Category - Thunder News

The Mike Tyson of basketball?

On Tuesday night Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd compared Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook to boxing legend Mike Tyson.

“He is the [Mike] Tyson of basketball,” Kidd said before his team’s game against the Thunder per Nick Friedell of “When the jump ball [goes up], he is coming as Tyson did [in getting] off the stool. When the bell rings, he’s coming for you. Whenever he’s on the floor, he plays at one speed, and that’s fast and hard.”

The comparison alone is fascinating and fun to think about, when you think about how Westbrook plays the game, you can compare it to the way a world class boxer would go about breaking down an opponent to get the knockout.

Westbrook likes to find his teammates early in games. Either by driving to the basket and dumping the ball under the basket to Steven Adams for a slam dunk or an easy layup or Westbrook will drive to the basket and kick the ball out to teammates out on the wings for either a long two or a three-point catch and shoot opportunity.

If you watch a world-class boxer work, they like to go to the body in the earlier rounds to soften up their opponents body and legs which in return makes the opponent start to drop their hands so that in the middle to later rounds the world-class boxer can go for the knockout.

Westbrook goes at the oppositions “Body” early by assisting his teammates earlier in games so that the opponents “Body & Legs” their interior defense will “Soften” up which allows Westbrook in the third and fourth quarters “Middle to later rounds” to go for the knockout. As we saw last season with Westbrook becoming the clutches player in the NBA, In clutch time Westbrook led the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring In the 2016/17 season, averaging 10 points per game in the final period of games.

Part of the reason Russell Westbrook became so fantastic in the later parts of games is that he softened his opponents up with his version of a body shot. Assist early make his opponents respect his teammates so that they cant just focus their defense on him. Then go for his version of a knockout punch late in the fourth quarter. In 2016/17 Westbrook played like Tyson aggressive and ruthless. So maybe Kidd was right. Last season. This season Westbrook isn’t playing like Tyson. He doesn’t have to it’s not all on Westbrook anymore.

Westbrook has become controlled aggression, and that might just be more lethal than ruthless aggression something Mike Tyson was never able to achieve, and we all saw how that played out. We are in the middle of an evolution of historic proportion. This evolution can take Westbrook from a great player who did some landmark things and won an MVP or two to a legendary historical basketball player that you tell your grandchildren about.

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2k rating changes for Thunder players

A lot of people play NBA 2k18. It’s a fun series and the developers are awesome at keeping it close to real life as possible. There are a few flaws but for the most part, they do a fantastic job of trying to keep  everything up to date.

Today, 2k released some rating changes throughout the NBA. There were some Thunder changes as well. Seven players had their rating rise or be lowered.

Around the Association,  some of the biggest changes went to former Thunder player Victor Oladipo. Previously, he was a 79 and jumped up to an 84. Mike James went from a 69 to a 74. Then, on the flip side, Kyle Lowry, Dirk Nowitzki, Wilson Chandler, Markelle Fultz, and Lance Stephenson, who all saw their overall ratings fall by three points.

Tobias Harris of the Pistons, Kyle Kuzma of the Lakers and Evan Fournier all had four point jumps.

Before we get into the Thunder ones, there are some questionable ones from around the league:

  • Jeremy Lamb is now a 78 overall???
  • JR Smith is a 73?!?!
  • How in God’s green earth is JJ Barea a 77 overall
  • Reggie Jackson is 80 overall
  • Domantas Sabonis gets a four-point jump is now 76 overall
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo is bumped up to a 94.
  • Rudy Gobert lost two points and is now an 86.
  • Kelly Oubre of the Wizards gets a one-point bump to 75 overall. Must be his fighting skills.

Now the Thunder ratings:

  • Paul George: 90 OVR (-1)
  • Carmelo Anthony: 85 OVR (+1)
  • Steven Adams: 83 OVR (+1)
  • Andre Roberson: 75 OVR (-1)
  • Patrick Patterson: 74 OVR (-1)
  • Jerami Grant: 74 OVR (+1)
  • Alex Abrines: 73 OVR (-1)

First: Patterson and Abrines super under rated here. Abrines being a 73 is asinine. Patterson is more of a 77 guy, in my opnion.

Second: Melo only an 85 overall? I am bewildered.

Third: Adams deserves more of a bump up. He’s earned it.

If you have 2k18, add me thunder_digest on PS4 and we’ll play.

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Thunder plane struck in air by bird, everyone safe

In the wee hours of the morning, images started flying across social media about the Thunder’s private charter plane. It struck something on their way to their second night of a back-to-back in Chicago. It left a huge indention in the nose of the plane.

Huestis was the first one to hit and then Steven Adams and others did as well

The good news through everything is it appears the Thunder landed safely with no damage to anyone aboard.

Through a quick google search of “dent” “nose” “plane,” it appears they hit a bird.

Other planes have hit birds and here’s another twitter user showing damage after one or two birds struck a plane.

It could be birds striking the plane or you know, it could be UFOs, right Daily Mail?

Oklahoma City lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves 119-116 on Saturday night before this all happened. We’re glad everyone on the plane is safe and in Chicago. We can make jokes like they hit Howard the Duck or something but it’s really just glad everyone is safe.

”You never take anything for granted, just be thankful and blessed they we were able to land the plane and everything was OK,” Russell Westbrook said. ”Seeing stuff like that just shows you how you need to cherish life and understand the important things in life and embrace every moment.”

Delta Airlines spokeswoman Elizabeth Wolf said maintenance was evaluating the situation and that the damage was likely caused by a collision with a bird. She said the Boeing 757-200 landed safely without incident at Chicago’s Midway International Airport.

”Must’ve been a pretty big bird , a Pterodactyl maybe,” Nick Collison said.

”It’s one of those moments you bow your head and thank the man above,” Westbrook said.

Oklahoma City beat the Chicago Bulls 101-69 in Chicago following the plane incident. Luckily no one was hurt.

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Oklahoma City Thunder waive three, signs two

The Oklahoma City Thunder were busy on the transaction wire.

Oklahoma City has waived guards Bryce Alford and Markel Brown and forward Rashawn Thomas, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Then, they signed center Yannis Morin and forward Chris Wright, Per team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Morin and Write are expected to be waived before the season starts.

None of the waived players were surprising. They were all expected to be waived and signed by the Oklahoma City Blue.

Morin (6-10, 210) played five games (one start) with the Thunder in the 2017 Orlando Pro Summer League and averaged 2.2 points and 4.0 rebounds in 13.5 minutes per game. He spent the 2016-17 season with Le Havre in France, where he appeared in 37 games (28 starts) and averaged 6.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.84 blocks and 1.00 steal in 24.5 minutes per game.

Wright (6-8, 226) was a member of the Oklahoma City Blue during the 2016-17 season. He appeared in 20 games (four starts) and averaged 9.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.35 steals in 21.9 minutes per game.

Oklahoma City went 3-1 in the preseason and they will begin their regular season on Oct. 19 against the New York Knicks.

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Russell Westbrook signs 5-year extension

It’s only taken two months but Russell Westbrook has finally signed his five-year $205 million dollar extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Westbrook’s extension ends tons of speculation the MVP winner wanted out of Oklahoma City. Time and time again, Westbrook reiterated Oklahoma City was the place he wanted to be and once again Westbrook signed and showed his loyalty to the city. He didn’t have to. His obligation was done last August. However, this man one ups his own self.

Thunder Digest confirmed the signing earlier this morning.

“Russell’s commitment to the Thunder organization since its inception in 2008 has helped propel us to great heights and stare down great challenges over our first decade,” said Presti. “We are extremely fortunate to have an athlete, competitor and person such as Russell wear the Thunder uniform. To have him cement his legacy as a leader as we enter into our 10th season in Oklahoma City is extraordinary. I am extremely grateful to Russell, his family and to our ownership for the commitment and support that they have demonstrated in supporting our vision for the Thunder.”

For Oklahoma City, they have a superstar in Bricktown for many moons to go. While Paul George and Carmelo Anthony may want to bolt for larger cities, it’s Westbrook who will continue to be the staple in Oklahoma City for the foreseeable future.

Westbrook will be 34 when his extension is up as he’s signed through the 2022-23 season.

The new CBA allows players like Westbrook to sign an extension known as the Designated Player Veteran Exception. The DPVE allows for Westbrook to make anywhere from 30-35 percent of the salary cap, which will be an estimated $102 million in 2018-19 when his DPVE kicks in. Westbrook was under contract for one more season at $28.5 million on his original contract re-negotiation signed last summer.

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, there is no place I would rather be than Oklahoma City,” said Westbrook. “I am so honored to have the opportunity to continue my career here with the Thunder. From day one the support that Mr. Bennett, Sam, Troy and the entire organization have given me and my family has been incredible, and we are so grateful. When you play in Oklahoma City you play in front of the best fans in the world, I’m looking forward to bringing everything I’ve got, for them, this city and for this organization. WHY NOT?”

Russell Westbrook won the 2016-17 NBA MVP last season, scoring an NBA record 42 triple-doubles. He then averaged a triple-double just for show. Oklahoma City is in great hands.

Oklahoma City’s largest priority, signing Westbrook, is accomplished. Now trying to secure Paul George and/or Carmelo Anthony remains next on task. It is believed both will opt out of their player options. However, the Thunder retain the bird rights on both players.

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Annual Blue-White Scrimmage Oct. 1 at Edmond North

The annual Blue-White scrimmage has been all over from Oklahoma City, Newcastle, Choctaw, Moore, Bixby, Bethany, Yukon and Midwest City. It’s Edmond’s turn to get a crack at it. The Oklahoma City Thunder will host their annual Blue-White scrimmage on Sunday, Oct. 1 at Edmond North High School at 2 p.m.

If you’ve never been to a Blue-White scrimmage, here’s how it goes: The Thunder will hold a very loose version of practice. It’s really like warm up but they run a couple of drills. The Storm Chasers are out and about. Rumble is doing his thing. Outside of the school, they’ll hold a Thunder Alley for everyone. That’ll start about 11 a.m. They’ll have bouncy castle things. They’ll really be doing this for the kiddos.

After they run through the fake drills to make it seem like you’re REALLY  at practice, they’ll hold an mini scrimmage that we’ll be able to see the Thunder in all of their glory for those in the arena.

“We are extremely proud to tip off our 10th season with this great community tradition, and we’re grateful to the Edmond North community for hosting us,” said Brian Byrnes, senior vice president of Sales and Marketing for the Thunder. “We’ve played the Blue and White Scrimmage in a different location every year to show our fans across Oklahoma how deeply we appreciate their support and how much we value the connection they feel with our team.”

Tickets will only be handed out by the Edmond North administration to the students via raffle. This is best to keep the tickets in the community and not getting out there on the open market, jacking up the prices as this is a free event for the local community. However, all Thunder Alley festivities will be open to the public.

Thunder Digest will be live on the scene with Brady Trantham bringing you the 411.

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Thunder sign Isaiah Canaan

While we’re still all freaking out about the trade of Carmelo Anthony, the Oklahoma City Thunder quietly signed free agent guard Isaiah Canaan.

You might recognize the name and you should. Dude lit up Oklahoma City 31 points in March 2015. He’s been with the Rockets, Bulls and the 76ers before joining Oklahoma City.

The Thunder are in a situation that puts them at 18 roster spots, with two players, Dakari Johnson and Daniel Hamilton, heading to the D-League on two-way contracts.

During his time in Chicago, Canaan averaged 4.6 points on 36 percent shooting from the floor and then only 26 percent from three. However, he shoots 35.2 percent from deep. So, Oklahoma City is definitely getting someone who can shoot.

The 26-year old out of Murray State has been in the association for four seasons. Hopefully this is the place that sticks for him.

For Semaj Christon, this becomes a weird situation. With four point guards on the roster, he could be the odd man out. Oklahoma City likes to keep three. They’ll find out through the short preseason who the best third string point guard is.

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Thunder trade for Carmelo Anthony

The Oklahoma City Thunder have traded for Carmelo Anthony according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The Thunder will send a draft pick, Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott to New York to complete the transaction.

The talks accelerated on Saturday morning. On Friday, Melo extended his teams where he would waive his no trade clause to Oklahoma City and Cleveland. The Thunder moved quickly on Saturday morning, getting it done.

Anthony has been a sore spot in New York and has not been happy for some time. Anthony’s no trade clause has kept him in the Big Apple for longer than anticipated.

For his career, Anthony is averaging 24.8 points 45.2 percent shooting. He’s a 34.6 percent shooter from deep. Last season in New York, Anthony played in 74 games and averaged a little over 22 points a contest.

Kanter has beccome beloved in Oklahoma City. His standing up for Westbrook and others has really made him popular. Then, we fell in love more as we saw him stand up to the tryanny in Turkey.

During his time in Oklahoma City, Kanter averaged 14.2 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.

Doug McDermott, aka McBuckets, in Oklahoma City was indifference for the Thunder. His time was forgetful.

Wojnarowski reports Russell Westbrook and Paul Geore were big in getting Melo to waive his no trade clause.

We’ll have more on this as it comes out.

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Presti: “We continue to move forward”

To kick off the 2017-18 NBA season, Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti held his annual opening press conference this morning at the Integris Thunder Development Center.

To no surprise, the two biggest players in the Thunder’s brief ten-year history — Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant — were the topics of many questions. The latter of which drew attention for some regrettable tweets from a covert Twitter account in which he criticized his former coach and teammates.

“First of all, no one with the Oklahoma City Thunder have anything negative to say about Kevin Durant,” Presti said in his opening answer.

Presti also said that he had not received any communication from Durant since the tweets surfaced.

This has been consistent from the organization from the time Durant announced his departure via the Player’s Tribune article in July of 2016. While there were no tribute videos during the regular season, Presti and the Thunder franchise have been persistent in their desire to move forward but to pay Durant the respect he deserves when it became necessary.

It’s going to be a fun year for Thunder basketball.

-Sam Presti

Moving forward is exactly what the Thunder have done.

After a season which saw Oklahoma City enter the playoffs and bear witness to one of the more incredible single season runs in NBA history by an individual player, Presti spoke about how the changing and evolving roster is in an effort to take the next step in competing for a title.

“We are continuing to build the Thunder into something the city can be proud of,” Presti said. “Billy Donovan and his staff have been incredible this summer. I’m really excited to see them work with this group of guys. It’s going to be a fun year for Thunder basketball.”

While Westbrook’s extension and the ghost of Durant still loom large over the franchise, Paul George seemed to be a forgotten piece to the Thunder puzzle. Presti was quick to express his excitement for not only he to watch Geroge assimilate with the team but for the fans to see it all unfold.

“It is an unique opportunity to acquire a player like him,” Presti said. “He plays the right way and adds a rare dimension to the team.”

I’m excited for our fans to see him play –

Presti on Paul George

On separate occasions, Presti boasted about George the person rather than George the top-12 NBA player.

“He’s such a mature guy, there’s something about him that is sturdy and stable,” Presti said. He has a nice confidence about him. I’m excited for our fans to see him play.”

Westbrook’s uncertain future did not seem to phase or worry Presti, a man who rarely shows how he’s truly feeling with the media.

“We are just going to let that play out,” Presti answered when asked about Westbrook’s unsigned extension. “We have until the 16th of October to figure out what he will want to do, until then I don’t want to use any adjectives to describe what is going on.”

They compliment each other very well. They both have killer instincts about them.

-Presti on Russell Westbrook and George playing together

The addition of George will certainly give fans memories of when Westbrook and Durant roamed the court together in Thunder blue, but Presti was cautious to simply assume that due to Westbrook’s history with another top NBA player, that the chemistry between he and George would yield the same success.

“Obviously that is the goal, to get back to where we were,” Presti said. “But each player is different, each team is different so I don’t want to say that just because Westbrook played with a great player in Durant that it will be the same with George. But I will say that they both compliment each other really well. They both have killer instincts about them.”

The addition of George as well as Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson to go along with the development of other young players from last season appear to give Presti a level of excitement we aren’t as accustomed to seeing from the stoic-Bay Stater.

“We are committed to growth as an organization and I think we have a group of guys that can continue that growth,” Presti said.

Thunder Media Day and Training Camp begin early next week. The excitement of this year’s preseason is a far cry from where the franchise was a season ago.


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Thunder release third uniform

As we’ve reported in the past, the Thunder were going to release a third uniform. Earlier this week, they did just that. We told you “one is expected to be a futuristic looking font on a blue uniform.”

The slanted font that is disproportionate lettering I guess could be considered futuristic. However, the lines on the back; an almost gradient like styling.

The original images that were coming out across 2k weren’t looking too hot. This looked to be one of the bigger debacles in Thunder history. However, now that we’ve seen it in person. I’ve changed my point of view: I dig it.

It’s sleek and we’ve loved the OKC on the front of the jersey. While sunset is gone and we’re still mourning the loss of it, we have found a potentially new favorite alternate uniform.

Rating: 7/10

Why so high? I think it’s unique and I like the sound waves. What if this was an orange version? That could be the fire uni we were all looking for. However, it’s not even Thunder blue really. It’s more of navy blue.  There’s a weird obsession with navy blue within the organization I’m guessing.

The Thunder are getting ready to release a fourth one. This one will be community influenced. It’s supposed to be released during the Winter, so that’s a super vague timeline. We’ll do our best to bring you all the coverage.

You can view the Thunder’s image gallery on their site here.


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