ORLANDO -- The Oklahoma City Thunder have set a very important example for other teams around the league. Their philosophy is: Send some of your central young players to Summer League and results will improve during the NBA's regular season.
Two years ago, Kevin Durant showed up in Orlando to compete at Summer League. Last year, Russell Westbrook flourished in July and ultimately the Thunder advanced to the playoffs. This year, moreover, OKC highlighted rising stars like James Harden and Eric Maynor and, as a result, NBA spectators are once again raving about the potential of the franchise.
The Thunder completed a successful week at the 2010 AirTran Airways Pro Summer League on Friday – rolling past the Indiana Pacers, 77-73, and finishing 4-1. Their lone loss was a last-second defeat to the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday.
Harden had a fantastic week -- scoring in double figures in each of the four games he played. In just 17 minutes of action on Friday before tweaking his ankle, the former Arizona State star managed to record 11 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the field. He averaged 17.5 points per game and deserves serious consideration for the Summer League Scoop MVP award.
Mustafa Shakur registered 19 points for the Thunder, who dished out 16 assists and accumulated nine blocked shots on Friday. Kyle Weaver added 15 points and Ryan Reid had 10 points and eight rebounds. "Each day, different guys stepped up to the challenge," Weaver said about how the team managed to continue winning despite resting players. "This was a good week for us."
Paul George had a monster game for Indiana with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Russell Robinson poured in 18 points.