Daily Thunder Rumblings – 31 July 2017

img_4133-5Hello new week. Let’s get this thing going. Here is Monday’s edition of DTR…

The Thunder signed UCLA guard Bryce Alford. The deal is likely a training camp invite.

Russell Westbrook was rumored to be playing in the Drew League against former teammate James Harden. Instead, he was at Disney Land with his new teammate, Noah Westbrook: “Westbrook even brought baby Noah, who despite being a few months old has been a major part of the Westbrook family’s travels this offseason. Westbrook took his newborn son to Paris back in June. Westbrook was reportedly supposed to play in the Drew League on Sunday night against a team which featured Chris Paul and James Harden. If Westbrook has enough energy to play pickup basketball after a day at a hot amusement park, he truly has a non-stop motor.”

Alex Abrines looks to get ready for international play with his home-country, Spain: “Abrines did not attend the Russell Westbrook-coordinated workouts in Santa Monica, California. It was always Abrines’ plan to start his summer attending friends’ weddings and traveling home to Spain before preparing for FIBA EuroBasket 2017. Since Friday, Abrines has been in the Spanish National Team training camp for EuroBasket, the 24-team European tournament which starts Aug. 31.”

How the Thunder’s experience with the G-League could contribute to Terrance Ferguson’s development: “A year later, Ferguson is a 19-year-old NBA rookie who on Saturday signed his rookie-scale contract with the Thunder, the team that selected 21st in last month’s draft. And Fraschilla – who’s worked with Ferguson at three straight Curry camps – is confident the 6-foot-7 swingman will bring his summertime approach to Oklahoma City, whether he’s suiting up for the Thunder or its G League affiliate, the Blue. “He’s the perfect young player for the G League,” Fraschilla said. “Especially because of the proximity to the NBA team and because of the investment that Sam (Presti) and Billy (Donovan) and their staff have made in the G League.”

Jimmy Do of OKCThunder.com looks at Terrance Ferguson’s journey from high school to Australia to the Thunder: “Displaying an unwavering commitment to the hoops-only life, Ferguson brought his mother to live with him and to help him navigate through anything that was not basketball. “I didn’t have worries about cooking or cleaning. I just had to worry about basketball,” said Ferguson. “She made it that much easier for me.” Despite Ferguson’s best laid plans, an adjustment period to the Aussie experience was simply unavoidable. There were the alleged face-eating koalas known as “drop bears” that haunted Ferguson, triggering a Pavlovian response to look up at the towering Eucalyptus trees overhead during walks — even long after teammates revealed the hoax.”

Fred Katz on Andre Roberson’s free throw struggles, how he’s looking to remedy those struggles, and Steven Adams’ unique free throw practicing technique: “The All-Defensive Second Teamer was in the midst of the best basketball of his career during the Thunder’s first-round playoff series this past spring. He was active off the ball; he was cutting, screening, and doing it all while defending MVP runner-up James Harden. It all changed when the Houston Rockets started intentionally fouling him near the end of Game 4. Roberson missed six of eight free-throw attempts during the final four-and-a-half minutes of that game and finished 2 of 12 for the night. His performance fell off in Game 5, when he was in admitted mental recovery mode. He wasn’t nearly as engaged the evening the Rockets clinched a 4-1 series victory.”

Another week of Westbrook not signing his extension, so another week for people to try and put 2 and 2 together: “Las Vegas, a city without an NBA franchise, seems an unlikely setting for another superteam. But some of the league’s elite talents are working out together in the Nevada desert this summer, forming a mix almost as intoxicating as the neon glare of the casinos on the Strip and the free-flowing alcohol. There’s LeBron James, of course, half a country away from the ructions going on in Cleveland around Kyrie Irving’s demand for a trade. There’s Chris Paul, the Houston Rockets’ new point guard, and Eric Bledsloe, the Phoenix Suns point guard, a rumored trade target for the Cavaliers. Also there: Derrick Rose, a onetime MVP attempting to overcome debilitating injuries and win a championship alongside James.”

According to Woj, here’s the reason why Paul George is in Oklahoma City and not Cleveland: “Indiana had Irving on its board as the No. 1 target for George, league sources said. The Pacers had a willingness to do a deal straight-up, but Cleveland declined several times, league sources said. What did nearly come together was a three-way trade that would’ve sent Kevin Love to Denver, Gary Harris to Indiana and George to the Cavaliers. Here’s where the deal fell apart, league sources said: Indiana wanted no protections on a future Cavaliers first-round pick. Cleveland balked, insisting the pick have lottery protection — and Indiana moved onto the Oklahoma City package of Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.”

Steven Adams is the dude! No question phases him.

Nick Gallo looks at Dakari Johnson: ““Dakari is the latest Thunder player to have benefitted from his commitment to his development plan with the Blue,” said Thunder General Manager and Executive Vice President Sam Presti at the time of the announcement. “As a result, he showed tremendous growth on both ends of the floor over the past two seasons and is ready to embark on his NBA career more prepared. Dakari adds to the core of young talent on our roster that we feel is an important tenet to our ability to sustain our success as we enter into a decade of Thunder basketball.” During the 2016-17 G League season, Johnson led the Blue to its first Southwest Division title by starting all 49 games and averaging a team-leading 18.5 points per game (13th in the league) and 7.9 rebounds in 29.0 minutes. He was consistent too, notching a career-high 13 double-doubles while scoring in double figures 45 times. For the season, he set career highs in points, assists (2.3), blocks (1.2) and field goal percentage (.557) in the regular season, further proof of his all-around growth as a player.”

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