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Training Camp Headlines

Training camp starts today. As far as all my sources and knowledge, every player will be in camp. Reggie Jackson should sign this afternoon to the rookie scale agreed upon in the new CBA ($993,700 for three years). With contracts finally being able to be signed, I’ll have  some training camp headlines to watch out for after the jump.

Re-signing Russell Westbrook.
Sounds like a sure thing and a “duh” type of headline, but it’s completely true. Russell Westbrook is almost as important to this organization as Kevin Durant. Now, I’m not saying KD is under RW.. I’m just saying without Westbrook,the offense isn’t the same. Westbrook has been working on his game in the offseason (story coming up), so we looked to see an improved shooting game from him. It’ll be interesting to see how the new rules the NBA has set forth will effect Westbrook getting to the basket, but we should definitely see an improved Westbrook. Which warrants him a new contract. Need to lock him down for a long time and secure the pieces to a dynasty.

Resign Daequan Cook.
Cook was one of the best three point shooters in the NBA. Though he saw limited minutes he was a very bright spot in a poor three point shooting performance last season by the Thunder.  The team shot 34.6%, which at one point the team was shooting under 32%. Cook was inserted at key points and was able to either keep the Thunder in it with his ball or swing momentum, giving them the lead. Cook has already been offered his qualifying offer. I’ll be surprised if it has to go further than that. The one time three point shooting champion raves about how he loves Oklahoma City. It’s a great fit for him. They’ll find time to get him into the line up. Only thing that worries me about Cook is that he’s inconsistent. Every year his three point percentage fluctuates.

  • 1st year – 33.2%
  • 2nd year – 38.1%
  • 3rd year – 31.7%
  • 4th year – 42.2%
We’ll see how he comes out this season. Hopefully it’ll be on the Oklahoma City. I think if Cook doesn’t sign immediately, it could look bad for Oklahoma City.
Free Agency.

With the waiving of Nate Robinson the Thunder will have a little extra cash to spend. They’ll have virtually 13 players under contract, not including Cook. Will the Thunder be quiet in the free agency or will they go out signing a veteran? This all remains to be seen. It’s a very different off season for Oklahoma City. Not because of the lockout, because the Thunder don’t need too much more to complete their roster.

Kendrick Perkins.
Kendrick Perkins was a bit over weight last season and hobbled while recoving from reconstructive knee surgery after tearing his ACL. Fact is, Perkins was about 60%. Perkins graded himself at a D. There is video and scouting reports showing that Perkins is slimmed down
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVHn31J8d2] It’ll be interesting to see if he looks just as good on the court as he does in individual workout videos.

Ability to close.
Last season this was something that the Thunder lacked. Good stat for you. The Thunder led by 10 or more points in the second half in 4 out of 5 games in the Western Conference Finals against the Mavericks. Is it a testament to how veteran savvy the Mavs are? Yeah, partially. It also was a testament to the offense and how it can become stale and a jump shooting team. When this team panics in the waning minutes of the game, they stand around and settle for a 19 foot jump shot with about two seconds on the play clock. Scott Brooks needs to work on how he’s going to get the offense to initiate and move within its self instead of just standing around. Not to mention Kevin Durant’s ability to get to the basket. He shown even in his charity game in Oklahoma City that he still isn’t confident enough to attack the basketball.

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