Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thoughts on Oklahoma City's Training Camp

It's been awhile Thunder fans, but here's hoping that I am permanently back.

Training camp is well under way, and what does that mean? Thoughts, musings, and questions about our team.

* Rookie Guard James Harden has suffered two minor injuries so far in two days of practice. Chris Silvia at has kept the situation documented. On Tuesday, Harden left practice early after being poked in the eye, and today he left with a mild ankle roll. What does this mean for the Number 3 pick? Hopefully, nothing. It seems that the team has been scrimmaging a fair bit, and accidents happen.

* Harden's teammates seem to be fond of him already. These early votes of confidence will do great things for a guy getting used to the game. Of particular note:
"James gives us a shooter,” said veteran Nick Collison. "We really missed a good, knock-down perimeter shooter. I think he can become that. And he can score, slash and do other things.”

Comments like that have me very excited to see this guy in action.

* Etan Thomas is making his presence known. Thomas, a Tulsa native, is trying to make his case for a major role in this team. As can be seen in this photo from Thomas is a strong "banger" type of Center, something OKC lacked last season.

* Oklahoma City has invited Ryan Bowen, Tre Kelley, Michael Ruffin, and recently Mike Harris. These four players are fighting for the Thunder's last roster spot. Whether or not GM Sam Presti will reward any of them with that coveted last spot is still a ways off.

Coach Scott Brooks is preaching defense at every practice, hopefully it will show when the pre-season starts in a week.

This Is Thunder Basketball

(Image from Yahoo Sports, and Getty images)

Bookmark this on Delicious

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Marcin Gortat to Oklahoma City?

The guys over at DailyThunder found a story in Croatia that claims Marcin Gortat talked to Nenad Krstic about the possibilities of playing with him. Here is a link to the story.

While the story has been crudely translated, at best, it brings up an intriguing possibility for Thunder fans. Gortat had a great showing during last year's playoffs, and there were rumors of him being traded to OKC.

Gortat is a solid player, and would be a great anchor for this Thunder team. His career numbers don't show much, he has been a backup for Dwight Howard his entire career, but he has the size and strength to be effective on both sides of the ball.

Do you think that Gortat will be traded to OKC? If so, when? If not, why?

This Is Thunder Basketball

(image from

Bookmark this on Delicious

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So, I know that I have been slow with the updates recently, but I am adjusting to a new job and will hopefully be in the swing of things soon.

So, what would you, the reader, like to see on This Is Thunder Basketball?
Leave a comment, let me know!
Bookmark this on Delicious

Monday, September 7, 2009

Slow Times

Thunder fans, news is slow right now, but it will pick up again.

Check back soon!

This Is Thunder Basketball

Bookmark this on DeliciousDelicious

Friday, September 4, 2009

Way Too Early: Possible 2010 Free Agents for Oklahoma City

If you have been paying attention to the NBA at all in the past year, you know that the Summer of 2010 will be a big one. Let's look at what the Summer might look like for Oklahoma City.

Team Free Agents:

Oklahoma City has three players who will become Free Agents after this season. Shaun Livingston, Kevin Ollie, Etan Thomas, and Thabo Sefolosha (Restricted). Barring any problems or moves this season, the Thunder will likely try to resign Livingston and/or Sefolosha. Both players have showed that they are valuable pieces to this team, and who stays will depend on what Oklahoma City can get in the draft. Thomas and Ollie were brought in to mentor the younger players, and should part ways with OKC next Summer.

That means that Oklahoma City will have 14 players on the roster, including two First Round Draft picks.

Free Agent Needs:

First of all, there are a lot of "ifs" that go into this conversation. If James Harden establishes himself at SG, and if Russell Westbrook continues to develop into the Thunder's great PG, then there will be two glaring problems that can be addressed via Free Agency.

Oklahoma City is small at Power Forward, because they have a Small Forward playing there right now. Jeff Green did a great job at PF last season, but the Thunder need more size at Four. This would also let Green come off the bench behind Kevin Durant, a role that would allow Green to score in droves against other second team SFs.

There are a few routes that the Thunder could go. The top PFs will be Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzki seems to be too old to fit into the ownership group's vision of the team, Stoudemire is an unlikely fit due to the style of basketball he plays. So that leaves us with Bosh and Boozer. Rumors of Boozer to Oklahoma City were whispered this entire offseason, and are likely to stop as the Summer of 2010 approaches. It is a well known fact that Bosh wants to be on a contender, and if OKC challenges for a playoff spot this season, it could be enough to convince Bosh to consider coming to the Sooner State.

Final Verdict: Toss Up. Boozer and Bosh would be a great fit with the Thunder, but Bosh gets a slot nod due to being more of a shot blocking presence.

The other glaring area of need is the Center position. Baring a break out year with Byron Mullens, Oklahoma City will look to free agency to improve their interior defense. Sadly, there might not be much for Oklahoma City to choose from. Most of the Free Agent Centers are either too old (Shaq, Marcus Camby) , injury prone (Yao Ming, Tyson Chandler, Jermaine O'neal), or offer little improvement to what OKC already has (Mehmet Okur). So that leaves Oklahoma City with Brad Miller or Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

As with Bosh and Boozer, Miller and Ilgauskas bring oddly similar arguments. Ilgauskas is the slightly better career scorer (14.3 to 12.1) but their rebounding numbers are almost identical (7.9 to 7.8). Where Ilgauskas is more of a scoring minded Center, Miller has averaged three assists per game during is career.

Final Verdict: Brad Miller. Brad Miller is a more team minded Center, and he takes better care of the basketball. While he wouldn't be a huge upgrade over what the Thunder already have, he would bring a stronger rebounding presence.

Next summer may be the biggest Free Agent Summer in a long time, and a few small acquisions could go a long way towards improving this Oklahoma City team.

(Stats from, Photo from and Free Agent List from

This Is Thunder Basketball

Share on Facebook Delicious
Bookmark this on Delicious

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Where The Thunder Need To Be

ESPN has released its Western Conference rankings, and Oklahoma City is sitting at #11. Their rankings have OKC moving up spots and improving their win total by nine games.

Realistically, Oklahoma City can challenge for the nine spot, but it is possible they could be in playoff talks near the end of the season.

Based purely on these rankings, ESPN has too much faith in the Los Angeles Blake Griffins. While Griffin will improve that team, a 14 game leap just seems unreasonable considering the rest of the roster.

This moves the Thunder up to the #10 spot.

Houston took some steps to improve their team this season by adding Trevor Ariza and a handful of draft picks, but the loss of Yao Ming still looms over this team. Outside of Ming , the Rockets now have no players over seven feet tall. They will still be a quality team next season, just not as good as they were last season. They stay in the #9 spot.

ESPN's #8 team is the Phoenix Suns, a team that will have an entirely different look from last season. The loss of Shaq and the return of a health Amare Stoudemire will let the Suns get back to their "Seven Seconds or Less" play style. Whether or not they can still thrive in this play style will be the determining factor for the Suns.

So, what does all this mean for Oklahoma City?

They will make themselves known to the NBA this season, but in a good way this time. After the infamous 1 - 16 start last year, the Thunder weren't thought to be competitive last season. Now teams have seen Kevin Durant go off, and they know Russell Westbrook's speed. With the addition of James Harden at Shooting Guard, and the continued development of the Thunder's core, they will, likely, be in playoff talks for the majority of the season.

(Photo from and Standings from

This Is Thunder Basketball

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Not a "Barry" Good Idea

Yahoo has reported that Oklahoma City is a possible trade partner with Houston to land Brent Barry (G). Hopefully, this will remain a rumor.

The Thunder already have a log jam at Shooting Guard; with Thabo Sefolosha, James Harden, and Kyle Weaver all competing for minutes. Adding in a guard who has, recently, had incredibly low output at either end of the floor serves no purpose for Oklahoma City.

Barry has been on two Spurs Championship teams, but he saw his numbers drop considerably last season. The Thunder have one remaining roster spot, and there is little chance they will use it on yet another wing player.

(Image from

This Is Thunder Basketball