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Sixteen stories I’d like to read before training camp starts

Sixteen stories I’d like to read before training camp starts

There’s about 49 days until training camp gets underway and while we’re stuck in NBA purgatory right now, stuff can still happen. Maybe not necessarily big, huge important things, but it’s not like the entire basketball world stops. So what would be good news for Thunderfans from now until then? Let’s look.

Kevin Durant lifts car, rescues child. Not only would it be a good deed, but it would definitely clue us in to the supposed strength KD has added this offseason. He’s reportedly put on 10 pounds of muscle, which is a great start. Last season he was easily bumped off the ball and didn’t take contact at the rim all that well. He was solid posting up, but he had trouble getting good position on the block. With the added strength, hopefully KD becomes a better defender and is basically offensively illegal.


Byron Mullens changes name back to B.J.. I just can’t get used to “Byron” Mullens. It doesn’t feel right. Though with it, he’s locked himself into a sure roster spot on the Reggie Cleveland All-Stars. But more than anything, now he doesn’t have to regret those tats he got on each arm that say “B.J.”.

Shaun Livingston continues his journey back. Because it never gets old reading about how Livingston has overcome a devastating, gruesome, awful, horrific, face-numbing, throw-upping knee injury. I’m a sucker for comeback stories and there’s not too many in the NBA better than Livingston’s. Not just for the team-I-happen-to-root-for’s sake, but also for Livingston, I hope he has a fantastic year, exceeds every expectation and returns to the player he was prior to the injury.

Nick Collison really likes living in Seattle, thinks Oklahoma City is hot in the summer and is good at Twitter. Oh wait, I read that one yesterday.

Steve Kerr: “We’re ready to completely blow the roster up and tank all season.” The dream is for the Thunder to exceed expectations, win 40 or more games, maybe make a playoff push and at the same time, the Suns stink giving OKC a top 10 lottery pick next season. Wouldn’t that be just swell?

Nenad Krstic decides to shave head. I appreciate the stubbornness and commitment, but at some point, the enemy wins. Most folks wouldn’t know it, but Krispy is just 26 years old. His thinning cranium field ages him five or six years and somehow makes him look less athletic than he really is. It’s his hair and he can do whatever he wants, but I’m just thinking a nice buzz could help his look. And that’s really what it’s all about.

Thunder to release alternate road uniform soon. I actually like the current road unis, but it’s time for an alternate. I think the main issue holding things up is management can’t decide on what the secondary color is. Yellow? Red/orange? Dark blue? Whatever it is, I’m ready for it.

Jeff Green: “I am so good at rebounding and playing the post now that it’s kind of ridiculous.” Two wishes we had for Uncle Jeff this offseason: Become a better rebounder and become a better post player. I think Jeff Green can be a quality power forward (more on this later). He’s just got to develop his game a little more. He’s only had one year at the four and he committed himself to the boards mid-way through last season and his numbers improved dramatically. And he has the tools to score and defend the post, but he needs to refine his skills. Here’s to hoping both things got better this summer.


Rumble to get a haircut. I like Rumble. I really do. I think the Thunder did a great job with him. But he’s a little too hairy. For some reason that bothers me. I think if you trimmed up his bangs a little and tightened up that turkey beard, he’d resemble more of a, you know, bison.

Desmond Mason signs one-year deal with Oklahoma City; named assistant coach in waiting. Honestly, Dez doesn’t really have a spot on this team right now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to keep him. For some reason, it just feels right to have him on an OKC roster. And it’s not like he’s a bad basketball player. He’s a tough-minded defender, a great leader and can score the ball a little. The reality is that Mason is likely gone, but still, I’d love to have him for at least another year. And then after his career is over, keep him around even still.

Kevin Durant: “I can NOT wait until July 1st, 2010 so that I can sign an extension with OKC because I’m never, ever leaving.” We get stories often about Kevin Durant and his impending free agency. We also get quotes from Durant often saying he has no intention of going anywhere. But I like to keep hearing him say it. And it would be really nice to hear him say it so emphatically.


Steve Novak signs offer sheet with Oklahoma City. I just really think he’s a guy worth having on your roster at around a million per. He’s 6-foot-10 and can shoot the lights out of the gym. Granted, he’s not much of a defender and he really doesn’t have a position, but when you’ve got a team like OKC that’s three-point challenged, someone like Novak can’t hurt. Robert Vaden doesn’t look to be working out right now, so how about trying someone else? I’m down.

Thunder to wear black shoes for entire season. Maybe it’s just me, but I love the way Oklahoma City looks on the floor with black sneaks on. Especially in the road jerseys. It all just looks better to me. Does it matter? Probably not to anyone but me.

Russell Westbrook says his outside shot is much improved and that the game has slowed down for him. Westbrook has outrageous ability. It’s just a matter of him harnessing it. He’s worked this summer on his jumpshot and also on becoming more of a true point man. He looked better at both things in the Orlando Summer League. But he still plays in front of himself at times, getting into trouble. At this time of year you always like reading positive things that you’re hoping for. It’s definitely not true just because someone says it, but it doesn’t hurt the hoping.

Etan Thomas feels better than he ever has. Nobody was knocked off their rocker when OKC traded for The Big Poet. But it’s not like he’s a bad basketball player. He’s had to fight injuries over the last few seasons and hasn’t been completely healthy. Scott Brooks probably isn’t expecting 25 minutes a night from Thomas, but it would be a treat if he were back to being healthy and was poised to be a quality role player.

Cubs clinch third straight NL Central pennant. Because I’m a Cubs fan, that’s why.