Image courtesy of William Bennett Berry.
The NBA Season is at its halfway point, and that means it’s time to bust out the mid-term report cards. In other words, it’s the one you didn’t want your parents to see. Report cards posts on their own aren’t very fun, so I spiced things up by comparing every player’s performance to one of my favorite (or least favorite) video games. And if some of you are non-gamers, don’t despair! This list is easily understandable if you can’t tell the difference between a Pac-Man and a pizza.
Also, keep in mind that the scale goes as so:
A- Far Exceeded Expectations
B- Exceeded Expectations
C- Met Expectations
D- Fell Short of Expectations
F- Fell Far Short of Expectations
In other words, if I ranked player X above player Y, it doesn’t necessarily mean that player X is better than player Y. It just means that player X played farther above his own expectations. Anyway, on to the rankings, which were done in order of points per game.
Kevin Durant: A+
Video Game Comparison: Pac-Man
Honestly, you can’t go wrong with Kevin Durant, and you can’t go wrong with Pac-Man. The innate appeal of Pac-Man is that it’s easy to pick up, and it never gets old. With something like Galaga, you might get tired of hammering the button. With something like Super Mario, you get to the end of the level, and the game is over. But with Pac-man, you can just keep playing to your heart’s content. It gets harder, but the game remains the same. Similarly, Durant always gets better, but his game has remained incredibly consistent and solid. He’s made tweaks here and there, but made sure to never mess with the classic formula. Mr.4th Quarter has bailed us out of more situations than I can count, and he almost never ceases to amaze.
Russell Westbrook: B
Video Game Comparison: Sonic
It’s always hard to put a finger on Westbrook. His game constantly changes, and you never really know what direction it’s going to take next. But one thing that doesn’t change is his fearlessness. I feel the same way about Sonic. Some of Sonic games are absolute gold, while others are absolute garbage. The creative direction in those game changes so much that it’s hard to really get a feeling of consistency anymore. The same goes for Westbrook. While the good definitely outweighs the bad, he’s still the enigma of a player he always was. Still, it’s hard not to think of Sonic when you think of Westbrook’s hard-headedness and reckless abandon.
Image courtesy of William Bennett Berry.
It’s been another fantastic week, and no one can deny that. The Thunder have swept all four of their games, including revenge in Minnesota, another pounding of the Lakers, squeaking by Portland at home with some late defense, and a KD-Russ scorefest against Phoenix. But those wins have been more unorthodox than you think.
During the game against the Trail Blazers, Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha were sitting out with injuries. Those injuries resulted in training camp invitee DeAndre Liggins being thrust into the lineup. Liggins played like a man possessed, exhibiting lightning quick defense, excellent offensive awareness, and an impressive ability to pressure.
His performance got me thinking. What are some of the better performances that we’ve seen from injury replacements in the Thunder’s past? Obviously, the Thunder have been blessed with an almost totally injury-free roster, which has been a huge contributor to their success. However, on those rare occasions where somebody gets the flu, contorts a quad, or drinks too many shots with Wayne Coyne, a benchwarmer has had to step in. Some have failed, but others have flourished.
This post is a chronicle of some performances you’ve probably forgotten. The list here focuses on performances in individual games, rather than over a long period of time. And it doesn’t necessarily focus on who replaced who tit-for-tat, but rather who was able to step up and fill the injured player’s role.
Hello once again fellow Thunder fans! The Thunder have gone 2-2 in the past week, and it’s definitely one we’d all like to forget. Not only did the Thunder drop a game to former head coach P.J. Carlesimo, they also dropped a game to the worst team in the league. Then again, if the Thunder’s worst week this season involved two easy wins over crappy teams, then it tells you that the Thunder don’t have a lot to complain about.
Still, we’re Oklahomans, and we like winning. So let’s put our stethoscopes on and diagnose what’s wrong with the Thunder as they are now. To keep things fun, I’m going to add a hilarious picture of each person I’m complaining about. You know, for good measure.
Scott Brooks Isn’t Very Creative With Rotations
It’s hard to hate on a guy who brought the Thunder from a lottery team to a title contender, but man, Scott Brooks really loves putting in certain guys. Barring injuries, the Thunder have had the same starting lineup since February of 2010. The manner of rotations has stayed the same as well, with Kevin Martin taking Harden’s minutes, Thabeet getting Mohammed’s minutes, and Jackson getting Fisher’s/Maynor’s minutes. But not every player is the same, and as such, replacements with different skillsets shouldn’t be given the same roles as those guys.
What should Scott Brooks do? Well, there’s tons. He could stop abandoning Martin, who can’t score on his own, with the bench. He could let Ibaka play with the bench, to add more scoring power. He could use Reggie Jackson alongside Russell Westbrook, and have them develop a repertoire. He could put in Collison when Perkins isn’t suited to a particular opposing center. The list goes on, but I’d really like to see some more on the fly decision-making. It’s what helped Carlisle win the championship with the Mavericks in 2011.
Well, readers, we are way into the Thunder season, and there’s something that has been weighing pretty heavily on my heart. Every time there’s a game I find myself at a sports bar imbibing heavily and eating my body weight in cheese fries dipped in ranch dressing. And in order to support my boys, I feel it necessary to order whatever Thunder-themed drink is on the menu. Unfortunately, every stinking bar in the OKC Metro area does this awful thing where they put blue curacao in the drink to mimic that Thunder blue.
This is problematic for a number of reasons. Blue curacao is gross, it eats away at the lining of my stomach and gives me heartburn, and it’s fruity and lame which does nothing to highlight the athleticism and masculinity of our team. Bartenders, hear my cry! The Thunder is the one thing that brings us all together. Where college football tears us apart, basketball makes us one. And it’s a damn shame that the bars are serving the jankiest swill under the guise of team spirit that does nothing to honor the great men that represent our city on the court.
So, I’ve made a list of beverages that do not contain blue curacao. Take note, city bartenders.
My mom likes to call Thabo “Swiss Chocolate.” Sefolosha may be number 2 on the court, but this drink will be number 1 to your taste buds. Mix one part vanilla ice cream, one part Frangelico, and one part of your favorite Swiss chocolate almond liquer. Blend until smooth. Serve in a parfait glass.
Well, I guess it’s time to give our now annual list of bold predictions for the new year. This time around we have a list of 24 predictions as opposed to the usual 20. Why is that? I honestly have no clue. I guess we’re bettering our chances of getting some of them correct.
Anyway, we’ll post 12 predictions today and 12 more tomorrow. Here we go.
TO THINK IS EASY. TO ACT IS DIFFICULT… TO ACT AS ONE THINKS IS THE MOST DIFFICULT OF ALL. #BEWISE
— Hasheem Thabeet (@HasheemTheDream) December 31, 2012
GOD DOESN’T GIVE U WHAT U WANT..BU HE SURE WILL DELIVER WHAT U NEED. #HAVEFAITH
— Hasheem Thabeet (@HasheemTheDream) December 29, 2012
BEAUTY FADES.. DUMB IS FOREVER.
— Hasheem Thabeet (@HasheemTheDream) December 13, 2012
1. Kevin Durant informs Hasheem Thabeet about the caps lock button on his iPhone.
2. Sweet Brown arrested for arson.
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