4 min read

Thursday Bolts – 10.25.12

Thursday Bolts – 10.25.12

Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus on Serge Ibaka’s 3-point shooting: “Something noteworthy happened during the third quarter of Tuesday’s innocuous preseason game between the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder: Serge Ibaka made a three-pointer. During his first three NBA seasons, the promising young forward made just two three-pointers in six attempts. Ibaka has surpassed both figures during the exhibition campaign. After splitting his two attempts from downtown Tuesday, Ibaka is 4-of-7 on three-point attempts in five games. Air Congo might have a slightly different meaning this season. These games being all about practice, Ibaka may just be working on adding a new element to his game that will not last into the regular season. However, Scott Brooks‘ comments to reporters on Monday suggest he’s comfortable with Ibaka continuing to fire from long distance at times when the results begin counting.”

Sean Deveney of Sporting News picking breakout preseason players: “It is possible that, as Oklahoma City weighs how to keep guard James Harden without breaking the bank, Aldrich could wind up replacing center Kendrick Perkins, whose contract has been outweighing his production. With that in mind, there have been some positives for Aldrich in the preseason. He is still mostly rough edges, and it’s doubtful he will ever be a real offensive threat, but he has shown that he can rebound and sets good screens. Aldrich is not very agile, and that hurts him defensively, but he is a respectable rim-protector (1.6 blocks) and considering what the Thunder have gotten from Perkins, Aldrich could be a viable future option.”

Seattle finally has their new arena.

Andrew Unterberger of TBJ ranking League Pass teams: “As with last year, OKC scores relatively low on this list by virtue of having a lot of nationally televised games, few new players or interesting subplots, and basically being shoo-ins for home court advantage in at least the first round of the playoffs. Curious to see what, if anything, the team can get out of Perry Jones III and Hasheem Thabeet, but I’m already sick of the James Harden saga and I’m already dreading the first 5-24 Russell Westbrook game and the ESPN columns and First Take debates that will ensue. Wake me up when the post-season starts.”

OKC is No. 2 in Yahoo!’s power rankings.

Dennis Velesco of TBJ on West X-factors: “James Harden: The Beard Watch is officially on! How will Harden come back this season, knowing that there are really only two possibilities: 1) re-sign with the team long-term or 2) get traded at the deadline. I highly doubt the latter happens and the franchise and Harden work it out somehow during next offseason, but you have to wonder if the team re-upping with Serge Ibaka and lessening the chances of re-signing Harden hurt his feelings to some degree. It had to at least been a blow to his ego, and if so, how much does that affect him on the court?”

Joe House of Grantland trying to pick the next JaVale McGee: “As a fan of the Washington Professional Basketball Team, I feel mildly qualified to opine on “what made JaVale JaVale.” Which means I should also have some insight into “the next JaVale.” (Why not more certainty on any of this? Because dude has weird-sauce running through his veins.) So let’s start with the ingredients in the JaVale Jumbalaya: one part lack of self-awareness (side note, I STRONGLY reject the “misunderstood genius” meme that the recent ESPN The Magazine ventured; I consumed the McGee for three years, and NOT ONCE EVER did the word “genius” enter the equation), two parts untapped and unexplored talent, one part disorderly priorities, and one part indecipherable social-media presence. This, of course, is an off-the-beaten path concoction, one that requires a special chef with cutlery skills as likely to slice a thumb as julienne a cucumber. I have looked in the NBA pantry a number of times the past several days pondering the “next,” and one name keeps jumping off the shelf: Perry Jones III. Uninvited to the draft, showed up anyway. Brilliant talent, less brilliant effort. And a flair with Twitter? Yes, a flair with Twitter. PJ III, get settled in with the young fellas in OKC, strap on an Elmo backpack, and do your thing.”

Pickup lines for Nick Collison.

The most important preview of the season, Paul Lukas’ Uni Watch preview: “The Thunder haven’t officially unveiled their new alternate uniform yet, but multiple sources indicate it will look like these video game leaks. (Yes, those screen shots show the team’s name misspelled as “Thudner,” but the design is apparently legit.) It’s a surprising move, since it doesn’t bear any visual connection to the rest of the team’s uni program. Also, many observers (or at least this observer) had expected OKC to go with a jersey with “OKC” on the front.”

John Rohde: “Just my opinion, but I’m thinking Liggins will be the lone survivor. Though the Thunder needs depth at center, it’s difficult to find minutes for the No. 4 guy, which is why Orton played just 19 minutes all preseason. Rautins is a superb outside shooter, but OKC already has one of those in Daequan Cook, and you don’t want to swallow a $3.1 million contract by cutting Cook. Thompson, like every one of these candidates, needs more playing time, and it won’t come being at the end of the Thunder’s bench. It’ll come in Tulsa with the 66ers.”