Summer only starting point for Oklahoma City Thunder

by Michael Baldwin Modified: July 5, 2009 at 12:06 am •  Published: July 5, 2009
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Only one NBA team is participating in two summer leagues — the Oklahoma City Thunder.

For good reason. More basketball means more opportunities for general manager Sam Presti and the coaching staff to finalize their training camp roster.

Summer leagues have two primary benefits — players get a taste of professional basketball. Front office executives evaluate players.

"The summer league is important for a younger team,” Presti said. "It gives you an idea where guys are fundamentally. It gives us a road map where guys are individually. It also gives young players a chance to play and start a bond.”

Because games in Orlando and Las Vegas essentially are glorified pick-up games, don’t place much stock in how James Harden, the Thunder’s No. 3 overall selection, fares in 10 summer league games in Orlando and Vegas.

It’s difficult to gain much insight from preseason games in October, almost impossible in the summer.

For those unfamiliar with summer league basketball, the two premier leagues are opposite.

Orlando has only six teams and doesn’t allow fans to watch games. Only the media and team executives are allowed to attend.

Las Vegas features 21 teams and has seen an increase in attendance every year since the league was formed in 2004. Sessions averaged more than 4,000 fans last summer.

"In some ways it resembles the baseball winter meetings in terms of trade activity, media interest, discussions, both on and off the record,” NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver was quoted last summer. "It’s an incredibly vibrant place to be.”

Since Kevin Durant plans to be in Las Vegas, he was asked if he will give Harden, his new teammate, some advice.

"It seems so long ago for me,” Durant said.

by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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Summer league Schedules
ORLANDO
Monday — Orlando, 4 p.m.

Tuesday — Indiana, 6 p.m.

Wednesday — Boston, 4 p.m.

Thursday — NJ/Philadelphia, 2 p.m.

Friday — Utah, 10 a.m.

LAS VEGAS
July 12 — Memphis, 7 p.m.

July 14 — LA Lakers, 7:30 p.m.

July 15 — San Antonio, 7:30 p.m.

July 17 — Chicago, 7:30 p.m.

July 18 — Dallas, 3 p.m.

Summer league Roster
→DeAngelo Alexander G, 6-5, Charlotte

→Marcus Dove F, 6-9, Oklahoma State

→Moses Ehambe F, 6-6, Oral Roberts

→James Harden G, 6-5, Arizona State

→Devon Hardin C, 6-11, California

→Kyle Hines F/C, 6-6, UNC Greensboro

→Serge Ibaka F, 6-10, Congo

→Shaun Livingston G, 6-7, Peoria Central HS (IL)

→Keith McLeod G, 6-2, Bowling Green State

→B.J. Mullens C, 7-0, Ohio State

→Richard Roby G, 6-6, Colorado

→Doug Thomas F, 6-8, Iowa

→Kyle Weaver G, Washington State

→Russell Westbrook G, 6-3, UCLA

→D.J. White F, 6-9, Indiana

→Robert Vaden G, 6-5, Alabama-Birmingham

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