underachieving in his first season in San Antonio. Jefferson, who turned 30 years old this month, averaged 12.3 points last season, his lowest since his rookie year.”
The official site catches up with KD: “I just wanted to stay in contact with everybody and let them know that we don’t have to hang with each other just during the season,” Durant said. “There’s the offseason to chill with each other. That’s the best thing about this team – that we realize we’re all a part of a family. I’m very blessed to be a part of that.” And throughout his travels, Durant has been an ambassador of sorts for Thunder basketball, especially halfway around the world in China, where there is an ever-growing NBA fan base. Durant is all about spreading the word about Thunder basketball, about their team-first approach. “That’s what I wanted to do, was let people know who we are as a group,” Durant said. “I’m big on team. I’m big on my teammates and letting everyone know we’re a family and just more than teammates. Nike did a great job of helping me with that. They know my vision and know what I believe in so I just try to get us out there as much as possible. I’m sure we gained a couple of more fans out there in China.”
The Magic’s official site looks at summer league and who the best player in Orlando might be: “It was like that last year with Russell Westbrook, who went on to have a remarkable season with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009-10. Westbrook showed during Summer League that he was, by and large, the most ready NBA player at the event. Thus, who will be the Westbrook-like player this year? It may be his teammate, James Harden, who will be returning to Orlando for summer league action. Harden played very well in his rookie campaign for OKC and had some strong performances against the Lakers in the First Round of the playoffs.”
KD shares some thoughts on Stephen Strasburg: “Whenever I get back home to D.C. for a bit I really want to see Stephen Strasburg pitch for my hometown Nationals. I haven’t even had a chance to watch him on TV yet, but I’ve heard so many good things about him that I’ve got to check him out. I do know he’s been pitching as well as anybody and has been real sharp in his first couple of games. You know me, I’m all for anything or anyone that sheds a positive light on D.C.”