Oklahoma City News, Entertainment & Occasional Humor • Established 2007

Peace, Love and Thunderstanding: Moral Victory Edition

I took a week off from writing a formulaic Peace, Love and Thunderstanding column and instead let Patrick post fifteen ideas for improving the Thunder experience.  While that article was well received, the real reason for the delay was hope that the team might give me something to write about if I gave them an extra week to do something.  Since the last true P, L & T ran, would anyone like to guess how many times the Oklahoma City Thunder have won a game?  Here’s a hint, there have been seven games since that point.

For all of you who disheartedly mouthed “zero”, you win.  You may now proceed to crying into your keyboard.

This Week’s Reason to Love the Team Even Though the Product on the Floor is Awful:  Moral Victories

I’m a fan of OSU football and after the Texas game in which the Cowboys allowed the Longhorns to methodically drive down the field for the entire game, but still came an underthrown hail mary pass from winning, I felt good about my guys.  They had stood toe-to-toe with the best team in the country #1 team in the country at the time and I wasn’t going to hang my head about losing.

If you can wrap your head around that kind of thinking, the Thunder is your team.  In back-to-back nights on a Texas road trip over the past week, the Thunder went into the 4th quarter tied with the Mavericks and nearly erased a 26 point deficit against the Spurs.  In the end they lost both games by four and five points respectively, but they can’t hang their heads in shame after those.

This Week’s Odds of the Thunder Avoiding Becoming the Worst Team of All Time:  65%

As of this morning, the Thunder are 2-24, a winning percentage of .077.  The current status of worst NBA team of all time belongs to the 1972-1973 Philadelphia 76ers who ended that campaign at 9-73 (a winning percentage of .110).  Those 76ers were also 2-24 through 26 games.

So, maybe 65% is an optomistic number, but the Thunder continues to improve and eventually, you have to think they will steal a few games they aren’t supposed to win.  At minimum, they might make a couple of teams pay for resting their starters (the way Phoenix did with Shaq).  Of course, those odds are going to go down as the team continues losing winnable games (particularly at home) the way they did this past week against Memphis, Golden State, and the Clippers.

Statistic of the Week:  11

In the seven games since the last Peace, Love and Thunderstanding, that is the number of three pointers made by players other than Kevin Durant or Jeff Green.  To contrast, the Magic hit 13 against the Thunder on December 5th.  The margin of the game was ten points.

Some may wonder why I always eliminate the long balls made by Durant and Green when I bring up how poorly the Thunder shoot from outside.  It’s simple, those are they only guys making the shots, but they are also the guys who the team needs to be taking fewer outside shots.  When those two are shooting from the outside, it’s a sign that the opposing defenses have effectively shut off higher percentage shots for our two best scoring threats.  That happens because those opposing teams know that no one else is going to make them pay for sagging back near the basket.

All Star of the Week:  Kevin Durant

If for no other reason than he made that Golden State game worth watching.  His 41 points put the team in the game despite no help from his teammates, particularly Russell Westbrook who turned the ball over 6 times and shot 4-14 from the field.  Durant adding ten rebounds, three blocks, and a steal was also very helpful for my fantasy team.

Quote of the Week:  Patrick

Thunder TV just cut away to a funeral.

A text message in response to me marvelling at how dead the crowd was during the first half of the Warriors game at the Ford Center.

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Comments

  1. I am currently displacing my anger and frustration onto Sam Presti. We are DESPERATELY in need of free agents/trades to make any sort of real progress. We just do not have the guns to compete. Unfortunately, we have probably missed the boat on trading Swift for anything you can’t get at the bottom of a cracker-jack box! Petro is valuable just for his 7-ft frame to many teams, and Collison still has a bankable reputation (not that WE have seen any evidence…)to trade on. Other than that, all we have to trade are future draft pings, which we are aquiring at a rapidly escalating pace, and cold hard $$$! If Presti does not make a move before the All-Star Break I will be VERY surprised and disappointed.

    The unfortunate thing is that there really isn’t anyone available out there in the free-agent pool to save us.

    http://www.insidehoops.com/free-agent-rankings.shtml

    Perhaps Stephon Marbury has a hankerin’ for a heapin’ helpin’ of some hospitality? Bennett does not appear bothered by associating with people of enormous ego, (i.e. the King of “CHKers”)and everything seems to point to Scott Brooks being a “players coach”. (Which to me seems to mean he doesn’t raise his voice at them, and they get to ignore his offensive plays as long as they score!) What’s not to love? My other suggestion would be for Presti to sign someone you have only vaguely heard of, who has been in the league at least 3 years putting up decent stats with very few minutes of playing time. Preferably a shooting guard with a sick 3-point shot, and a passing competence with running an offense. I would settle for a ferocious defender/rebounder/shot blocker who can occaisionally be counted on for a 6-8 ft. jumper when left completely unguarded.

    There’s my wish list Santa, you have a few days left!

  2. I’m not sure how plausible picking up Mr. Starberry is, but it sure can’t hurt! (right?)

    Could you imagine Clay-Clay, Mr. CHK and Starberry kicking it at Toby Keith’s while listening to the Hosty Duo jam out to “Fradey Hole”?

    Just saying…

  3. If Marberry comes here, you might as well just demolish the Ford Center right now. The guy destroyed (with help from Isaiah Thomas) one of the most storied pro basketball franchises, he’d make short work of OKC.

    In all seriousness, the last thing you want on a struggling team is a locker room cancer like Starbury.

    Get some rebounding muscle and trade Westbrook while people still think he has upside.

  4. I agree, Clark, his natural position is at the 2, but even there he’s a little undersized for an NBA 2 guard.

  5. Size matters on the perimeter as well. A taller player that can elevate will be able to simply shoot over him.

  6. NO! NO! NO! We will NOT trade Westbrook! Right now I would as soon trade KD as Westie! This Neenad Kritic guy we just signed out to help out inside? (we hope!) Bye Bye Swift, and Watson if necessary, but Westbrook, Green and Durant must be our core. I hate to disagree with you Clark, but threatening to trade Westbrook is a line I will not cross! (especially after tonight’s win!!) Go Thunder!!!

  7. I’m trying to think of this in business terms as well as basketball.

    6’3″ athletic guards that can’t shoot well are a dime a dozen, Europe, the D-Leagues and NYC playgrounds are filled with them.

    It’s a project that isn’t worth the money/draft pick – dump it while you can and pick up value down the road. Just my two cents.

    If Westbrook turns out to be a key starter on this team, I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong.

  8. I didn’t say anything about trading Westbrook. I said I thought he had upside as a two-guard. At times he reminds me a lot of Tony Parker because he isn’t slowed down at all when he’s dribbling the basketball and I’m not sure if there is a guard in this league who could keep up with him in a footrace. He can just blow by anyone and get to the basket. The problem with playing that fast is that he is basically a black hole because if he’s looking for a teammate, he’s going to lose the ball. That means, as a point guard, he has to scale back what makes him special, or else be a black hole at the one position where the job description demands that you not be a black hole.

    I’ll have plenty to say about Nenad in next week’s PLT.

  9. I did not imagine that someone had a post here that said trade Westbrook while he still had some value?!?! Now it’s gone? “Lucy–you got some ‘splainin to do!”

  10. If you want a project at the 2 spot, I’d rather see JR Giddens make a homecoming.

    He might not be as fast as Westbrook, but he’s easily just as athletic. He’s a good defender and has a more well rounded skill set. Plus, he has the size and a long wing span — he’s better suited to match up with other SGs in the NBA.

    His long range jumper needs work and right now he’s hoping to get a spot behind a team loaded with veterans. Here he’d have a chance to grow.

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