ESPN’s panel of experts predicts OKC will finish first in the Northwest and third in the West. J.A. Adande’s comments: “Even if they can’t avoid injuries as successfully as last season the Thunder will still find the five more victories they need to move near the top of the West. By April we’ll be talking about Russell Westbrook in addition to Kevin Durant.”
Scott Brooks on Jeff Green’s contract situation: “Hasn’t even crossed my mind,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “There’s no doubt that some players I played with or that I coached, that is the agenda. But with Jeff, that has not even crossed my mind.” Brooks was asked why not. What makes Green so different? “Maybe because I know him,” Brooks said. “I know who he was when he came into the league, and he hasn’t changed. He still works every day in practice. He still tries to get better. He still tries to make the right play. He’s not forcing shots. He’s not taking bad shots … He hasn’t forced anything in camp. He’s a pro and he likes being on this team.”
Paul Coro from the Arizona Central predicts KD will win MVP: “It’s already his time. He will vie for another scoring title and lift his team higher, doing it all with class.”
Darnell Mayberry has five bad things we saw in preseason: “The Thunder made 77.6 percent of its foul shots throughout the preseason. But hidden in that figure is how three exceptional nights from the stripe made up for four ghastly outings. OKC ranked second in fouls shooting last season at 80.5 percent. But in four of its seven exhibition games, the Thunder converted just 95 of 136 (69.8 percent) free throws. Coach Scott Brooks even joked about firing the team’s hypothetical free throw coach.”
And check out The Oklahoman’s Thunder preview. Pretty good stuff. Mayberry predicts 57 wins (high) and Tramel 49 (low).
Marc Stein has new power rankings out with the Thunder at five: “Can the Thunder, shouldering real expectations for the first time, stay as healthy as they did last season? Seemingly impossible. Is Durant as near-perfect as a Face of the Franchise as he seems? Quite possibly.”
Mrs. DT carved a pumpkin with some friends last night and she was proud of it. It’s Thunder related so since I’m a good husband, I’m showing everyone.
A division preview from ESPN with a take from a scout: “This team is very well-constructed, but we’ll find out if last year’s success came a little bit too soon. Even though the Thunder has some terrific young talent on paper, you have to wonder if they’re ready to take the next step. Kevin Durant will be in the MVP conversation for the next 10 years, and Russell Westbrook’s coming along. I’m still not convinced that he’s a true point guard, but he’s such a dynamic player that all that true-point guard stuff can go out the window a little bit. Jeff Green’s a terrific role player for this team, as are their other guys, like James Harden, Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka and, potentially, Cole Aldrich. Ibaka can be a good role-playing big who rebounds, blocks shots, does the little things and becomes a real integral part of a winning team. He has the ability to be an indispensable role player, like Joakim Noah in Chicago. Their games aren’t that similar, but their roles can be.”
Diggy Simmons mentions Kevin Durant in a song, if you’re in to that sort of thing.
Thanks to all who picked up shirts over the weekend. They are only available in store right now, but will be for sale online soon.