Of course. It was all the media’s fault: “While playing in Poland for their respective national teams this summer, Krstic and Gortat began what Krstic described as a friendly conversation in the presence of journalists. Gortat, Krstic said, mentioned that he could see himself playing with the Thunder. “He just said he wants to be here because he thinks he can fit here,” Krstic said. “He actually said he can fit with my game because he can play inside and I can shoot outside. We just talked and they put in the papers that he wants to be here and he’s coming here. It was a mistake.”
HoopsWorld recaps Scott Brooks’s comments from media day: “And not only is Brooks feeling settled in, he seems happy. “I like the city where I’m living. My family likes it. I’m very comfortable with being in Oklahoma City. I’m thrilled,” he said. “We have state-of-the-art facilities, and they are only going to get better. So it just gives all of us a chance to just focus on playing basketball, coaching basketball, so I’m very excited and comfortable to be in this situation.”
Kevin Durant, being awesome: “Pro basketball star Kevin Durant, who grew up in Prince George’s County and developed his skills at the Seat Pleasant Activity Center, is giving back to the community. Durant, who turned 21 this week and plays for the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, donated $25,000 to the center that he started attending 11 years ago and where he participated in the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s Xtreme Teens programs.” Keep Reading…
I’m a little late to the party reporting this, but I was watching NBA Real Training Camp which is profiling the Lakers today. Rick Kamla and James Worthy are there talking while the action is going on in the background. I was sort of nominally watching while also reading some story on the internet, and then I saw an old familiar sight: Gelly’s big, long pony tail.
Mickael Gelabale was a second round pick for the Sonics in 2005 but stayed in Europe for another year. He came to the team in ’06-07, which was the last year of the Ray Allen/Rashard Lewis Sonic teams. He got some burn with the team and quickly became a fan favorite. He really got after it defensively which the fans truly loved (especially since the Sonic team from the year before was one of the worst defensive teams of the decade). Gelly is a wing in the mold of Kyle Weaver and so was always looking to get minutes at the same positions as Ray, Rashard and Damien Wilkins.
Gelly came back in ’07-’08 ready to build on his rookie season, but then found himself behind some guy named Durant (and Wally Szczerbiak by the way). Gelly blew out his ACL after sparse minutes in 39 games and he was allowed to ride off into the sunset.
It probably doesn’t matter that much to most of the newer Thunder fans but Gelly was one of those guys who was sort of bridge between the old Sonics and the new Thunder. He played with Ray Allen and Rashard, but also with Durant and Green. He played for Bob Hill, but also for P.J. Carlesimo. He was drafted by Rick Sund but sent to the D-League by Sam Presti.
It’s great to see him resurface. He’s healthy and in camp with the Lakers on a “make good” training camp deal. It’s possible there is a spot for him, but this Times article makes it seem like he’s a longshot.
That’s exactly what’s running through my mind about this upcoming season. On one hand, I’m stoked like a giant bonfire about this year. Kevin Durant and Jeff Green’s third year. Russell Westbrook’s second. James Harden, Serge Ibaka and the new guys. Scott Brooks’ first full season. The hype, the improvement, the expectations.
But those last three things are exactly what also terrify me. The hype. The (assumed) improvement. The expectations.
At media day, there was a running question that bounced from player to player: Are the playoffs a possibility? I was actually kind of shocked people were even asking about it. (I’m about to go exactly where you’d expect.) Playoffs? Don’t talk about playoffs. You kiddin’ me? Playoffs? Did everyone forget about last year? Did we forget this team started 3-29 and while it’s been turned over more than Courtney Love, it’s still basically the same core? It’s still a group of under 24 year olds that are very, very talented, yet pretty unproven. Keep Reading…
I’m going to start firing up a few weekly features for the season in the very near future including podcasts, weekly chats and a few other running things. And also, we’ve got kind of a unique opportunity to extend our coverage a bit more to Tulsa and the 66ers this season. So get happy.
James Harden left the first practice yesterday with a turned ankle, but Scott Brooks said he’s fine. Nenad Krstic was held out just to let him rest. And Nick Collison didn’t practice again due to a sprained ankle. (USA Today/AP)
SLAM previews the Thunder: “Before I unleash a hailstorm of praise on Sam Presti that’s going to tap dance around the “Man Crush” zone, let me get this out of the way. Clearly I’d be humming a different melody if Portland had gone the other direction with the No. 1 overall pick in 2007. Though Presti’s model might still be effective with old man Oden in place of Kevin Durant, we’d be forced to monitor Oden’s development and birth certificate this season, while Kevin Durant has already arrived in the League’s elite tier.” Keep Reading…
One thing Sam Presti likes is guys that can play multiple positions; guys that are diverse and athletic and that sometimes even defy the conventional norms for what a player should be built like for a given position on the court. Players he’s acquired in the last few years like Desmond Mason, Kyle Weaver and Thabo can all play the 2 and 3, and Weaver can also play the 1. James Harden can play the 2 for sure, but in college he handled the ball an awful lot leading me to think that he may see some minutes as a sort of combo guard. Kevin Durant has played the 2 and the 3 and the 3 seems to be his natural position now, but he may evolve into a great option at the 4 down the road with a game like Dirk Nowitzki. Jeff Green has the body of a 4 but the game of a 3 for the most part. Where does Serge Ibaka fit? Can he play the 5? Etan Thomas is a natural 4 but has spent a lot of minutes in his career at the 5. Oh the possibilities.
The problem with all this roster diversity is that it lends itself to logjams. On the Thunder the Shooting Guard, Small Forward and the Power Forward positions seem to be the most logjammed from my perspective. Keep Reading…
Barkley’s Mouth asks if Kevin Durant is a superstar… yet: “However, as much as his stats will be better, so will Durant’s maturity and intangibles as he goes through his third season around the league. Superstar? As much as I love his game and laid-back way about him, it’s still a bit premature to annoint him as such. Durant is a star, certainly, but until more people other than fantasy basketball geeks know about Durant’s game, which will be a tougher task because of the market he plays in, the “super” is too early to add. A trip to the All-Star game, and more importantly the NBA postseason, will go a long way in getting that “super” adjective before ‘star.'”
Mike Baldwin writes about the rave review coming in for James Harden: “Harden already has discovered the benefits of playing with Durant, Westbrook and Green. “In workouts I’ve been knocking down shots. But I’ve had a lot of open shots,” Harden said. “That’s something I’m not used to.” Keep Reading…
Training camp is a time to figure out the little things. Coming in, you’re going to know most everything you need to about your team. But not everything. Maybe you need to answer a position battle. Maybe you need to figure out the last piece of your rotation. Maybe you need to define a role or two. Every team has the camp questions because hey, that’s exactly what camp is for. Here’s 10 questions the Thunder likely has coming in that hopefully will have answers (or close to at least).
Who is starting at shooting guard?
The biggest question. Thabo or James Harden? Obviously, Harden wasn’t drafted third overall to be a career bench player. He’s going to be a starter. But does he start the season as it? Does he take the job halfway through? Does he get it next year? Regardless of who wins starting honors, both are going to see extended minutes. If you ask me who will be starting alongside Russell Westbrook in the Thunder backcourt come Oct. 29, I’d say Thabo. Harden is the future, Thabo is the now. They are going to complement each other extremely well so it doesn’t matter a whole heck of a lot, but I bet Scott Brooks goes with the veteran. Keep Reading…