Friday Bolts – 7.31.09

Jon Schuhmann of looks at the development of the 2007 draft class: “Led by Greg Oden and Kevin thunderbolt23Durant, the draft class of 2007 was going to make a big impact on the NBA. But two years later, we’re still waiting on several lottery picks to show us something in the league. Durant, of course, is doing just fine and looks ready to lead the league in scoring. Others like Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Thaddeus Young, Carl Landry, Aaron Brooks and Glen Davis have shined in the postseason spotlight and given us a taste of what they can be.”

David Aldridge looking at potential suitors for David Lee: “Oklahoma City also has cap space, but the Thunder is not willing to use much of it this summer on any high-priced players, preferring to keep its powder dry for future years to either extend Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook or be able to bring in big-contract players from other teams to supplement its talent base.”

Fanhouse with ideas of what advertisers could go on the practice jerseys: “We at FanHouse can’t wait that long to see which company decides to sponsor which team, so we’ve come up with some suggestions of our own. Some are irreverent, and some are more literal. But none are meant to be taken seriously … Oklahoma City Thunder: ADT. Just in case another city tries to one day steal them.” Harf harf harf harf.

Looks like OKC made up that shortfall with its new practice facility: “The same economic woes that created funding problems for an overhaul to the Thunder’s arena in downtown Oklahoma City could soon have the project back on budget. Facing a $4.2 million shortfall in tax collections to fund the Ford Center renovations, the city received bids for an accompanying practice facility that were nearly $6 million below estimates. The board overseeing the renovation project recommended Thursday that the City Council award the contract for the practice facility construction to Atlas General Contractors at a cost of just over $10 million. The practice facility had been expected to cost around $16 million.”

Empty the Bench predicts the 2010 All-Rookie team: “James Harden, SG, Oklahoma City Thunder – We remain high 88849006JA001_SUMMER_LEAGUEon incumbent starting SG Thabo Sefolosha (for the benefit of longtime ETB readers, however, I’ll leave at that… this time), but well-rounded players like Harden aren’t taken third overall to ride the bench for very long, if at all. The physical 6-5 guard from California played in nine games this summer between Vegas and Orlando, averaging a combined 14.7 points (50% FG), 3.3 boards, 2.4 assists, and 1.6 steals per. Perhaps just as importantly, he played within himself and didn’t try to go out there and dominate for the sake of dominating lesser competition; when you see rookies playing within the flow of the game, especially during summer ball, it’s a good sign. Harden will be solid, not spectacular, during his rookie season, but we expect him to replicate the sort of late-season surge his new teammate, Russell Westbrook, enjoyed during his first year last season. It’s hard to argue with the direction this franchise is headed… if only they could do something about their fugly logo and jerseys.”

Dustbury had an interesting look at the whole recent discussion about bloggers: “That said, I understand Mayberry’s point: he’s had to bust a nut on this beat, and you know Opubco isn’t paying him anywhere near Kyle Weaver money. Dues, he reasons, must be paid, and just because this whole NBA thing is kinda new around here doesn’t mean that Blow & Co. get to skip a step or three. Fine and dandy. I wouldn’t expect the Thunder to send me a pass, despite my semi-scintillating coverage of all 82 games last year; it’s only one of several topics I cover at implausible length. (Nobody sends me test cars or shoes, either.)”

Fanhouse looks at the new NBA fad of lifecasting: “But if the 2009 season was the season of Twitter, then the 2010 114x84season might be the year of Ustream. Ustream (and competing services such as is a web platform that allows for “lifecasting” and streaming of live events via a web cam or some high-end phones … Not all NBA players have had trouble with Ustream. Players such as Kevin Durant, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard and Jason Thompson have used the platform to communicate with fans and have done a pretty good job so far.”

I gave a little Q&A to Eight Points, Nine Seconds about Earl Watson: “Were you upset to see him leave? Royce: Absolutely not. He really drove me crazy. He took a lot of bad shots and would force passes. It almost seemed like he played with a chip on his shoulder, but the wrong kind of chip. Like when he was on the floor he wanted to prove HE should be getting the bulk of the minutes. He forced the issue and wasn’t much of a team point guard. Plus, he just looks plain weird.”

Henry Abbott on the whole KD or LeBron thing: “Kevin Durant makes his first cameo in the “who’s better than LeBron?” debate. Of course, James is far better right now. What started all this was the assertion that Durant has the potential to be even better. And that’s certainly true! But what’s it worth? I put it to you that Tim Thomas had the potential to be an NBA MVP. Eddy Curry had the potential to be the next Shaquille O’Neal. Stephon Marbury had the potential to be the next Isiah Thomas. Durant is 6-10 and so good no one should ever trade him, and he was possibly the best NCAA freshman ever. We know enough to know that you are right to build a team around him, which is all that we need to know. But whether or not he’ll be better than James … that’s not something anybody can know at this point.”

And finally, there’s just 88 days until the NBA season. Set your calenders accordingly.