Thunder Links – December 23, 2011

Tom Smith of Kansas City Star talk about Collison and Aldrich. Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich got together during the NBA lockout to work out. Now they are back with their teammates, hoping that the work they put in results in a successful season, which starts Sunday night with a home game against Orlando in the newly renovated Chesapeake Energy Arena. (cont…)

Coach Scott Brooks had plenty of time to think during the lockout. Brooks admitted he frequently fought the urge to over-think. “Yes, daily,” Brooks said. “That was one of our discussions as a staff: ‘Guys, we can’t over-think what we’ve done. We have to improve on it, but we don’t need wholesale changes. Our guys need to continue to build on the good habits that we’ve worked on in previous years.’ That was definitely something we talked about often.” (cont…)

SI writers choose their picks. Everyone had the Thunder in the NBA Finals.

SportingNews says KD is your MVP. James Harden is your 6th man. Durant was the pick here last year, and though a surprise performance by Derrick Rose and the Bulls overshadowed what Durant did in Oklahoma City, that’s not expected to happen in 2011-12. Rose will surely be great again, but Durant averaged 27.7 points and 6.8 rebounds last year, and if he can match those numbers while helping the Thunder rise to the top of the West, he will be a shoo-in for MVP. Given the overall sag that looks inevitable in the West, it is safe to project the Thunder as the No. 1 or 2 seed in the conference and, thus, to project Durant winning MVP.

Boston would trade Perkins again, doesn’t regret it at all. “Perkins [was] for sure leaving at the end of the year because he had already rejected everything we could pay him. So having Perkins coming off of injury — a great guy who we love and won a ring with — for a short term versus possibly a short-term upgrade with longer-term rights? Yeah, we probably would do it again. That doesn’t mean — we might be wrong again. Part of it was the longer-term view which we may still have.”

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