Thursday Bolts – 5.14.09

The full Draft Combine list: 52 players will be there in all and the list includes Blake Griffin, DeJuan Blair, Earl Clark, thunderbolt239Stephen Curry, James Harden, oh heck, you just click the link and look for yourself.

Darnell Mayberry writes about the “mythical All-NBA Fourth Team,” saying KD would have made it because he got 34 points and finished honorable mention. He goes on to say Durant could easily replace Pau Gasol, Paul Pierce, Tim Duncan or Dirk as early as next year. But then he says this: “What it’ll take, though, is at least 20 more wins for the Thunder and for Durant to string together an entire season of performances similar to those he showed us every night from January through the end of February. Durant’s numbers, which are already worthy of placing him on an All-NBA Team, are likely to increase again next season and only bolster his case. But of the players on this year’s All-NBA Teams, Dwyane Wade’s Miami Heat finished with the worst record at 43-39. The Thunder finished 23-59. A 20-game improvement for the Thunder next season is not far-fetched. And by the looks of it, neither is Durant earning his first All-NBA Team selection.” Hey, I’m all for 43 wins next year. But as we piddle through this offseason, I can just feel expectations beginning to rise. It’s not far-fetched I guess, but it’s kind of a long shot.

I played ESPN’s Lottery Generator yesterday, and OKC won the lottery three straight times. That was after about 50 misses, but still.

The Lost Ogle on the lottery and yes, they argue that Rubio might be the best choice: “Snatching up a point guard of that caliber could be the magic bullet to make the Thunder an instant contender.  Think about it:  the Bulls’ second best player is Luol Deng who isn’t great and was injured for the Boston series, yet they still nearly knocked off the defending champs.  Get a guy who knows how to run a team feeding Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic, and Russell Westbrook, and suddenly everyone on the team is a potential all-star … A player like this does not come along often, whereas power forwards are a lot easier to find.  For that reason, I would be thrilled if the Thunder lucked into the #2 position just like the year they drafted Kevin Durant (and Greg Oden was the “safe pick” at #1).” Should I form a rebuttal, or not? Hmm… I will say this: Everybody is making the “Derrick Rose almost beat Boston!” argument, but why was that series even close to start with? Because Kevin Garnett was out for the Celtics. And what is Kevin Garnett? A dominant big man. Again, this article from yesterday. Next question.

SI has a top five of the best and worst owners in the NBA. Guess who’s not on either list??? That’s progress right?

Nate Tibbetts will have some new responsibilities with the 66ers: “Tibbetts will spend most of the summer with the Thunder in Oklahoma City. He’ll help with pre-draft workouts, mini-camps and summer leagues. He’ll absorb as much as he can from Brooks and his coaching staff before heading north to lead a 66ers squad coming off a 15-35 season. “I just think the big thing with Tulsa is the development and teaching these young guys how to be pros, just as far as work ethic and preparation,” Tibbetts said. “In the D League, guys come and go a lot but the thing we can control is getting good guys and getting guys who can work.”

David Berri looks at the MVP for each team: Looking at KD’s stats, he’s produced 10.5 wins, but that was 42.6 percent of the total wins, which was eighth best in the league. I also thought Berri’s “Team Wins Produced If Player Became Average” stat was very interesting. If KD simply were an average player, OKC would have lost three wins. Interesting.

ESPN has each team’s draft history and let me tell you, this franchise hasn’t drafted very well.

Malcolm Gladwell has a few interesting (I’ve been saying interesting a lot today) ideas about the NBA draft: “Another more radical idea is that you do a full lottery only every second year, or three out of four years, and in the off year make draft position in order of finish. Best teams pick first. How fun would that be? Every meaningless end-of-season game now becomes instantly meaningful. If you were the Minnesota Timberwolves, you would realize that unless you did something really drastic — like hire some random sports writer as your GM, or bring in Pitino to design a special-press squad — you would never climb out of the cellar again. And in a year with a can’t-miss No. 1 pick, having the best record in the regular season becomes hugely important.

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