Daily Thunder Rumblings – 11 July 2017

img_4133-5If you haven’t already checked it out, we have released the inaugural episode of the NTTB podcast. You can check it out here. Here are the Rumblings…

Brett Dawson says ex-NBA stars are intrigued by the Westbrook-George pairing: “Because no matter what role he’s playing — fan, analyst, future front-office official — Billups is pumped for the pairing of Westbrook with small forward Paul George, the four-time All-Star the Thunder acquired this month in a trade with the Indiana Pacers. “I love it, man,” Billups said. “Two of my favorite players in the league. Two two-way players. Two players that really want to win. I think it’s gonna be really exciting.”

Austin Sternlicht of Thunderous Intentions looks at if this version of the Thunder is its deepest ever: “General Manager Sam Presti has done an incredible job this summer making sure this team has enough manpower down the roster to compete with the elite Western Conference teams. He essentially replaced Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo with Paul George and Patrick Patterson. On Friday evening, he signed veteran point guard Raymond Felton to a one year deal. The backup point guard position was specifically a disaster for the Thunder last season. Semaj Christon and Norris Cole simply were not able to meet the demands of even a below average backup point guard.”

Felton comes from a good lineage of UNC point guards. Berry Tramel looks at how that has helped him in his journey through the NBA: “Which brings us to Felton. The point guard on UNC’s 2005 NCAA title team, Felton was the fifth overall pick in the ’05 NBA Draft and spent five productive seasons as the Charlotte Bobcats’ point guard. Then Felton signed with the Knickerbockers as a free agent, and in February 2011, New York sent Felton to Denver in the massive Carmelo Anthony trade. In Denver, Felton teamed with fellow UNC point guard Ty Lawson to form an interesting backcourt. Coached by Karl, the Nuggets often used Felton and Lawson together, creating a quick and hard-to-guard combo.”

Joshua Broom of WTLC looks at the offseason moves the Thunder have made so far: “Meanwhile, aware of all viable scenarios next summer, the Thunder still gains a full-season of exclusive on-job recruitment pitches to aim at George. During his final run with Indiana, George averaged just under 24 ppg and made 200 3PA. At 6’9 and versatile, many feel George’s skill set ideally compliments Westbrook’s offensive strengths, while re-establishing Oklahoma City as a top-shelf competitive entity. For a franchise with little to lose —other than Westbrook— pre June 30, this brash deal at minimum creates a glimmer of hope concerning Oklahoma City’s post-2018 future.”

It’s been a bit of an up and down week for Andre Roberson. Now an old man is saying he could take his minutes on the Thunder: “Jackson is pointing out Roberson’s poor free throw shooting in the playoffs. It got so bad that the Houston Rockets intentionally fouled him during a long stretch of Game 4 in their first round series. As Roberson clunked free throws, the Rockets bench was visibly making fun of him, though Russell Westbrook later defended his teammate. Clearly, the Thunder value him as a player, hence the new deal, but it’s definitely an aspect of his game he must improve. It’s another blow in a bad week for Roberson that started with good news in the way of a three-year, $30 million contract with Oklahoma City. Firs,t there was the tipping scandal, or lack thereof. Roberson was accused of being a poor tipper after he ordered a bottle from a restaurant and the bartender called him out for a $13 dollar tip on a $500 bill.”

Lee Jenkins of SI wrote a great piece on Paul George and there’s even a part where Kevin Durant redeems himself a little with OKC: “No one has figured more prominently in the NBA’s manic off-season than George—traded by the Pacers, rumored to the Cavs, ticketed to the Celtics, fated for the Lakers, acquired by the Thunder—yet no one has been less visible, training six days a week with Ryan Capretta at ProActive and recovering at his home in aptly named Hidden Hills. George will finally extricate himself from the chains, which he uses for resistance during pushups, and board a private plane Tuesday morning at Van Nuys Airport that was dispatched by Thunder owner Clay Bennett. He cannot fathom the outpouring that awaits him when he touches down in Oklahoma City. “I’ve heard there might be people, like, at the airport,” he says.”

Jenni Carlson says don’t get too caught up in the big numbers of super-max deals: “Thing is, if Russell Westbrook signs his extension with the Thunder, it’ll surpass Harden’s megadeal, which surpassed Steph Curry’s, which surpassed Blake Griffin’s. Big bucks are flowing these days in the NBA. The numbers are hard to wrap your head around, but as Harden’s deal is now structured, he’ll make $46.8 million in the final year of it — or $570,731 per game. Yes, half a million dollars a game is a lot. Even in the United States, the richest country in the world, that’s significant. Experts say the average American earns somewhere between $1 million and $5 million in their lifetime, so Harden will earn that in less than a month’s worth of games.”

Steven Adams will host a 3 on 3 tournament in the Philippines.

Austin Sternlicht with another good article on the benefits of keeping Enes Kanter: “First of all, trading Kanter is incredibly difficult. Look at how many incredible trades Presti has made the past calendar year. One would think if Presti could have found a way to move Kanter in a package that gets something positive back, he would have done it by now. The fact of the matter is that in today’s pace-and-space league, Kanter’s skill set is undervalued and his weaknesses are greatly exposed. This isn’t the ’90’s anymore where teams just throw the ball down low to their big man and tell them to do what they do best.”

Two Thunder players are hosting sold out kids’ camps this week. One is the MVP. The other is Josh Huestis.

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