Archive for the ‘ OKC Thunder Blog ’ Category

Monty Williams will miss rest of season

The Oklahoma City Thunder announced today that assistant coach Monty Williams will not return to the team this season after the passing of his wife Ingrid last month.

Oklahoma City Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti:

“The most important thing for Monty during this time is for him to be with his family, and the most important thing for us as an organization is to support him as a person, in any way that we can. Even though Monty will not return to the team this season, his presence will be felt by all of us within the program and we will remain close with him and his family.”

Oklahoma City Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan:

“I have really enjoyed my relationship with Monty, and clearly we will miss him, but we value and embrace that it is critical he is there for his family at this time and our focus is on doing whatever we can, in any small way, to help him. He and his family will continue to be in our thoughts.”

Thunder sign Nazr Mohammed

Thunder sign Nazr Mohammed

The Oklahoma City Thunder signed free agent center Nazr Mohammed to a contract today, team Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced.

Mohammed (6-10, 250), who is best used in very limited minutes off the bench, previously spent two seasons with the Thunder (2010-12), appearing in 87 games (eight starts) averaging 3.9 points and 3.3 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per game.

A 17-year NBA veteran, Mohammed owns career averages of 5.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 15.9 minutes in 1000 games (354 starts) with Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York, San Antonio, Detroit, Charlotte, Oklahoma City and Chicago.

Charles Barkley has been a vocal critic but staunch fan of the Thunder for a long time.

But Thursday night, as the Thunder stumbled to their sixth loss in eight games since the NBA All-Star break, Barkley said he has seen enough. The Inside the NBA TNT studio analyst declared he has jumped off the Thunder bandwagon.

“I’m going to go ahead and say it right now. I’m off the Oklahoma City bandwagon. I am totally off. They are not going to win (the championship). But I will tell you this. You know whose bandwagon I’m on? The Los Angeles Clippers. If Blake Griffin comes back and dominates down low, the L.A. Clippers got a chance of winning a world championship…They’ve got the best leader in Chris Paul. They won’t be making those mistakes that the Thunder make. Chris Paul’s going to get them into something every time.”

Barkley’s biggest beefs with the Thunder through the years have been the team’s reliance on its star tandem of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, its shot selection and its poor late-game execution.

– The Oklahoman

Nuggets trade Randy Foye to Thunder

Nuggets trade Randy Foye to Thunder

The Denver Nuggets have acquired guard D.J. Augustin, forward Steve Novak, two second round picks and cash consideration from Oklahoma City in exchange for guard Randy Foye, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.

Augustin, 28, has appeared in 34 games for Oklahoma City this season, averaging 4.2 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 15.3 minutes per game. The eight-year NBA veteran has appeared in 545 career games (170 starts) for Charlotte, Indiana, Toronto, Chicago, Detroit and Oklahoma City, averaging 9.7 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 24.2 minutes per game. He was drafted by Charlotte out of the University of Texas with the ninth overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft.

Novak, 32, has appeared in seven games for the Thunder this season, averaging 2.4 points in 3.4 minutes of action. He has appeared in 456 career games (six starts), averaging 4.7 points and 1.3 rebounds while shooting 43.2% from three-point range in 10 seasons with New York, L.A. Clippers, Houston, Toronto, San Antonio, Utah, Dallas and Oklahoma City. The Marquette University product was drafted by Houston with the 32nd overall pick of the 2006 NBA Draft.

Foye, 32, has appeared in 185 games (106 starts) with Denver over the past three seasons, averaging 9.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 25.1 minutes per game. The 10-year veteran has appeared in 656 career games (392 starts) with Minnesota, Washington, L.A. Clippers, Utah and Denver, averaging 11.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.

Thunder assistant coach Mo Cheeks out six weeks

The Oklahoma City Thunder announced that assistant coach Maurice Cheeks underwent successful hip surgery today. Cheeks will return to the team in a week for practices and meetings, and will be back on the Thunder bench for games in approximately six weeks.

Oklahoma City Blue Head Coach Mark Daigneault will join Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan’s staff as an assistant for the remainder of the season. Blue assistant coach Jarell Christian will assume Daigneault’s role with the Blue for the rest of their 2015-16 campaign.

Daigneault becomes the third coach to be called up to the Thunder from its D-League team. Darko Rajakovic was hired as Thunder assistant coach in July 2014 after serving two seasons as the head coach of the Thunder’s D-League team, and Royal Ivey was hired at the start of the 2015-16 campaign as a player development assistant following his stint as an assistant for the Blue during the 2014-15 season.

On the OKC Thunder offense

The OKC Thunder are 33-13 this season and getting 26.6 ppg from Kevin Durant, 23.9 ppg from Russell Westbrook, 13.2 ppg from Serge Ibaka, and 11.6 ppg from Enes Kanter. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on what drives the Thunder offense:

In general, the Thunder offense seems to be moving a bit more fluidly this season. OKC’s assists are up and its point distribution is more spread.

But despite Billy Donovan’s tweaks, the engine of the Thunder’s offense is still its rare individual talent. Nearly everything is predicated off Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook making something happen, often in isolation.

Per NBA.com/stats, the Thunder ranks dead last in the league 263.3 passes per game, more than 10 fewer than the next team (the Detroit Pistons). But despite that, OKC’s offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) is second in the league at 109.2, right behind the Warriors (112.7) and ahead of the Spurs (108.2). The Warriors average 325.2 passes per game, fifth most in the NBA. The Spurs average 339.0, third most.

Thunder at Nets game start time moved to 7:30pm ET

Like much of the Eastern United States, New York City is covered with a ton of snow. So today’s area game is being moved to a later start time.

The NBA announced that the Brooklyn Nets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder game at Barclays Center scheduled for 3:30 pm ET today has been delayed to 7:30 pm ET “due to the impact of severe weather conditions in the New York area.”

Yes, there’s bigtime playoff football on today. But the chance to see Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and friends unleash their basketball magic in person is a great draw. We’ll be at the game.

Look, people. Pregame NBA dance routines from players are important. They set the tone. Bad dance routine? Expect a loss. That’s just the way it is.

OK, maybe not quite. Perhaps we’re just being silly. Still, pregame dance routines are fun, so we support them and any coverage they receive.

Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

Cameron Payne says there’s a simple name for it.

“Swagdaddies,” he says.

Hyphen?

“No hyphen. One word. Swagdaddies.” With an emphasis on swag.

Payne has used that word to describe other things, like a ridiculous Euro step, but in this case is talking about his now moderately infamous pregame dance routine — if you want to call it that — with Russell Westbrook. It goes like this: Actually, it doesn’t go like anything. You’ve just sort of got to see it. And then watch the next game’s routine, because no two are the same.

“Every game is something new,” Westbrook said.

john wall

Washington Wizards guard John Wall and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and Thunder guard Russell Westbrook today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month, respectively, for games played in December.

Wall averaged 22.6 points, 11.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals to lead the Wizards to an 8-8 record, despite the absence of several key players to injury. He is the first player to average at least 22.0 points, 11.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals in a month since Chris Paul in April 2009. Wall scored 20 or more points 11 times, his career high for a month, and recorded 10 games with at least 20 points and 10 assists, the most in team history for a month. The guard also became the first player to post three straight games with at least 26 points, 12 assists and five rebounds since Dwyane Wade in November 2006. Wall shot 46.0 percent from the field and 83.6 percent from the free throw line.

kevin durant

Durant (24.9 ppg) and Westbrook (23.8 ppg), co-winners in the West, ranked sixth and seventh in the NBA in scoring, respectively, as the Thunder went 12-3 in December. Durant added 7.2 rebounds and 5.7 assists while shooting 50.8 percent from the field. He reached the 20-point mark in all 15 games and shot 87.3 percent from the free throw line. Westbrook led the league in steals (2.73 ppg) and contributed 8.9 assists (fourth in the West) and 5.9 rebounds. He had three 30-point games, handed out at least 10 assists seven times and posted his third triple-double of the season.

russell westbrook

Other nominees for NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month were Atlanta’s Paul Millsap, Detroit’s Reggie Jackson, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, the Los Angeles Clippers’ J.J. Redick, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic, Portland’s CJ McCollum and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard.

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on a young bruising Thunder forward whose playing time is coming by way of the D-League:

Mitch McGary spending serious time in D-League

On Tuesday, the 6-foot-10, 260-pound McGary posted his second-consecutive double-double for the D-League Oklahoma City Blue with 14 points and 10 rebounds in 27 minutes in a win over the Idaho Stampede.

The 2014 Thunder first-rounder hasn’t appeared in a game for the Thunder since Nov. 23 and hasn’t been on the Thunder’s active roster for a game since Nov. 27. McGary, however, is getting consistent minutes for the Blue he wasn’t seeing behind the Thunder’s frontcourt logjam of Serge Ibaka, Enes Kanter, Steven Adams and Nick Collison.

In 11 games with the Blue, McGary is averaging 14.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 assists in 26.1 minutes per game.

Russell Westbrook is dominant on the basketball court, and has made a huge move off of it, as reported by the Oklahoman:

Russell Westbrook makes big donation to UCLA

How does “Russell Westbrook Court” sound?

On Monday, UCLA announced that Westbrook has a made a “significant financial contribution” to its Mo Ostin Basketball Center project — the largest donation by a former basketball student-athlete in school history.

For his contribution, the university will honor Westbrook, who played two seasons at UCLA, by naming the new men’s basketball practice floor “Russell Westbrook Court.”

“When I heard that I was a little surprised,” Westbrook said Monday via conference call. “I can’t wait until it is all said and done to kind of go in there and shoot and see the court and see my name. It is going to be a great thing to see.”

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Dec. 7 through Sunday, Dec. 13.

DeRozan led the Raptors to a 4-0 week, averaging 24.0 points (third in the conference), 5.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting 51.7 percent from the field and 91.9 percent from the free throw line. DeRozan matched his career record, scoring 25-or-more points in three consecutive games, and led Toronto with a game-high 28 points against San Antonio on Dec. 9.

Durant led Oklahoma City to a 4-0 record behind averages of 27.3 points (third in the league), 8.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists (ninth in conference), and 1.8 steals. He shot 59.7 percent from the floor (fourth in the conference) while scoring 30 or more points in two games and was 26-of-27 (96.3 percent) from the foul line. Durant recorded his first triple-double of the season when he scored 25 points to go with 12 rebounds and 10 assists against Atlanta on Dec. 10. The next night, he scored 21 points, including the Thunder’s final 11, in a 94-90 road win over Utah.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Chicago’s Pau Gasol, Cleveland’s LeBron James, L.A. Clippers’ Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor and Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe.

This Russell Westbrook buzzer-beating inbounds play at the end of the second quarter Sunday against the Utah Jazz was absolutely awesome. For the game, which the Thunder won in overtime, Westbrook shot just 9-of-25 but finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals.

Watch the video. Simply amazing.

Thunder assign Josh Huestis to D-League

The Oklahoma City Thunder has assigned forward Josh Huestis to the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Huestis has appeared in seven games (all starts) for the Blue this season, averaging 10.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.57 blocks in 32.7 minutes per game.

He is expected to be in uniform tonight when the Blue hosts the Santa Cruz Warriors at the Cox Convention Center at 7 p.m.

reggie jackson

Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson and the Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Nov. 30 through Sunday, Dec. 6.

Jackson led the Pistons to a 4-0 week behind averages of 27.0 points (fourth in the conference), 8.8 assists (second in the conference), 3.0 rebounds and 1.75 steals. Jackson shot 56.9 percent from the field, 52.9 percent from three-point range and 89.3 percent from the foul line. He scored 20 or more points in each contest, and eclipsed the 30-point plateau twice. During a 127-122 overtime win over the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 2, Jackson scored 34 points and dished out a season-high 16 assists.

stephen curry

Curry led the Warriors to a 4-0 week, with all wins coming on the road, behind a league-best 34.5 points. Curry, who also averaged 4.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds, scored 25 or more points in each contest, and twice reached the 40-point plateau. On Dec. 5, Curry connected on 9-of-15 three-point field goals en route to a game-high 44 points as the Warriors topped the Toronto Raptors 112-109.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Al Horford, Houston’s James Harden, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Memphis’ Marc Gasol, Miami’s Dwyane Wade and Orlando’s Victor Oladipo.

paul george

The Indiana Pacers’ Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Nov. 23 through Sunday, Nov. 29.

George led the Pacers to a 3-0 week behind an Eastern Conference-leading 37.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals. He shot 54.7 percent from the field, 57.1 percent from three-point range and 86.7 percent from the foul line. On Nov. 24, George tallied 40 points on 14-of-19 shooting, including 7-of-8 from beyond the arc, during a 123-106 win over the Washington Wizards.

kevin durant

Durant led the Thunder to a 3-0 week behind averages of 30.3 points (second in the Western Conference), 8.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 blocks (fourth in the Western Conference). He shot 58.5 percent from the field, 52.2 percent from three-point range and 94.4 percent from the foul line. On Nov. 27, Durant recorded 34 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and three blocks during a 103-87 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Cleveland’s Kevin Love, Golden State’s Draymond Green, Houston’s James Harden, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Orlando’s Victor Oladipo, Philadelphia’s Robert Covington, Portland’s Damian Lillard, and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on the OKC Thunder schedule, which has kept things moving, to say the least:

Unusual early-season schedule for Thunder

Flight. Game. Flight back home.

Flight. Game. Flight back home.

Flight. Game. Flight back home.

That’s how it’s been so far for the Thunder this season — a strange scheduling quirk that hasn’t sent OKC on a multiple-game road trip through the first month.

This week, that finally changes, with the Thunder heading southeast for a Monday night game in Atlanta and a Thursday night game in Miami. OKC, surprisingly, doesn’t have a three-plus game road trip until early January.

The OKC Thunder are 5-3 this season, but are currently without the services of Kevin Durant, who through eight games is averaging 28.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg and 3.0 apg. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting the latest:

Thunder coach says Kevin Durant injury is not serious

Thunder coach Billy Donovan said Thursday that Kevin Durant’s injury is “nothing too serious” and that Durant hasn’t been frustrated by his latest injury setback.

On a day when Durant was not made available to the media, Donovan was asked about Durant’s mood since straining his hamstring against the Washington Wizards this week. Durant was third in the league in scoring (28.1 points per game) before the strain, which will keep him sidelined at least 7-10 days.

Kevin Durant out with hamstring injury

Kevin Durant out with hamstring injury

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) today that confirmed he has a strained left hamstring that he sustained during the second quarter of last night’s 125-101 victory at Washington, the team announced today. Durant will be re-evaluated in 7-10 days at which time a further update will be provided.

This season, Durant is averaging 28.1 points (fourth in NBA), 7.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.25 blocks and 34.7 minutes in eight games (all starts).

The Oklahoma City Thunder waived forward Michael Cobbins and guard Mustapha Farrakhan, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

The Oklahoma City Thunder roster now stands at 15.

Basketball blog