Daily Thunder Rumblings – 18 July 2017

img_4133-5Hello Tuesday. Hopefully everyone is over their weekend/Game of Thrones coma. Here are the DTRs…

Just when you think the awards are done, here comes Sports Illustrated crowning Russell Westbrook the most fashionable athlete for 2017:Why not? This is the two-word mantra by which he shops, but also by which he practices, plays, walks, talks, dresses and eats. It’s the phrase he wears on an orange silicone bracelet on his wrist. It’s the phrase that helped him reap the 2017 MVP award after averaging a triple double, a feat no NBA player had achieved since Oscar Robertson in 1961–62, while piling up a record 42 of them. It’s the phrase that appears in the name of his charity organization, the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation. It’s the phrase he hashtags on his Instagram posts, which often show off his unorthodox attire. “It goes across so many things, not just in fashion but your whole self,” says Westbrook. “It’s so important to remember to be yourself, regardless of what others think.”

Erik Horne looks at four questions still unanswered for the Thunder this offseason: “It’s been almost a month since the NBA Draft, and the Thunder rookie still hasn’t signed his contract. Ferguson’s clearance is still being worked out with the International Federation of Basketball (FIBA), as the 19-year-old played in Australia last season. The biggest potential benefit to Ferguson getting his deal done has already passed. The Thunder would have liked to have him play Summer League, but now that it’s over there’s no rush in getting him signed. He should have his deal done in time for training camp in September. Last offseason, rookie Domantas Sabonis didn’t sign his contract until Aug. 12.”

Rumble the Bison attended a baseball game in Kansas City.

Lance Stephenson talked about Paul George’s departure and the future of the Pacers: “But in the midst of the fun of the summer camps, uncertainty lingers about the Pacers’ future in the back of Stephenson’s mind. The roster looks quite different than it did last season. Gone is the franchise star Paul George. Pike high school’s pride and joy Jeff Teague? Also gone. Lance admitted, the news of George’s departure was startling. “I was surprised,” Stephenson said as campers shot hoops behind him. “But you know, we don’t know his situation and what he was going through and stuff like that. You have to respect his decision. I mean it’s tough but that’s my brother. Him not being here is going to be tough but I think we have a group of guys that can help us. We just have to look forward.”

Brett Dawson looks at how dynamic a defensive duo Paul George and Andre Roberson can be: “From Golden State, with Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, to Cleveland with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to Houston with James Harden and Chris Paul, the cream of the NBA crop is stocked with wing threats. “The league is changing,” Roberson said. “Teams are stacking up. It’s multiple options on every team.” It demands defensive flexibility. And with the addition of George, Oklahoma City has it in droves. In Roberson, 25, and George, 27 the Thunder has one of the league’s best defensive tandems on the wing.”

Thunder sideline report Lesley McCaslin wrote a good story about how there’s something about Oklahoma City: “There’s just something about Oklahoma City. If you’ve been to a game at Chesapeake Energy Arena, you can feel it. I get chills just writing about it. Now, I may have horrible hearing by the time I’m 40, but hey, it’s worth it. It’s loud, it’s crazy, it’s unique. It’s the people who work at the arena that smile every time they see you. It’s the fans you get to know by name, because they come to every game. It’s the prayer that’s still said every night. It’s the players and the organization and all the people in it that have become like family to me.”

Berry Tramel looks at what Raymond Felton can give the 2nd unit: “Can Raymond Felton make that much difference? Well, it’s a definite upgrade, at least offensively. Christon was a cautious backup. He averaged 4.8 assists and 1.6 turnovers per 36 minutes, along with 6.8 points. He was not careless with the ball. But Christon, a rookie fighting to keep a roster spot, was a little too careful. There was not a lot of offensive aggression. The tempo collapsed. The threat of penetration was gone. That will change with Felton, who in his career has averaged 6.4 assists and 2.5 turnovers per 36 minutes, along with 13.5 points.”

Clay Bennett is willing to go into the tax this season: “Here’s betting Bennett looks that way most of the time these days. This has been a heck of a summer for his team. That would’ve been the case had the Thunder only traded for Paul George, but Tuesday was a reminder that Oklahoma City has done so much more than that. It has amassed a collection of talent that can contend. It has returned to elite status only a year after losing one of the best players on the planet. “We’re back in business,” Bennett said.”

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