On a scale from Melky to King Felix, I’d say this ranks pretty close to Felix as far as commercials go. I know there wasn’t a ton of “acting” involved, but they didn’t look stiff like a lot of athletes look on camera, and it gave me a little laugh.
Tag Archives: Oklahoma City Thunder
The theme of the NBA playoffs seems to be the youth movement. Aside from the Mavs, all three teams left are fairly young, and look like they’ll be around for years to come, which had me thinking more about the future than this year. Today I was looking at the Memphis and OKC rosters for the next few years, and there was one thing that stood out to me, how can they keep these cores together? There’s a couple of reasons I think a team like Memphis has a better chance than OKC at sustaining success for the next six years like say Miami and Chicago probably will too. The reason I decided to compare Memphis and OKC is because they are both small market teams that are very young.
I’ll start with the Grizzlies, since it’s a team that for some reason has grown on me a lot over the season. What made Memphis successful this season? Their size and scrappiness on defense. Their size with Marc Gasol and Z-Bo is tough to match for any team. Z-Bo already got his extension, and obviously Gasol is going to be making more than $3M next year and every year after that, so Gasol is priority #1 for them this off-season. They have a bargain PG in Conley locked up for five years, who seems to be slowly getting better even though barely anyone had faith in him (myself included). They will also have Rudy Gay back in the lineup next year. He’s been labeled over rated, but if you saw him play much this year you’d know that isn’t the case, and he might even be worth his huge contract when it’s all said and done. The media talk about Gay has bugged me, because everyone seems to think he is Joe Johnson part II, when a) he’s five years younger than Joe, and b) he gets more steals, rebounds, and blocks than Joe (ie. plays defense). Am I the only one that thinks it’s obsured that people think they need to trade Rudy Gay? After Gay played with team USA on the gold medal run this year, he seemed to get it, which is a time when normally players seem to figure it out (mid-20’s) or be destined to never figure it out. Unfortunately for us (and him), he broke his arm during the last month of the regular season, so he wasn’t around this year in the playoffs, and now he should be traded!?! Really!?! My question for those people calling for them to trade Gay is, are you really putting a lot of stock in OJ (I play no defense and am a little crazy) Mayo. That’s what you’d be replacing Gay with in the long term if they’re building from in house talent. Tony Allen and OJ Mayo both feel like 6th men types to me, and you can find them elsewhere if you need to. Tony Allen is a shut down defensive guy, but is limited in offense. OJ is great when asked to help out the offense, but doesn’t play defense as we saw Harden torching him over and over. Gay plays both ways, and no, I’m not sure on his sexual prefrences, but I do know he works as hard on defense as his offense. He also made a few game winners this year if you didn’t remember, don’t you think he would’ve helped in that triple OT game when they needed a clutch bucket from anyone badly? I do, and think this is a team that hasn’t reached it’s full potential as Gay, Conley, and Gasol will all improve. As I said in the past, Memphis has a bright future for at least the next five years.
The curious case of OKC. They currently have a roster that has ALL their big names at or under the age of 22, which seems great on the outside looking in. It’s amazing to me that everyone thinks that everything will be great for them for the next decade when there will be a ton of franchise changing decisions on the horizon. It’s a team that has dealt with little as far as basketball careers go, since almost all of the important players except Perkins and Durant are still on their rookie contracts. What I understand about this team is this, Durant works harder than anyone on the team, he’s their best player, it rubs off on everyone else, etc., but does it rub others the wrong way on how he’s mister perfect? I’m asking Westbrook this question as I go along, because he’s the main player that you have to question within this team. Forget all the ill-advised shots he took against the Grizzlies, the real question becomes does he want to be Robin or does he want to be Derrick Rose (aka Superman) on his OWN team?
Does Westbrook have the Scottie Pippen and Lebron gene that says “I’m okay being the sidekick”? From what I’ve observed, I feel like Westbrook has more of an alpha type personality than Durant as far as being demonstrative on and off the court. At times we saw him ignore Durant during the game, which begs the question if we have to pick one, who is it? If you didn’t pick Durant your fooling yourself. Yes, I understand that the way this team was built was genius, and the envy of the league at the moment, but how sustainable is this team? They picked Ibaka, Harden, Maynor, and Westbrook all in the top five, and all of them are going to be asking for their paydays once they are done playing for these very friendly rookie contracts they are currently in. I think Ibaka just started playing hoops last week and is getting better by the game, so aren’t he and Westbrook going to command top dollar? Would they stay to play with Durant for the sake of winning or do either of them think they can do it on their own elsewhere? That might not even be the biggest question for them moving forward. Money is a funny thing that can lure anyone away from anywhere, and I’m sure Ibaka has some homies that need help in the Congo. Westbrook was born and raised in LA, and doesn’t it seem likely with his alpha type character he’d want to try to spread his wings on his own to see if he can lead a team like Derrick Rose is? I’m not saying that this team is going to get blown up for sure, but you have to wonder in a small market like thiers how big is that window. You’d think with them all being so young it would be a decade long window, but at the moment I just don’t see it being anywhere near that long. The Heat and Grizzlies both have their cores locked up for a lot longer than the Thunder do. The 2012-13 season might be their last hurrah as a group together, and if that’s the case, Miami and Memphis will still have their cores locked up for three more years after that. All I’m saying is that this groups window might only be three years, and I’m praying I’m right since I’d love to see Durant getting frustrated and leaving so his paychecks aren’t signed by Clay Bennett anymore…
It’s been a entertaining NBA playoffs thus far. Teams that we thought were favorites aren’t turning out to be the powerhouses that we originally thought they were. Like I said back on 4/20, there’s a changing of the eras in the NBA. I didn’t think it would be this year, but thought it was on the horizon. More and more it’s looking like this year is the year of change. Another good thing is I don’t think any of these series are rigged so far. Well done Stern, usually we can tell!
Mavs 2, Lakers 0 – As they say once the home team loses the series really starts. I think someone forgot to tell the Lakers that the series started after game 1. Last night’s Lakers game was disturbing to the fans down here in LA, much to my enjoyment. It’s fitting that this is the first year I was somewhat rooting for them because I didn’t want any of the Eastern Conference teams to win it all. I can’t believe I admitted that, but yes, I was rooting for the Lakers a little. I am enjoying that some Lakers fans said they would win the series in 3 games against this soft Mavs team. Obviously, that can’t happen, but it was an indication of how they overlooked Mavs in general. Maybe the players were listening to the radio shows and got full of themselves or maybe this team is just plain dysfunctional. I won’t call this series done, because the Mavs have a long history of choking in the playoffs when the pressure is at it’s highest. The pressure of closing the Lakers out is going to be big, and close to the pressure of closing the Heat out in the Finals four years ago. That Mavs team was much different though, they have only two players from that finals roster, and were much softer without Chandler. This version of the Mavs feels a lot better, but I won’t believe it until they close out this series. Either way, the winner will lose next round to one of the young guns in the changing of the guards.
Memphis 1, Seattle 1 – Everyone thought the young team that would make an impact out West was going to be the Supersonics when it’s really been the Grizzlies who have shocked the world. I didn’t pick the Grizz to win that first series against the Spurs, especially without Gay in the lineup, but did think they were a good team all the way back in November when I regretted leaving them off my playoff predictions. Both franchises have figured out how to build a contender, and they have one glaring thing in common, size. Size matters in the NBA, just ask Steve Nash. It was always the Lakers biggest advantage for the last three years, and what do teams have to do to knock them off? Get bigger. Memphis did that through free agency and trades (Gasol, Z-Bo). Seattle did the same (Perkins, Ibaka), and now both teams look like they could beat anyone with solid role guys and their stars knowing exactly what is needed of them to be successful. I’m going to say whoever wins this series will be representing the west in the finals. I’m rooting for it to be Memphis, because I still have a hard time rooting for Sam Presti to succeed on any front.
Miami 2, Boston 0 – The team I picked to represent the East is looking about as good as it has all season. I thought that Boston was in trouble before this series started. Wade ALWAYS gives Boston fits, and that’s going back to when Wade was the only player worth anything in Miami. Last year I think he dropped close to 50 one playoff game in Boston to help the Heat avoid getting swept. Now that he has Lebron and Bosh who can also give Boston fits, he no longer has to put up 50 to will his team to a win. What’s even scarier about this Miami team is they look more comfortable playing together than they have all year. The Celtics on the other hand look a lot like the Lakers this postseason. They haven’t really looked good for more than one or two games the whole second season. They know it’s their last shot with their great coach, and might be pressing a little too hard or could just be old. Is it a lame duck coaching situation for Boston and LA that’s getting them down? Are they not playing as hard because they know there’s a new coach on the horizon after this season? Probably not, but I have to throw it out there. I guess this series hasn’t started yet since the home team hasn’t lost, but this video seems to sum up how high people are on the C’s right now…
Chicago 1, Atlanta 1 – Of the teams left in the playoffs, I’ve probably watched these two teams the least. I’m not sure why, but I was never totally sold on Chicago. Derrick Rose’s ankle is what this series hinges on, and personally I think getting the MVP is a jinx. No guard since Jordan has won a title the year they won the MVP. This day in age only big men that win the MVP get championships. Like I said before, I haven’t watched Chicago a lot, but is there anyway their defense is overrated a little? Indiana and Atlanta aren’t exactly offensive juggernauts ranking in the middle of the pack in the NBA, but are putting up over 90 in the playoffs where scoring is usually down against the unbreakable Thibodeau defense. Atlanta is the toughest team for me to figure out. They blow teams out, and get blown out just as much. You’re never really sure what you’re going to get from them. I can’t figure out why they went away from Jeff Teague, who was lighting Chicago up in game 2, but that happened, and they didn’t come close to winning. I actually like a lot of Atlanta’s players, but for some reason just can’t seem to talk myself into rooting for them. Don’t they feel like they are Mavs of the East? Good enough to be in the playoffs every year, but not good enough to go very far…
I have to admit the only time Durant has failed me was during the NCAA tourney as a Longhorn. He made me a believer that he could single-handedly win a title during the year hitting a few buzzer beaters. Unfortunately, he had a god awful performance in the 2nd round of March Madness, and was out of college basketball forever. Needless to say it destroyed my brackets that year. When he went to Seattle I was pretty happy, and grew a mini-mancrush on him through his rookie season. After Presti hi-jacked the team, I’ve found it very hard to watch them. I feel like I should be boycotting anything that is the Thunder. Another reason why every picture I put up of Durant on posts is him in a Seattle uniform. Alas, it’s impossible not to watch this amazing young team hitting full stride, and Westbrook has grown a TON since he came into the league. The main reason for their success has been Kevin Durant, and how he has put them into contender status at the vetran age of 21 years old.
The Sonics (still resisting calling them the Thunder) are like that up and coming boxer that is knocking out everyone that they face, skyrocketing up the rankings. Most likely they will fall to the champ in a fight for the belt, but it’s always fun to see the potential of the young guns. Rattling off 9 straight wins has made them relevant in the west, and I don’t see losing the last two being overly devastating. It hasn’t been a small story that KD had 29 straight 25+ point performances, until he scored a measly 21 tonight. He’s turned into the full package, and if he ever learns how to start dishing it, watch out. Then again, why would he pass, when he’s going to score no matter how he’s being defended. I’m already more impressed with his offensive game more so than I am with Melo’s. It doesn’t matter who the other team puts on him or what kind of double team he is facing, he figures it out and finds a way to score! If Melo is a PC, then KD has to be Mac. There’s one thing I’ve always liked about Durant, and that is the fact that he only cares about basketball. I mean, could you ever see him shooting up a night club or even having a gun for that matter? Making a rap video? Sending naked texts of himself? That’s what I thought. He’s a pretty clean cut guy, and only seems to care about getting better at basketball. I wonder if he’ll get arrogant like Kobe and Jordan are. You see something different with him, he’s just one of those competitors that won’t allow himself to waste away his talent.
One thing he has going against him is that he’s playing in the Lebron era, because in any other year, he’d get my MVP vote. It’s wild that if you took Durant or Lebron off either these teams, both would probably be counting how many ping pong balls they had for the John Wall lottery. That is why, I’m picking both of them above Kobe. Their importance to their teams is invaluable. I can still see the Lake Show making the playoffs with the supporting cast they have in place. Lebron looks like he’s hitting his Michael Jordan type stride, where it’s going to be nearly impossible for anyone to get an MVP but him for a few years. I guess Jordan wasn’t given the award a couple times in what many felt was the league getting tired of giving the award to him, and just wanted a change of pace. It seems like as long as Lebron is healthy, and has a good enough cast to get the top seed, it will be his award to lose. I’m praying that I’ll get to see his Big-O impersonation one year, and average a triple double for a entire season. My question is, when are we going to see the third puppet come out in the MVPuppet commercials? KD is already sponsored by Nike, why wouldn’t they throw him in there! He’d be my favorite character of the three.
Surprisingly we haven’t done any power rankings for hoops this year, so we were about due for this post! We’re approaching the halfway point in the season, and this is how we think the top 16 looks as of today.
1. Los Angeles Lakers – As negative as we are about the Lakers on Doin Work, we respect them. Aside from losing to their freeway rivals Wednesday, the Lake Show still have the best record in the league, and only have 7 losses on the season. I watch them more than I want to, and they’ve had a few injuries, but if Kobe is in the lineup they seem to find a way to win. Their defense might be a concern going forward, but when Ron and Pau are both healthy and back in the lineup they should be solid in the defensive department again. Bynum has been stepping up in a major way.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers – I’m not really sure how the Cavs lost to Charlotte, but other than that mini-speed bump they’ve been very consistent since destroying the Lakers on Christmas. I have a feeling that Nike could get their lame MVPuppet match up this year. It’s sad that I think beginning to be less of a Lebron fan because of those commercials!
3. Boston Celtics – No contending team outside of Portland has more injuries to key guys than the Celtics. Even without Rondo, KG, and Pierce they somehow beat a Toronto team that is playing surprisingly well lately. I guess it’s not a surprise for the leagues oldest team is having injury problems. I’m sure they’re just hoping that they are healthy at the right time.
4. Dallas Mavericks – If the playoffs started today, the Mavs would have the #2 seed. I was actually surprised to see this, but it’s true! Cuban has reigned over the Mavs for a decade now, and seems like he’s pushing the right buttons with his squad this year. They may have stunk up the court against the Lakers, but they beat all the teams they are supposed to and are deeper than I imagined they would be.
5. Orlando Magic – Matt Barnes has been playing some great ball since being put in the starting rotation. Unfortunately for the Magic, he has been their best player as of late and they don’t look like a very deep team anymore. Coach Van Gundy thinks they are in a rut, and it seems like he’s right as they’ve lost three straight. If guys don’t know their roles on the team, it always leads to unhappy players…
6. Denver Nuggets – I’m not sure how the Nuggets are hanging onto their division lead, but they are without Chauncey and Melo. The refs gave them a gift of a foul against the Warriors. They better watch out though, because the Blazers are closing in fast, and have overcome many more injuries than these Nuggets.
7. Portland Trailblazers – Can you say enough good things about Brandon Roy. He’s the ultimate team player. He didn’t have huge stats in the beginning of the year because the team didn’t need him as much. Now that 80% of the team is on the IR he’s playing with D-Leaguers and still has this Blazers team hunting down Denver for the division lead. Roy put up a stinker against the Clips, but if Kobe gets a pass, so does he!
8. Phoenix Suns – This might be too high for the Suns, but screw it. They have beat the best in the league and seem to lose to the worst. I really don’t know what to make of them, since they are so inconsistent, but as long as Nash is running the show they will win. If Richardson can get a little bit more consistent, I like where this team is going.
9. San Antonio Spurs – The Spurs started off the year slow, but as is the case every year, they’re right in the thick of things now. Winners of 12 of their last 15, the Spurs haven’t been flashy, but rank second in the league in FG% and third in 3PT%. Tim Duncan is averaging nearly 20 and 10.
10. Atlanta Hawks – The Hawks have stumbled as of late, dropping 5 of their last 7, but they have plenty of talent to carry them into the playoffs. With Josh Smith continuing to mature with each game, and Jamal Crawford finding his stride as a bench player, they simply need to keep pace in the top half of the Eastern Conference standings and they can be a dangerous playoff team once again.
11. Utah Jazz – It’d be easy to chalk up the Jazz’ early struggles to injuries, but they haven’t really had many. Carlos Boozer has played all 35 games, while Deron Williams and Mehmet Okur have missed a combined 7 games. As long as Williams’ wrist injury doesn’t linger all season long, Utah should find themselves right in the thick of the playoff race.
12. Houston Rockets – The Rockets have been proving doubters wrong all season so far, and despite their current three game losing streak, they’re sitting pretty at 20-16. Those three losses have come at the hands of the Hornets, Lakers, and Suns, all on the road. They’ve been beating the teams they’re supposed to. In this league, if you do that, you’ll find yourself in playing in the postseason. Houston currently sits in the 7th spot, but only by a half a game. In fact, only 3 games separate them from the 12th spot right now.
13. Oklahoma City Thunder – A trendy preseason pick to make the playoffs, the Sonics have not disappointed. Kevin Durant has carried the load, leading the team in scoring, rebounding, steals, and blocks. Their 19-16 record is impressive enough, but what really stands out is their 10-8 record on the road. The only teams in the West with worse home records are Minnesota and Golden State. It’s too bad they’re in OKC, as I’m sure the Seattle fans would provide them a much better home court advantage.
14. Miami Heat – The Heat were hot, no pun intended, to start the season but have since cooled off. Nonetheless, they’re still lingering around the .500 mark, which historically would get you in the playoffs in the East. Dwyane Wade should also garner some MVP attention should Miami finish in the top half of the standings. He’s averaging 27 pts, 5 reb, and 6 ast per game.
15. New Orleans Hornets – Riding a four game win streak, the Hornets are now over .500 for the first time this season at 17-16. That’s not good enough for the playoffs in the Western Conference, but with Chris Paul back healthy, they’ve got to like their chances to pass up Houston and/or Oklahoma City before the season ends.
16. Toronto Raptors – Let’s face it, this could be any team here at #16. The Raptors haven’t exactly impressed this season, but they’re still right in the thick of things. The Chris Bosh farewell tour is going strong. Now, if only Jose Calderon could regain his form, Toronto could have a good shot at knocking off a higher seed in the first round of the playoffs. I wouldn’t count on it though.