Shoals on Jeff Green: “The problem is, the Thunder shouldn’t necessarily want to welcome back a revitalized Jeff Green. Even if he somehow takes a leap, and makes a case for himself as relevant beyond the construction of OKC’s system, Presti needs money for Westbrook, and Ibaka — while a more conventional big man — is also an absolute monster-in-training. It’s an awkward position for the organization to be in, and the closeness of the players certainly won’t help it. But Green is not as good as he is — or, once was — important. Even if he does live up to the reputation that he only incidentally helped create, the Thunder don’t necessarily need the services of Jeff Green 2.0. Some team might, but not them. The team’s evolution made him important. Ironically, though, it’s now made him irrelevant, even if Green turns into a superstar overnight.”
Darnell Mayberry on yesterday’s Thunder practice: “In two-plus years of covering the Thunder, I’ve grown to accept that when it comes to media availability for practice there are good days and bad days. Days when we get a good look at worthwhile things like schemes and things and days when we get shutout and see nothing but free throws. Not today. Today was a great day. Let me take it a step further. Today was the best Thunder practice I’ve ever attended. Now, let me be clear. That statement has absolutely no reflection on what kind of practice it was for the team. For the media’s purposes — and therefore the fans’ purposes — Wednesday’s morning session of the second day of two-a-days was an exciting mix of eventful, entertaining and enlightening.”
Q&A with KD: “Happy 22nd birthday. Feeling old yet? ‘No, man. Twenty two? God has led me for 22 years, so I’m very thankful. To celebrate with my teammates, and during practice, is even better.’”
Dime talked with Mustafa Shakur: “Dime: Talk about your time with the Thunder who signed you to a 10-day contract. MS: They already had Russell Westbrook and Eric Maynor. There wasn’t a necessity for me to play. I think it was more of building a relationship with me and getting me acclimated to everything if they were to possibly sign me for the next year. I think I handled myself really well. If you talk to Sam Presti (Thunder GM), I think he will have nothing but good things to say.”
Russell Westbrook checks in at No. 24 on SLAM’s top 50 players: “Westbrook certainly isn’t the prototypical point guard, but for today’s game, he’s about right. Abnormally athletic – USA coach Mike Krzyzewski called him one of the elite athletes in the world this summer – and explosive, Westbrook is just as effective as a scorer as he is a playmaker. That’s the nature of the position now. The paint is where he makes his living, but he’s also developed something of a go-to move – his pull-up jumper with the defender on his heels, praying he doesn’t blow by.”
Art Garcia of NBA.com: “The Thunder graciously declined a chance to appear on NBA TV’s Real Training Camp. No offense, but they didn’t want the cameras and microphones peaking into the inner sanctum of practice. (They instead offered an all-access pass to the team’s open scrimmage.) Figuring they’re going to be on TV enough this season — 24 times, in fact — the more they could keep private, the better. This is a team fans want to love and the media want to cover. The organization, from general manager Sam Presti to coach Scott Brooks to Durant to the camper with no shot at making the squad, is accommodating and respectful. And humble.”
Former Thunder-er Malik Rose has been added to the Thunder’s studio crew and will serve as a studio analyst for select home and road games.
Chris Silva on the Thunder’s commitment to one end: “The Thunder’s offseason player development program is tailored in such a way that every player should return to Oklahoma City a better player than when he left. That encompasses just about everything one could imagine: players returned better shooters because they shot hundreds of jumpers a day. They came back in top condition because they participated in conditioning drills. They came back better ball handlers because they worked on various dribbling drills. And they returned as better defenders because … well, because they worked on their individual defense.”