Bill Simmons, in his NBA preview today counting down the 33 most intriguing story lines for the season:
6. Kevin Durant
Prediction No. 1: Your 2009-10 scoring champ.
Prediction No. 2: Lots of “The NBA’s Hottest Young Superstar!” national stories.
Prediction No. 3: With 10 days to go, the Zombies will be fighting for the eighth playoff spot as everyone says, “Wait, are they going to make the playoffs?”
Not a prediction, but definitely in play: 29-plus points and 8 rebounds per game, with 50-40-90 averages for FG/3FG/FT. Last guy who did it? The Basketball Jesus.
(In other words, hold onto your seats. You’re about to go on a ride.)
I just peed not a little, but a lot.
And we’re down to one:
The Oklahoma City Thunder waived forward Mike Harris it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manger Sam Presti. Harris appeared in two games this preseason for Oklahoma City, averaging 2.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.0 steal in 5.5 minutes of action.
Ryan Bowen is all that is left now of the non-roster folk. The roster stands at 15, but it’s still not clear whether Presti wants the flexibility of an open roster spot or if he wants the full 15. Wait and see I suppose.
ESPN the Mag’s preview is out and overall the team got a C-minus. The highest grade came in chemistry: “CHEMISTRY — A-minus … The Thunder pointed no fingers during last season’s 3–29 start, and many of them hung out and worked out together this summer. You can’t find that kind of solidarity outside San Antonio or Boston. And GM Sam Presti did his part for team-building by drafting James Harden. Call it a vote of confidence for Westbrook at point guard.”
Jeff Green apparently named his bulldog Rumble. That makes me happy.
Ime Udoka was waived by Portland and Jason Quick of the Oregonian surmises OKC might be a suitor: “Udoka said he is hoping to sign on with another team, and is awaiting word from his agent, Mark Bartelstein, who has been talking to other teams. Udoka said some potential suitors could be Oklahoma City, Denver, Sacramento and Utah.” Keep Reading…
At least this one didn’t count. Wait, didn’t I just say that two nights ago?
The Kings walloped Oklahoma City 104-89 and it wasn’t even that close. The Thunder shot poorly from everywhere and didn’t play that great of defense. But we’ll just tell ourselves it’s because the starters didn’t play much. Jeff Green played just 22 minutes. Kevin Durant 26. Russell Westbrook only 14. We saw a lot of Serge Ibaka, James Harden and Etan Thomas, especially in the second half. Which is fine by me. We know who the first five are. We just need to figure out the next.
I’m not worried by anything I saw honestly. Sure it was ugly, but these guys are sick of this. They’re ready to play for real. This was the last go-through-the-motions meaningless game and I don’t think they cared a ton. OKC plays this same team in just five days so it’s not like Scott Brooks was going to go all out and try and get a win tonight. Of course you’d love to see a better effort, but I just saw the whole night as very meh and a chance for some late rotation guys to maybe prove themselves a bit. Keep Reading…
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM)
Time: 7:00 CDT
View from the enemy: Cowbell Kingdom
Finally, we can be done with these meaningless, pointless games. I want to lose for real! (Or win…)
Kevin Durant played 35 minutes in Austin Tuesday night, Russell Westbrook saw extended minutes and Jeff Green played a solid amount. I’d bet that all three of their minutes are cut down somewhat tonight. Darnell Mayberry presumes that we’ll likely see no strange lineups and the actual rotation tonight, but for how long? I don’t really know what to expect since there are six days off before the opener. Keep Reading…
(edit. I apologize in advance that I’m basically phoning this in the way that the Thunder did the second half against San Antonio the other night. I’ve been busy, okay. Anyway, Royce’s post at TheLostOgle.com is probably going to be a lot better.)
About a year ago, Patrick wrote a post that dogged the gameday production of the Thunder and gave advice on how to improve. It was only as harsh as it was true. The worst of the vitriol, and probably the most deserving, belonged to the game emcee, Jonathan Meisner:
Hire a Game Emcee who doesn’t make me want to punch the Game Emcee in the face.The guy pictured above is Jonathan Meisner. Jonathan is the “in arena game emcee” for the Thunder. He’s also a recruiter for Southern Nazarene University. Yeah…the Thunder put a Nazarene college recruiter in charge of entertaining an NBA crowd. That makes as much sense as Jim Traber working at the library.
Seriously, how could they hire this guy!?! Not only is his audition video terrible, but he has to wear his hat backwards to look remotely “cool” and “fresh.” Instead, he looks like some annoying kid asking his mom for the Sunny D or the purple stuff.
He was, in my opinion, the worst part of the Thunder experience, and that included watching P.J. Carlesimo coach.
Thankfully, it turns out that Meisner either quit or was let go because the Master of Ceremonies at the Ford Center this season will be a two headed monster that includes comedian Joel David and a OklaTravelNet co-host (the girl, Katie Kurtz, not Brent Skarky). This is definitely an upgrade. Keep Reading…
And now there were 16:
The Oklahoma City Thunder waived forward Michael Ruffin it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manger Sam Presti. Ruffin appeared in one game this preseason for Oklahoma City, grabbing 1.0 rebound in 12.0 minutes of action.
Ryan Bowen and Mike Harris are the only two remaining non-roster players left.