6 min read

Thursday Bolts – 5.28.09

Thursday Bolts – 5.28.09

According to this formula devised by Roland Beech of 82Games.com, the No. 3 pick is historically more productive


than the No. 2. Oh yeah, that’s right, OKC picks third!: “First up is a simple, what should you expect, performance-wise from a given pick number? If you have say the 5th pick in the draft, what are your chances on average of landing a star player? … Keep in mind the stats are career per game averages so lower than the peak performance years of a player. Moreover, there is also some bias in that using recent years some of the current players may well spike up their career ‘standing’ with more years under the belt.”

Well this is cool – Joe Smith says he misses Oklahoma City: “It’s a testament to the franchise, it’s a testament to the guys in the locker room, my teammates down there, the direction of the organization … I grew really close to those guys down there,” Smith tells HOOPSWORLD. “That’s why it was a tough decision. Our record wasn’t right, wasn’t what we expected, but inside that locker room we had a good group, a tight group, and we really enjoyed being around each other. That’s always a tough situation to be in.” First and foremost, Smith knows he was witnessing something special as he watched Kevin Durant grow into a young NBA superstar. “KD’s a heck of a player,” says Smith. “Just being around him for the short time I was around him, seeing his work ethic, and how bad he wants to get better – he’s a heck of a talent. He brings a lot to the table on both ends of the floor, so the sky’s the limit for him. One day I think he’s going to be in a position to put his team in the playoffs and get a few runs at a championship.” Read the whole thing. Really great stuff.

Chad Ford’s second mock and he still has Rubio in OKC: “This is a tougher one. I’m told the Thunder like Rubio and that Rubio wouldn’t object to being in Oklahoma City. So from the Thunder’s point of view, the issue is how well Rubio would fit on the roster. Some in Oklahoma City see Russell Westbrook as the point guard of the future and aren’t sure how he’d fare without the ball in his hands. If Rubio is off the board, this could be a tough decision between Thabeet and James Harden. But Thunder GM Sam Presti is an opportunist. If he can get a couple of good assets in return for the No. 3 pick, he won’t be afraid to pull the trigger.”

Very interesting words about Chris Bosh and his ceiling: “That, however, has become too true. Over the past four seasons, Bosh has reached an appreciable but almost dead flat numerical plateau. His points per game have been 22.5, 22.6, 22.3, and 22.7. His rebounding numbers have ranged between 8.7 and 10.7; his assist numbers between 2.5 and 2.6; his blocked shots between 1.0 and 1.3. He has shot between .487 and .505, with the number trending slightly downward each year; he has attempted 8.3, 8.6, 8.3, and 8.0 free throws per game. Oh, and he has missed 12, 13, 15 and five games, and the Raptors have not won a playoff series. In other words, he has become an all-star, a fine and respectable player, and a 6-foot-10 metronome.”

Pete Mickeal for HoopsHype on Ricky Rubio: “Real advanced after beating Joventut, a club led by other small guy. This one you may have heard of: Ricky Rubio. That guy is amazing. First time I saw him it was like three or four years ago. I was playing for a team called Breogan in Northern Spain back then, my first year in the ACB. I saw a teenager on the court and I was like, “Who’s that kid?” They told me he was 15 or 16. Never saw something like that in the pros. I saw his knack for defense, his ability to play the game of basketball at such a young age. That is something rare to see: the knowledge and the awareness of basketball at such young age. And that was when he was 15 years old. Then I’ve seen him turn into a star in the Spanish League, which is no small potatoes. Now everybody in the States knows him. Can’t say I’m surprised.”

The NBA Combine starts today in Chicago: “This is still a critical time because a lot is derived from the data gathered at the combine. Key stats will be actual height (sneakers and barefoot), vertical leap (of course) and wingspan, along with lane agility and 3/4 court speed. These will be important results for players such as Stephen Curry and DeJuan Blair (height issues) and James Harden (athleticism issues). They could also raise the stock in others, such as Jrue Holiday (wingspan) and Gerald Henderson (athleticism). It was after the combine in Orlando last year, just as the workouts began, that Russell Westbrook’s stock soared for this same reason.”

It was only a matter of time before someone wrote this – will Chris Andersen be in OKC next year?: “Just like Birdman, who is like Rodman in that there’s really no one else like him in the NBA, a player who does one thing better than anyone else in the league and does all the grunt work well. You win titles with players like that. But would Thunder general manager Sam Presti take a flier on Birdman? No. Presti would sign Andersen only after the most intense research into the Birdman’s rehabilitation. My guess is, Birdman is not worth the financial risk. Maintaining fiscal sanity, so that the upcoming big contracts for Kevin Durant and Co. can be offered.”

More Griffin/Clippers/Thunder stuff: “For weeks now, the Clippers have been rumored to be enamoured with Spanish Guard Ricky Rubio. With his complicated buyout (which costs Rubio six million euros this season or 10 million euros next season), Rubio should slide past the Memphis Grizzlies, owners of the second pick, and still be available when Oklahoma City picks third. The Thunder is obviously keen on the former Sooner and the consensus top overall prospect, Blake Griffin … So, rather than giving up the top pick and Davis in exchange for Rubio and a handful of iffy contracts, expect Los Angeles to stand pat and live with the decision to draft Griffin. Don’t forget, as HOOPSWORLD’s Steve Kyler pointed out yesterday, the Clippers have season ticket holders to think of. The sooner they draft the Sooner, the more tickets they are likely to sell before the season.”

Sam Amico: “Oklahoma City would love to somehow land Griffin, adding a talent from the state university to an already up-and-coming roster that includes swingman Kevin Durant, forward Jeff Green and point guard Russell Westbrook. But with Westbrook in the fold, the Thunder would have no desire to add Davis. There is, however, the possibility of bringing in a third team to make everyone happy. According to some reports, the Thunder and Clippers may swap picks (the Thunder draft third overall), enabling the Thunder to take Griffin and the Clippers to draft Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio. But again, a lot of that is contingent on the Clippers being able to find a taker for Davis. Obviously, the Thunder would have to offer more than just the No. 3 pick to land the No. 1. And obviously, they want to hang on to Durant, Green and Westbrook. But what Thunder do have is an abundance of future first-round selections. They own two potential lottery choices next season — their own and Phoenix’s — and a first-rounder in 2011. Two of those choices and this year’s No. 3 would likely be enough to land Griffin.”

Clark of The Lost Ogle on the Griffin situation: “Keeping those eight things in mind, it appears the top three fell in the wrong order.  Based on the mantra of taking the best player available, L.A. should take Griffin, Rubio should be selected by Memphis, and the Thunder can decide who is third best.  But really, Griffin fits best with OKC, Rubio wants to land with the Clippers, and Memphis would rather stretch to take Thabeet. This trade would solve that problem: Clippers select Griffin; Memphis selects Rubio; Oklahoma City selects Thabeet; L.A. then ships Griffin to Oklahoma City with Baron Davis and his monster contract; Memphis ships Rubio to L.A. (and possibly Darko Milicic); Oklahoma City ships Thabeet and the #25 pick to Memphis … Will it happen?  Not a chance in hell. Sure it was a waste of time to even consider this, but what else are we going to do during the Summer?”

Liz Toppi says to hold the hype on Rubio: “His stats are not overwhelmingly impressive. His mid-range game and ability to shoot off the dribble are below average. He is prone to turning the ball over. Those deficiencies stand out the Euroleague. That’s partially because European ball is predicated on efficiency – accurate shooting and taking care of the rock. But should a top 5 NBA prospect struggle to do those basic things in any league? Europe simply isn’t as competitive as the NBA.”

If you’re having trouble keeping up with all the moves OKC has made and all the picks the Thunder has swapped, HoopsWorld has you covered: “#25 – The Oklahoma City Thunder received the San Antonio Spurs first round pick when they traded Kurt Thomas to the Spurs back in February of 2008. The Thunder could be looking for a big man or a point guard at this spot.”