Hello again Thunder fans! This week, I greet you with a tinge of sadness. After a 5 game win streak and improved play that could have sent the Thunder to the top seed in the Western Conference, they fell short at the finish line, losing to San Antonio on Monday. But this isn’t the first time our Thunder have disappointed us. I know, it’s hard to be disappointed in a team that has blatantly overachieved every season. However, disappointment is a natural part of being a sports fan. And ultra disappointment is a natural part of being a Oklahoma sports fan, no matter how well your team has done previously.
So, without further ado, here’s a list of some of the Thunder’s biggest disappointments. Keep in mind, I’m not trying to be hard on the team. It should be evident from the list that we don’t have a whole lot to whine about. Also, losing James Harden/Jeff Green is exempt from this list, because we all know how we feel about those events.
5. The Blimp
This blimp is LAME! I understand that having a blimp in the arena is cool, but blimps should serve three purposes. 1. To give away awesome prizes. 2. To provide pointless aerial coverage. 3. To accidentally crash into something. This blimp has done none of those! Now, before you talk about how the blimp drops these little cards, I know it does. But those cards give you some lame prize. I saw someone get something from it once, but it was so incredibly underwhelming that I can’t even remember what it is. Darn this blimp! Crash into something already!
4. Kevin Martin
I don’t want to put Kevin Martin’s name here, especially after his early season performances. Because I know that no matter what he does, he’s not James Harden, and he’s going to fall short of everyone’s expectations. He’s got no style, doesn’t star in Footlocker commercials, and looks like a clone of Thabo Sefolosha. Moreover, he doesn’t have the court vision, athleticism, or playmaking ability that James Harden had, forcing Reggie Jackson to take on a larger role with the bench unit.
But, shove all of that baggage to the side for a moment. When you look at Kevin Martin’s ability to just be Kevin Martin, he’s largely failed as well. Since he’s so terrible defensively and can’t move the ball any better than your average shooting guard, he has to rely exclusively on his ability to score. But since the calendar has his February, he hasn’t been a reliable option. His PPG average has consistently gotten lower and lower, to the point where I wonder why he’s on the court in the fourth quarter at all. In order to be successful, K-Mart’s got to be aggressive, find ways to get open, and give reason for everyone to talk about blue light specials. Because I haven’t been to a K-Mart since I was a kid.
3. Cole Aldrich
Did you know that Cole Aldrich plays for the Sacramento Kings now? If you do, then you’re from Kansas or leave NBATV on while you’re asleep. In any case, it’s a pretty safe bet that Cole Aldrich’s NBA career is going to end up nowhere, and that the Thunder won’t regret cutting him. He was basically a salary throw in on the James Harden deal so that we wouldn’t have to deal with his contract and could get Jeremy Lamb in the trade. Then, he was shipped off in some deal to Sacramento for no real reason at all. Once his rookie contract is up, he’ll probably find a home in some obscure European domestic league.
It’s sad that we never got to see him play, but then again, it’s probably not sad. I’ve watched countless hours of footage of this guy mucking around in the Summer League. He’s terrible. Half the time he looks like he just doesn’t have the energy to play (a problem that plagues a lot of people who are 7 feet tall), and the other half of the time he doing a horrible Kareem Abdul-Jabbar impersonation. All in all, he’s a project that went bust, which is pretty lame for a #11 pick.
2. The Logo
It still sucks. I hate it with all my will! The rumor on the street back in the day was that the image in question was pushed through by upper management while design teams were still in the refinement process. The result has been this ugly basketball triangle and basic font that we call a “logo”. The only real redeeming quality it has is that it expresses the total lack of originality in Oklahoma City. Our revived industrial district is made out of bricks? Let’s call it, “Brick-town”. The Ford Center has no naming rights? Well, we could name it something awesome like “The Myriad II”, but we’ll stick to “Oklahoma City Arena.” We have a new basketball team? What was that noise outside? Let’s name it after that.
1. Pau Gasol’s Layup to Send the Thunder Out of the Playoffs in 2010
It’s never as sweet as the first time. You can try to re-create it, and you’ll have many great experiences afterwards. But once the mold is broken, there’s no going back. And, damn, wouldn’t it have been sweet to triumph over the Lakers back in April of 2010? The noise at the Ford Center achieved historic highs, and the Thunder had battled their way back from a late 7 point deficit. After several miscues by both teams, it was apparent that the game would come down to one final play. Kevin Durant’s Mom was standing and asking for noise, and a message from Bart Conner (of all people) had just played on the jumbotron, imploring people to scream their heads off. The Thunder had held strong for three possessions in a row, so surely, this wouldn’t be the end. The series would go to 7 games, and the Thunder would get a chance to upset the Lakers in LA.
Sadly, that never came to fruition. The Thunder had subbed in Ibaka and Collison for paint security, and the team successfully saw Kobe Bryant miss a tough baseline jumper. But despite the Thunder’s gigantic size at that juncture (KD was playing SG), both Ron Artest and Pau Gasol were able to successfully block out their opponents, and Pau Gasol won the game on a last second putback. Westbrook hit a desperation three, and it was over. The Thunder had lost, and they still needed a defensive big man.
Random Thunder Highlight of the Week:
Nothing can top the DeAndre Jordan over Brandon Knight highlight sensation that’s sweeping the web right now, so I’ll just get that out of the way. But instead of trying to top it, I’d like to show you something with its’ own charm. This layup by Kevin Durant in last week’s win over the Nuggets wasn’t an amazing physical feat, but it was surely a sweet demonstration of skill. The move was so unique, in fact, that none of the camera angles were expecting it. All of them focused on Durant falling down, and you don’t even see the ball kiss the glass. (Except in the wide view.) It might look easy, but just try hitting this in an open gym, much less after jumping around two defenders. In the end, it’s just another reminder that Kevin Durant is the best scorer in the game today.
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