Author - Matt Tierney

Watch Andre Roberson Take the Court 30 Months After His Injury

What a moment for this man. Nearly 1,000 days rehabbing, recovering, and healing both physically and emotionally, Andre Roberson takes the court for his team.

It may not be the way he envisioned – no crowds, isolated in an unusual bubble environment – but every step of the way led is what makes this moment special.

I’ll be honest – I didn’t think he was coming back after this season began. Following his media day interview where he confidently declared he’s “100% ready”, only to hit what felt like the 100th setback, toppled my hopes for him.

I was wrong.

Welcome back, Dre.

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Giannis Will Miss Games to Attend Funeral of Brother Thanasis Who Was Posterized

Giannis after the play:

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The brother of former MVP Giannis has been murdered. To make matters worse, here’s the Wikipedia of the guy who did the horrid act.

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An absolute disaster on all accounts for the Antetokounmpo family legacy. Some are even saying Lebron deserves the MVP over Giannis just based on today’s atrocities.

It should be noted that Thanasis was fine following the play which is why I’m allowed to joke about it now.

No word yet from the younger Antetokounmpo on his plans to retire.

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Day 2 and Melo Still Makes His Rebounds Loud and Clear

Nuggets are against guards under 6’10”. Everyone is missing buckets. Carmelo Anthony is still Carmelo Anthony. A look into the first two days of real live basketball.

Basketball is back. I’ve never been more excited for meaningless scrimmage games in my entire life.

Sure, everyone is shooting the ball like they haven’t seen a hoop in, I don’t know, 133 days. But WHO CARES IT IS A BALL CLUNKING THE RIM ON LIVE TELEVISION.

Day One

Day one was pretty meh. The most notable thing was that Miami’s graphics team did a clever move adding crowd noise and visuals to the screens around the court. (It would be a real shame if OKC had some LOUD city footage to put on those very screens. A damn shame)

Zion is out, PG and Kawhi played in limited minutes, and we saw rotations that you would expect for this type of scrimmage environment. All pretty melodramatic.

And oh yeah, this actually happened. Apparently Denver implemented a “you must be this tall to ride” rule during the quarantine.

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Can you imagine this lineup against the Rockets? Thoughts and prayers to PJ Tucker.

Cover Your Ears, Kids

We went from Olympic Melo to Hoodie Melo to now Slim Melo.

Regardless of the Melo, we are already getting some loud and proud rebounding, so to speak.

Later in the game, CJ vs. Rim. The rim won. HIT THE SQUAD RACK MY MAN.

 

In Thunder News

Per Joe Mussatto, Billy Donovan says “everyone” will be available. And by everyone, that means *everyone*. It’s been over two years now, will we see the long-awaited return? Tomorrow is the big day. 4PM CST. Book it.

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The Last Active Player Drafted in the 20th Century Officially Retired Today

That title alone is just insane when you think about it.

If you say “VC” to someone over 25, they obviously know you mean Vince Carter. If they’re under 25, they think you’re offering them money in 2K.

Spoiler alert: Vince Carter has a ridiculously long tenure in the NBA. But I wanted to see just how long by comparing other players in his draft class and goodness gracious it’s insane.

Here’s just a few examples of players in that draft (1998):

  • Paul Pierce, who has been spewing exclusively terrible takes on Rachel Nichols’ show
  • Dirk Nowitzki, who limped through his retirement year in 2019
  • Mike Bibby, who’s been coaching basketball since 2013 (!!!)
  • Antawn Jamison, who started working as a TV analyst for the Lakers in 2014

But Matt, what about the next year? Maybe this draft is a bad example.

Buddy… let’s look at the 1999 draft:

  • Elton Brand was drafted and is now LITERALLY A GENERAL MANAGER
  • Steve Francis
  • Jason Terry
  • Shawn Marion
  • Lamar Odom

If you’re any younger than about 16 you didn’t watch these guys at all. And they were drafted the year AFTER Vince Carter.

His length in the NBA is just wild. To commemorate him, here’s a video of exclusively absolute JAMS by VC.

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ICYMI: We Got Some Juicy Details on Perkins Comments, Kyrie Irving and Durant Signing

  • Was Kyrie and KD ever considering the Knicks?
  • What did Kyrie really say on that conference call?
  • Perkins speaks to Scoop after his comments about Kyrie’s call and KD’s Twitter comment

This, and much more, on the most recent Topic: Thunder podcast. Check it out below!

Apple
Spotify
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Thunder Continue to Kick Butt as They Recognize Juneteenth

It may not be much, but it’s a start.

Juneteenth has been an especially important holiday this year (is it a holiday? that word sounds to joyful when talking about slavery. maybe occassion? I’m not sure)

It’s a great day to reflect and learn about our past, even the parts we find appalling. Here are some useful links to learn more about this day and what it means.

By the way, it’s also called Jubilee Day?? How have we not incorporated that more into this occasion? What an awesomely named day.

https://www.juneteenth.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juneteenth

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Kyrie Irving’s Role in Conference Call Could Delay NBA Season

Prior to Thursday evening, the NBA was dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s to finish out the season in Walt Disney World. There was a set date, a set location, and a set list of guidelines.

But as the league pushed forward with their plans, another reality emerged. 

Reports from Shams, Woj, Taylor Rooks, and Keith Smith detail what seems to be a powerful message led by Kyrie Irving: we must use our platform to speak out against social injustice in our country.

The NBA is, of course, predominantly black athletes, and with the current state of affairs one can imagine their opinions on the social injustices we’ve seen in recent weeks. With these issues in mind, they have to make a decision – do they play in Orlando while continuing to speak about the injustices, or would their craft simply become a distraction?

Relief or Distraction?

It’s a difficult question to ask. There may not even be a right answer. But after last night’s call, there is a growing mindset that sports would only detract from George Floyd’s death and the movement it created in this country.

As you can imagine, there are many opinions on this decision. Some seem to agree with Kyrie, arguing that there must be pronounced changes to our social construct (or promises to said changes by our political leaders) before these athletes will use their talents as a source of entertainment. Others, however, argue that both social reform and a return to “normal sports” can occur simultaneously. As long as the players have their platform on and off the court, they are welcome to fight for what they believe.

My Own Thoughts

Personally (and this is, of course, my opinion and not necessarily the opinion of everyone else on this website), I find myself leaning in favor of Kyrie Irving’s arguments.

Watching basketball, especially the Thunder, is a great form of entertainment for all of us on this website. It’s a moment to forget the stresses of work or our personal life. But it is, by the same token, a distraction from the other issues surrounding our country.

In a strange way, COVID-19 has a silver lining to it. By stopping all normal life and activities, it gave us time to reflect. With the death of George Floyd, that period of reflection shifted solely to those social and civil injustices. It allowed thousands upon thousands of citizens who may have been working their normal jobs to protest in the streets and fight for reform. And without sports, those who typically would glue themselves to the screen of NBATV or ESPN were now watching the protests every evening.

All of these things manifested themselves into a perfect opportunity to create change in our society. And for Kyrie Irving alongside many other NBA players, we are deconstructing that opportunity if we start to add these entertainment sources.

With all of this said, I do believe there is a path to resume the season while the players continue to speak about these injustices using their platform, but it will need to be discussed carefully with the league.

Even after Kyrie’s statement, Woj and others continue to report that most NBA superstars want to resume the season in Orlando. But this plea last night created another schism that will take some time to amend.

Additionally, many players’ agents are pushing them to participate due to the long-term financial consequences — another factor that will become increasingly important the longer the season is delayed.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Short answer, I don’t know. I don’t know what degree of change is acceptable for the sector of the NBA community that wants to sit out the season. But at the very least, I hope this potential “lockout” of sorts can create another strong wave of awareness for the people of this country.

We might have differing opinions on the specific social issues at stake, but one thing is certain: we all want to go back to some form of normalcy. Maybe that means stepping out of your comfort zone, maybe it means listening more, maybe it means trying to understand the other side just a little bit better. Maybe then we will get the basketball we all want to see.

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Dark Horses to the NBA Finals

We’ve heard too much about Milwaukee and the LA’s. Boring. What better time for an underdog to sneak into the Finals than during a pandemic bubble dome stadium? 

An aside: I want to imagine the “bubble” is a stadium actually shaped like half of a bubble. I won’t listen to anything otherwise

 

1. Houston Rockets

David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

I think the Rockets are the most dangerous team that no one is really discussing. Before the season ended temporarily, there was concern among the national writers that Houston’s small ball game would wear down as they reached the playoffs.

Now, with a three month midseason break, PJ Tucker can recover from banging around with the 7-foot opponents and Westbrook will regain his full explosiveness (it wasn’t too far from 100% anyway but still).

Look for the Rockets to move up the standings (they are currently tied in win percentage with OKC) and potentially get into a 3-6 matchup to propel themselves to an easy first round.

 

2. OKC Thunder

Kathy Willins / AP

Listen, this is a Thunder website. Of course we’re gonna make the arguments in favor of OKC’s success.

Much like PJ Tucker recovering from all the banging around down low, so will Steven Adams. Year after year we have seen Steve lose steam in the first round of the playoffs, many assuming it was due to his wear and tear through the season.

We saw the same in the final games before the suspended season. Now he has his own 3 month break.

CP3, similarly, is an older point guard with historically bad injury luck at the end of the season (see Houston, 2016 WCF). He’ll be 100% ready to go as well. Expect a strong push immediately out the gate, as this team was clicking on all cylinders back in March.

Assuming no crazy changes in the standings, OKC will be in the 4-5 matchup, which could be against Utah or Houston. Either matchup is a very possible series win, and then it comes down to potential injuries among the Lakers or Clippers.

Remember last year the Warriors were basically handed the Larry O’Brien trophy before the postseason and then they fell apart? Anything can happen in the playoffs.

3. Denver Nuggets

Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post

Denver’s playoffs on the past has cast plenty of doubt among the their fanbase. But this team is full of weapons. Of course, you have Jokic (who apparently lost about 100 pounds during quarantine) and Jamal Murray, but you also have deadly shooters in Gary Harris and Will Barton and athletic young wings in Jerami Grant and Michael Porter Jr.

They can attack in so many different ways it’s really impossible to always contain them. If they can keep to their scheme and execute better in the playoffs than before, they can easily matchup with the Lakers or Clippers in full force.

 

4. Toronto Raptors

Really the only team in the East that I think can challenge the Bucks is Toronto.

The departure of Kawhi turned everyone’s eyes to the Clippers, but Toronto is still very, very good. Siakam and Van Vleet are a year older and more developed, OG Anunoby is back in the lineup, and the veteran mentality from Gasol and Lowry makes this team incredibly well-rounded and experienced.

It will take all of their forces to stop this Bucks team, but it is entirely possible. But I won’t be surprised if they finish atop the East.

 

That concludes the dark horses. What do you all think? Let us know.

Lu Dort is still not signed. MAKE THIS HAPPEN PRESTI.

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Presti on Roberson Return: “We’ve Got to Cross That Next Bridge”

This afternoon Sam Presti held a video press conference with Thunder media to discuss many topics including Lu Dort’s future with the team and Andre Roberson’s injury stats

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, the beard is gone, per Andrew Schlecht

Lu Dort Contract

Dort’s phenomenal rise for the OKC Thunder was quickly halted by this pandemic. With only a few days left on his two-way contract, it’s still unclear to Presti and the Thunder organization how this will be handled.

  • “We’re awaiting some clarity on that. There’s still conversations taking place between the players association and the league. We have plenty of time before we’re heading to Orlando.”
  • “He’s clearly someone we want going forward. That could be something that happens in the short term or later. I don’t know. But we’ll look for ways to make that happen.”

Andre Roberson Injury

With news bubbling that Roberson could be ready by the set July 31st reboot to the season, Presti was asked about his current situation.

  • “The time has really helped Dre, from a health point he’s doing really well. We are in a better place than we were on March 11th… but we have to cross the next bridge.”

It’s unlikely Roberson has played full contact basketball and will need considerable practice time before he can be an impact.

The Disney World Bubble

  • “It’s awesome we can do this, and it’s helpful, but it’s important these other issues don’t get ignored. I’m excited about the opportunity, but there’s a lot of other work to do in these other areas. We can’t lose sight of that.”

While we finally have a set date, there will be considerable precautions within the organization regarding COVID-19. No updates from the Thunder GM regarding their eight-game regular season schedule.

  • “I don’t have hard information on what it is. I do think it will look something like the schedule we had remaining, but you have other factors (teams needing to play additional games).”

Oklahoma City Protests

As protests continue across the country, Presti made his stance clear on the situation.

  • “When we entered this hiatus, we did it w/ a specific goal to come out of it more connected. With the events reverberating from the murder of George Floyd, that’s taken on another meaning. The listening and what we take from these moments has to drive sustainable change once the moment ceases a little bit. What’s this look like to scale this over a period of years and not just let it be a short-term solution to something that’s been systemic.”

Full statement from Erik Horne

 

 

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The Complete Regular Season Schedule for All 22 Teams

Now, before you go complaining about any errors let me say I did this pretty quickly. That said, there’s a few qualifiers:

  1. I went down each team’s schedule and picked the first eight teams that were invited to Orlando to create each team schedule. If an opposing team already finished playing eight teams in their own schedule, they were skipped.
  2. Since this is all in Orlando there aren’t actually home and away teams, I merely put those in as a prediction to the jerseys each team would likely wear.
  3. There are six teams in which they could not fill their eight game schedule because all of the other 22 teams completed their own eight games. Because of that I took liberties to assign each of the those six teams to one another in the last couple of games needed. (Designated by asterisks in table)

Enjoy!

OKC ThunderLA LakersLA ClippersDenver NuggetsUtah JazzDallas MavericksHouston RocketsMemphis GrizzliesPortland TrailblazersNew Orleans PelicansSA SpursSacramento KingsPhoenix Suns
vs Utah Jazz (G1)vs Houston Rockets (G1)vs Brooklyn (G1)@ SA Spurs (G1)@ OKC Thunder (G1)vs Phoenix Suns (G1)@ LA Lakers (G1)@ Portland Trailblazers (G1)vs Memphis Grizzlies (G1)@ Sacramento Kings (G1)vs Denver Nuggets (G1)vs New Orleans Pelicans (G1)@ Dallas Mavericks (G1)
@ Washington Wizards (G2)vs Denver Nuggets (G2)vs New Orleans (G3)@ LA Lakers (G2)vs New Orleans Pelicans (G2)@ LA Clippers (G3)@ Portland Trailblazers (G2)@ Utah Jazz (G3)vs Houston Rockets (G2)@ Utah Jazz (G2)vs Memphis Grizzlies (G3)vs Brooklyn Nets (G2)@ LA Clippers (G5)
@ Memphis Grizzlies (G4)@ Utah Jazz (G4)vs Dallas Mavericks (G2)vs LA Clippers (G4)vs Memphis Grizzlies (G2)@ Sacramento Kings (G3)vs Sacramento Kings (G4)@ SA Spurs (G2)vs Dallas Mavericks (G4)@ LA Clippers (G2)@ New Orleans Pelicans (G4)vs Dallas Mavericks (G3)vs Dallas Mavericks (G5)
vs Denver Nuggets (G4)vs Utah Jazz (G5)@ Denver Nuggets (G3)@ OKC Thunder (G4)vs LA Lakers (G3)@ Portland Trailblazers (G3)@ Dallas Mavericks (G6)vs OKC Thunder (G3)@ Boston Celtics (G3)vs SA Spurs (G3)vs Utah Jazz (G6)@ Houston Rockets (G3)@ Indiana Pacers (G3)
@ Miami Heat (G5)@Toronto Raptors (G6)vs Phoenix Suns (G2)@ Toronto Raptors (G5)@ LA Lakers (G4)@ Phoenix Suns (G3) @ Milwaukee Bucks (G5)@ Milwaukee Bucks (G3)@ Philadelphia 76ers (G5)@ Memphis Grizzlies (G6)@ Utah Jazz (G7)@ Orlando Magic (G3)@ Washington Wizards (G7)
@ Denver Nuggets (G8)@ Brooklyn Nets (G6)@ Miami Heat (G6)vs SA Spurs (G4)vs Houston Rockets (G4)@ Indiana Pacers (G5)vs New Orleans Pelicans (G7)@ Brooklyn Nets(G8)vs Sacramento Kings (G6)@ Denver Nuggets (G7)@ New Orleans Pelicans (G6)@ Philadelphia 76ers (G4)
vs Phoenix Suns (G8)vs Indiana Pacers (G7)vs SA Spurs (G6)@ SA Spurs (G5)vs Utah Jazz (G8)@ Philadelphia 76ers (G6)@ New Orleans Pelicans (G7)vs Memphis Grizzlies (G7)@ Sacramento Kings (G8)vs Indiana Pacers (G6)@ Miami Heat (G7)
@ LA Clippers (G8)vs Indiana Pacers (G8)vs OKC Thunder (G8)vs OKC Thunder (G6)@ Dallas Mavericks (G7)vs Milwaukee Bucks (G7)vs Toronto Raptors (G8)vs Boston Celtics (G6)@ Orlando Magic (G7)vs SA Spurs (G7)@ OKC Thunder (G7)
Milwaukee BucksToronto RaptorsBoston CelticsMiami HeatIndiana PacersPhiladelphia 76ersBrooklyn NetsOrlando MagicWashington Wizards
@ Boston Celtics (G1)vs Milwaukee Bucks (G1)@ Milwaukee Bucks (G2)@ Philadelphia 76ers (G1)vs Indiana Pacers (G1)@ LA Clippers (G1)@ Boston Celtics (G2)
vs Miami Heat (G1)vs Washington Wizards (G1)@ Indiana Pacers (G2)vs Miami Heat (G2)vs Washington Wizards (G3)@ Sacramento Kings (G2)vs OKC Thunder (G2)
vs Memphis Grizzlies (G5)@ Philadelphia 76ers (G3)@ Toronto Raptors (G4)vs Phoenix Suns (G4)vs Toronto Raptors (G3)vs Washington Wizards (G4)vs Sacramento Kings (G5)@ Philadelphia 76ers (G2)
vs Washington Wizards (G5)vs Boston Celtics (G3)@ Brooklyn Nets (G4)@ Orlando Magic (G3)vs Phoenix Suns (G6)vs Boston Celtics (G4)@ Brooklyn Nets (G5)@ Brooklyn Nets (G3)
vs Houston Rockets (G5)vs Denver Nuggets (G5)@ Washington Wizards (G6)vs OKC Thunder (G5)vs Houston Rockets (G6)vs Portland Trailblazers (G5)vs Orlando Magic (G4)vs Indiana Pacers (G4)@ Milwaukee Bucks (G5)
@ Washington Wizards (G8)vs LA Lakers (G5)@ Memphis Grizzlies (G8)vs Denver Nuggets (G6)@ Sacramento Kings (G7)vs Houston Rockets (G7)vs LA Clippers (G6)vs Brooklyn Nets (G7)vs Boston Celtics (G5)
@ Dallas Mavericks (G8)@ Milwaukee Bucks (G8)vs Portland Trailblazers (G4)vs Phoenix Suns (G7)@ LA Clippers @ Washington Wizards (G7)@ Orlando Magic (G6)vs New Orleans Pelicans (G8)vs Philadelphia 76ers (G7)
vs Toronto Raptors (G7)@ Houston Rockets (G8)vs Miami Heat (G8)@ Boston Celtics (G8)@ LA Lakers (G7)vs Orlando Magic (G8)vs Portland Trailblazers (G6)@ Philadelphia 76ers (G8)@ Milwaukee Bucks (G6)
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