Chet Holmgren Returns for Second Summer League Debut

Last time we saw Sam Presti’s second pick of the 2022 draft LeBron broke some brittle bones in Chet Holmgren’s savagely malnurished body. As I’ve stated here before on the underground blog… I’m too old to sit and wait to see if Sam Presti can really contend for an NBA championship in the league’s most redneck market. I mean, Oke City makes Salt Lake look like Paris….the one in France, not Texas btw.

I watched all the Thunder’s summer league games last summer and probably will do the same again as the Summer League kicks back in gear next week. The Thunder for some inexplicable reason just took another guard/swingman in the NBA draft with the selection of Cason Wallace from Kentucky. I have not the slightest clue as to why Sam Presti would do this because he already has I think eight guards/swingmen on his roster.

Presti used his second round pick on Keyontae Johnson from K State who I saw play quite a bit last year with the K State Wildcats in Big 12 play. He was okay, nothing really special from my view as he fizzled in the NCAA Tournament and if I remember correctly he’s 23 years of age which would make him ancient for an NBA draftee. Color me confused.

So now as I sit out here at the mini-ranch in Deer Creek, Oklahoma wearing a Golden State T-shirt and a Denver NBA championship ball cap …. I feel as if I need to finally make a post on the still evolving Thunder.

Here goes….

The Thunder actually went 41-43 which was nice given the fact Vegas like me tabbed them to win around 25 games or so. But here’s the thing which may haunt the Thunder…. Chet Holmgren unlike the obese Zion Williamson appears to be a brittle porcelein doll of sorts. If he gets bumped into again this season and breaks then it would appear Sam Presti may have pissed away the second pick of the draft on a big man he so desperately needs.

In the play-in loss to the Minnesota TWolves it was obscene watching Karl Anthony-Townes and Rudy Gobert play with the little children Sam Presti had out on the court. True, the NBA game has changed for certain. It’s a perimeter, finese, space league for skilled players. But to win a championship in this league you still need an elite big of sorts to hoist the O’Brien Trophy.

Simply look at the past four years and the bigs on the winning team. Anthony Davis, Giannis, Kevon the Moral Compass, and now Jokic. With the exception of Kevon, the other three are stars who can or did carry their teams. I mean, let’s be candid… even before LeBron broke Chet the Gonzaga flash was outplayed by OKC’s own role player from Arkansas J-Will. I mean…J-Will was the better player as the Hogs eliminated the fragile Gonzaga Zags. Is it fair of me to say at this point Chet could possibly be a bigger bust than Adam Morrison? We’ll see.

But otherwise, putting Chet aside…I do see some promise for the Thunder to be an entertaining team which flirts on the outskirts of being a playoff team even if Chet doesn’t turn out to be a consequential NBA player. If he turns out to be let’s say as good as another former Gonzaga alum in Domas Sabonis….I would say the Thunder’s ceiling as pressently constructed would to maybe win a first round series.

From my view SGA, J Dub, Giddy, hopefully Chet, and Dort give the Thunder an interesting core for their first five, I would do this though… I’d move J Will to the starting five and attempt to transform Josh Giddy into the league’s premier sixth man like the Spurs did with Ginobli. That’s what I would do.

Of course, I’ve always loved Kenrich Williams and I think Aaron Wiggins is a player that can evolve into a top eight type of player. Other than those eight players I’d be willing to trade any of the other Thunder players/ assets to bring two vets on board like Calvin Booth did with KCP and Bruce Brown. It’s that sly GM who bring a PJ Tucker, a Gary Payton Jr., a Bruce Brown or a KCP on board who fills the last missing piece of a championship team.

Here’s a crazy trade I’d go for, but it would probably never happen. How about Sam Presti calls the Memphis Grizzlies and says, “How about I give you Josh Giddy, Poku, and a second round pick and you give me Marcus Smart?” Hell…throw in Tre Mann as well. A franchise defining trade of sorts which puts a premium on TSSN and overall court toughness.

That’s it for me as far as my current thoughts on the Thunder. We received 1.5 inches in the rain gauge out here this morning at the ranch in Deer Creek.

It’s supposed to be 106 degrees tomorrow….I wish I were back in Crested Butte fly fishing for brown trout.

God bless you.

Mike Malone….the Laker’s Daddy

I love Michael Malone. He’s right there just behind Erik Spoelstra on my NBA coach’s list. Right now….I’d go 1 Erik, 2 Michael, and 3 Steve Kerr.

I have Mike Brown of the Kings and Coach Mark as my top two junior varsity developmental coaches. Run back faster, play harder….sigh. It amazes me Sam Presti hasn’t hired Mike Brown to date as one of his Mr. Rogers Neighborhood coaches.

Coach Malone clearly was wired by the time he made it from Union Station in downtown Denver to the Civic Center Hall facility. Clearly, the alcohol and pure passion of the moment inspired him. But WTF….as a coach he worked for this moment his entire professional life. mean, if ever there was a time to have a WTF Moment….this was that time.

The Lakers’ Daddy…. I love it. Just like I’m the Daily Thunder Daddy. If I were ever unbanned over there on Sam Presti and Royce Young’s blog….Daily Thunder Daddy would be new posting name….just saying.

I’m still going to do the Golden State thing next year on my blog because I have no faith Sam Presti will ever make one trade off of his many assets and bring a PJ Tucker, Gray Payton Jr, or Bruce Brown type on board. Presti doesn’t covet TSSN like myself and other passionate NBA purists. TSSN = Toughness, Skill, Smarts, Nasty.

Anyway…just a thought on here from me to Denver’s GM Calvin Booth before I close today with two posts on the same day….if Bruce Brown does leaves the team as a free agent for greener richer pastures….maybe consider Austin Reaves as his replacement in the rotation since even at this point Austin privately realizes Jokic, Jamal, and Coach Malone are LeBron’s Daddy as well as long as Aaron Gordon hangs around.

It’s a great time to be connected to the Denver sports market.

It truly is.

Denver Nuggets’ NBA Championship Parade

By sheer luck we were in Denver on Thursday before heading to Crested Butte for a wonderful Father’s Day weekend with my son’s family. This parade on Thursday was just a perfect beginning to a great weekend.

The parade started downtown near Union Station and just across the street from the offices of Antero Resources where my son works. I could have gone to a party there, but instead opted to stay at the homestead in Bonnie Brae and watch every minute of the celebration from the household and hang out with the grandkids after their morning pre-school session.

I’ve never really been a Nuggets fan per se, but I’m happy for these players and Coach Malone. What a great group of guys and if they can keep Bruce Brown from leaving in free agency…..and stay healthy—maybe a repeat could be possible. But as we all know…in the Collective Bargaining Era of pro sports any repeat is a difficult feat.

I was especially happy for Jamal Murray. He made me cry when he spoke of the journey back from his ACL injury. He thanked team owner Stan Kroenke for being patient with him. Plus, it was good to see Michael Porter smiling after his redemptive performance in Game 5.

It was all great. Almost a million people in attendance in Championship City. The Avs’ season last spring and now the Nuggets. My son’s sports cup runneth over, but as the Avs showed one key injury as they had with Gabriel can undermine a repeat in the blink of an eye. You gotta not only be good, but have some luck on your shoulder as well.

Crested Butte was spectacular and chilly. We used the fireplace all three nights and of course had one dinner at Michael’s Garlic on the Gunnison River. I had the chicken parm. It was awesome.

Well…back to the grind of being an NBA curmudgeon on the best underground Thunder blog available.

I was pleased to see the new Warriors’ GM Michael Dunleavy ship Jordan Poole’s worthless ass to Washington D.C. Chris Paul with the Splash Brothers…hmmn, I wonder if the old guy can stay healthy with a a reduced role? I can’t wait to see how that goes.

Plus, I can’t wait to see how Marcus Smart works with Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies. I can’t believe the Celtics made this trade. By the very recent admission of Joe Mazzoula it was Marcus who was the soul of the team. I guess maybe Marcus was too tough on the Glamour Boys… Jayson and Jaylen.

I still need to write a few thoughts down on here in regards to the always still yet developing Thunder. Trust me on this this…I’ll be dead and have moved on to Jonathon Livingston Seagull status before the Thunder conduct a championship parade.

My suggestion to Presti at this point is to have the championship parade if you finish second in the Northwest Division.


Jeff Green Gets His Ring as Denver Wins First Ever ‘Ship’

What a nice NBA Playoffs for me. I enjoyed every bit of it even though the Warriors got beat in the second round. It seemed as if the basketball gods provided something special for me as a fan in every round.

After the Play-In…. I made notes as to where I think the Thunder are as a team after their two games against New Orleans and Minnesota. Where I think the Thunder are for me depends on what I see this summer from Sam Presti.

What I mean by that is I think Sam Presti needs to settle in on who are his core eight best young players, then perhaps use one of his many assets to bring another nice veteran role player on board to go along with Kenrich Williams in that regard. Otherwise, the Thunder are loaded with some very nice young talent.

In the first round of these playoffs we had a delightful seven game series between the Warriors and the Sacramento Kings. For pure comepetitive drama it was about as good as you get in a first round matchup. I loved all seven games. I don’t think it’ s time to write the Warriors’ obit, but I do think it marked the changing of an era per se. Denver has let it be known they currently have the best team at this moment.

When we got to the conference semis….I focused on the Warriors-Lakers and the Suns-Nuggets. These two series just basically reinforced three things….. the Splash Brothers, LeBron, and Chris Paul are getting old and the toll on their bodies with all these extra playoff games over the years genuinely showed. For me though, the Austin Reaves thing was fun. I’m happy for Austin in that he’s shown he’s going to have a nice NBA career.

Then we went to the Conference Finals where we as passionate NBA fans we got to view an iconic seven game series between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. What a great series! It gave us everything we love about playoff basketball. The one thing it didn’t give us was a first ever all the way comeback from an 0-3 deficit.

In reality…we probably would have had a better NBA Finals if Milwaukee or Boston hadn’t fallen to the miracle Miami Heat, but give the Heat credit….even though they didn’t win the championship they did two incredible things by winning both of those series on the road. I mean…even Vince Lombardi I think in this instance would be okay with the runnerup trophy.

So…we’re heading off to Denver to see the kids. Who knows…maybe right there in the heart of Championship City….maybe Chris and I bump into Jeff Green and his daughter at the iconic Bonnie Brae Ice Cream Parlor.

What a nice way for Jeff Green to celebrate his basketball journey. The years fly by don’t they?

Jeff, Kevin, and Serge have rings. Russ and James…not so much. Maybe this should tell us something about extreme over-usage. Championship teams move the ball. The ball doesn’t stick.

Denver Nuggets Close in On ‘First’ NBA Championship

Either way these NBA Finals went I was going to be okay as a passionate purist of the the league. I like both coaches, I like both sets of stars, and I like both teams’ sets of role players.

We’re actually going to be in Denver next week so maybe we can witness part of the celebration first-hand. Jeff Green lives in the same Bonnie Brea area of Denver as my son’s family….so who knows maybe I can meet former Thunder original Jeff Green at the park with his daughter. That would be so cool because evidently from what my son tells me Jeff is a great guy.

The plain truth of the matter is Miami has had a fabulous run in these NBA Playoffs, but Denver is just better and a hungry team on a mission of their own. If Vince Lombardi was the coach of these Miami Heat this would be one of those rare times he’d probably be okay with taking second place because in the end his team gave him everything they had in their collective gas tanks.

These Denver Nuggets are just better and ready to complete their championship journey.

Coach Mike Malone got all over his players after their loose play in the Game 2 loss and as a group perhaps minus Michael Porter they have responded. Even rookie Christian Braun got back in the rotation in Game 3 and emerged as a Finals significant footnote.

Christian Braun is a gamer and a winner. As as an OU fan I watched plenty of him while he was a Kansas Jayhawk. The young man in my eyes was the MVP in the Kansas national championship win over North Carolina. Here he is a year later making a significant contribution to the first ever NBA championship for the Nuggets. I know Michael Malone is proud of him. Who knows maybe Christian will be at the Bonnie Brea park when I run into Jeff Green and his daughter. Wouldn’t that be sweet?

The video I’ve posted above from Coach Malone is spot on. Keep this in mind…the Nuggets last season without Jamal Murray went a pedestrian 46-36 and weren’t really a contender of any sort even with the excellence of Nicola Jokic. What Jamal Murray has shown us in these NBA Playoffs is that he’s the best second star of any NBA player in the league. And I tell you what…if he shows up at the Bonnie Brae park with Jeff and Christian… I’ll be besides myself with basketball joy.

If I’m the Denver GM though….I do what I have to do this off season to keep Aaron Gordon as a Denver Nugget because he has emerged beautifully as the Nuggets’ third best player. If this means Michael Porter can’t be afforded…then so be it. Because as you will start to see next season Christian Braun once he gets past this rookie season can make threeballs at an efficient clip when he knows he’s now got Michael Malone’s trust and won’t get yanked.

Bruce Brown and KCP are both nice pieces of the team as well. Denver is going to have a payroll…that’s for certain, but as a GM when you have a very viable window towards a repeat and the official end of the Warriors’ dynasty you convince ownership to spend the money.

This is where Sam Presti failed after the Thunder’s 2012 run to the NBA Finals. It’s what I call the Window Theory of the Collective Bargaining Era, that being when you as a GM have a chance to indelibly print yourself into the annals of NBA history you do what it takes to get it done.

Thank goodness my son moved to a real NBA/NHL city.

I’m just happy right now. The Sooners completed their threepeat behind Jordy, Jayden, Tiara, Grace, and Kenzie. Minus Grace….the other four come back next season so that will be a fourpeat chance for the ages. God willing….I’ll get to witness it.

Even with the Saudis buying the PGA Tour it’s been a nice week for me. You know…people are freaking out that, but here’s the way I look at it…T Boone Pickens leveraged and then bought Oklahoma State University and the world didn’t come to an end…so maybe this will work out for the best of the game of golf.

As KGB agent Donald Trump once stated, “America has done plenty of things in its past which weren’t very noble.” So I think really when you compare the ascension of Donald Trump to the presidency it only seems fitting that Saudia Arabia now owns the PGA.

That’s it for me for now. Have a wonderful Father’s Day week.