Daily Thunder Rumblings – 24 July 2017

img_4133-5Hello, new week. Don’t be mean. Here is Monday’s edition of DTR…

Fred Katz looks at how the Ronnie Price signing and subsequent cutting will come back to haunt us this season: “The Thunder signed Price to a two-year, $5 million deal last summer, thinking they’d bring in the at-the-time 11-year veteran to be the team’s third-string point guard behind Russell Westbrook and Cameron Payne. The market didn’t dictate giving a second year to Price. It didn’t demand handing a desired third-stringer more than the minimum, either. But Presti had longed for Price for a while. In many ways, Price is the exact type of player Presti tries to keep around in Oklahoma City. He defends hard. He knows the league and the game. He’s extraordinarily bright. Just about anyone who’s played with him describes him as a tier-one teammate. He could probably lock down a coaching job tomorrow if he wanted to stop playing.”

The Thunder pre-preseason team bonding begins in Los Angeles this week: “Paul George certainly isn’t immune to hard work. Every summer George has worked to improve and expand his game. He’s come back from the horrific leg fracture of 2014 which would have ended many players careers. The fact he’s back on track showcasing marked improvements speaks to his work ethic and talent. Sporting a different uniform on a new team, George looks to write his next chapter. For George this season can’t help but feel strange since he’s spent each of his 7 years as a pro with one franchise.  And, with all due respect to George Hill, Lance Stephenson and Roy Hibbert ,George has never had a player of Russell Westbrook’s ilk to share the NBA court with.”

Nick Gallo looks at Steven Adams’ evolution this season: “(Adams) has been fantastic for us in terms of just blue-collar work ethic and doing a lot of the team defensive stuff that’s necessary for a team to win,” said Thunder General Manager and Executive Vice President Sam Presti. The game is constantly changing, as are Adams’ teammates. In 2016-17 he no longer had two stalwart veterans lined up at the power forward and small forward positions alongside him in the frontcourt. In one offseason, he became the veteran presence and defensive anchor of the team. There was plenty to learn. With the help of longtime assistant coach Mark Bryant, Adams stepped up for the team and helped them improve defensively throughout the year. He also recognized ways that he can be a better team defender due to the way the game is evolving, particularly with the way he defends pick-and-rolls.”

Russell Westbrook reminds NBATV about Nick Collison’s loyalty to the Thunder franchise after he re-signed with the team this past week.

This season will define Westbrook’s career: “Last summer he excitedly let the world know Now He Does What He Wants. Twice. If that’s truly how he feels about himself as a player, we will be sure by the end of this season. Paul George is Westbrook’s chance to change his narrative. He can take everything he learned in his eight seasons with Kevin Durant and curtail a perfect plan to reach maximum chemistry both on and off the court. It won’t be easy. But if anyone has the experience, it’s Russ.”

Erik Horne looks at how Paul George has already changed the Thunder without yet playing a game: “The Pacers led the Thunder by one at Bankers Life Fieldhouse with less than a minute to go. George received the ball with his back to the basket a few feet above the right elbow with Andre Roberson draped all over him. Roberson cut off his drive left with great footwork, but George improvised. George turned his back again, and faked right while showing the ball. The juke created enough space for the 6-foot-9 George to elevate over the 6 -7 Roberson for a 15-footer. It was the final bucket of a 93-90 Pacers win. It was one play in 82 games. George didn’t shoot well that day (7-of-21). But it was a textbook example of George’s ability to create his own shot, something that was sorely missing aside from Russell Westbrook on last year’s Thunder team.”

Brett Dawson asks Nick Collison whether this is his last season: “One day, Collison might complete a jersey-raising triumvirate in Oklahoma City. But whatever post-retirement tribute comes will have to wait. Asked if this will be his final NBA season, Collison said on Friday “I don’t know for sure.” “I know I’m a lot closer to the end than the beginning,” he said. “It’s hard to ever close a door. You just never know for sure.”

Nick Collison talks of Russell Westbrook’s future.

Kyrie Irving was incensed to hear his name included in potential blockbuster trades involving Paul George and Jimmy Butler: “Kyrie Irving reportedly wants to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers in part because of trade talks that included him earlier in the offseason. According to Ramona Shelburne, Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, the point guard was included in packages for Paul George and Jimmy Butler, each of whom were instead dealt to Western Conference teams. These talks “upset him even more when he found out about it, sources said.” There was apparently no communication with the player the way there used to be under previous general manager David Griffin.”

Paul George sits down with Lesley McCaslin for a 1 on 1 interview for NBA.com.

Nick Collison was ready to come back for his 15th season. He just needed the approval of one special person: “But the 36-year-old needed approval from one major influence before returning: His 11-year-old daughter, Emma. “I ask her about it, and she wants me to keep playing,” Collison told The Transcript. “She enjoys coming here, coming to the games. But that’s something I’m always trying to gauge is like, how are things going with her?” Collison lives in Oklahoma City during the season and Seattle during the summers. Emma spends the offseasons with dad, but lives with her mother in Kansas City, about a five-hour drive from OKC, during NBA time. She’ll come down for games. Or Collison will go visit her on off-days. “I’m a driver. I don’t mind,” he said. “I drive all the time.”

Fred Katz answering any of your Dakari Johnson-related questions.

Patrick Patterson loves going to the movies. No, like, really loves it: “As a college student at Kentucky, Patterson would host movie nights, inviting teammates to eat pizza and watch a flick once a week in his dorm room. In the NBA, he’s known to send a group text to his team shortly after its arrival in a new city — a movie, a time and a plan to meet in the hotel lobby. He’s a frequent film-watcher on flights, and when he has time to kill, he’ll often make his way to a multiplex, where he’s comfortable sitting alone to dig in and study a movie. And his interest doesn’t stop at the theater.”

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