(Editor’s note: Last year we honored Shark Week, and the doldrums even of a lockout-less NBA August, by comparing sharks to the Thunder. So we’re revisiting that theme again in 2011 with the new roster. Perk deserves his own shark too, basically. Some of these are re-runs or slightly modified re-runs from last year, and some are brand new.)
It’s Shark Week again! And it’s still 142 degrees in Oklahoma. Let’s compare members of the Thunder family to sharks.
Kevin Durant: Porbeagle shark
I know, that was pretty predictable. When you saw where this column was going, you instantly thought, “Kevin Durant is JUST like a porbeagle shark.” Or maybe not.
While most sharks prefer more glamorous and warmer climates, the porbeagle shark is home in the quieter, cool waters further away from the coast. He can heat up all on his own. Porbeagles’ tendency to seemingly play, tossing around bits of debris in groups of up to 20, is like Durant’s propensity to play basketball all the time. They just enjoy being sharks, like he just enjoys playing basketball.
Russell Westbrook: Shortfin mako shark
Don’t blink, or you might miss the shortfin mako shark. It’s the fastest shark in the sea and was once clocked at more than 40 mph. The great leapers can soar up to 20 feet (which would easily clear Shane Battier). They are aggressive and are constantly attack. Shortfin makos sometimes knash at fishermen after they’ve been released, mirroring Westbrook’s ability to make opponents pay if they lose focus for even a fleeting moment. It is not known if the shortfin mako shark faces heavy criticism in the playoffs.
Kendrick Perkins: Sand tiger shark
The tiger shark looks mean because of a permanent scowl on its face, but is harmless unless provoked. Perchance that reminds you of anyone on the Thunder roster? The perpetual Perk scowl hides the fact that, really, he’s a (scowling) altar boy. Like Perkins, the sand tiger shark is not threatening to anyone unless its provoked, by someone like Nene or Marc Gasol probably. But, also like Perk, once it’s provoked you don’t want to mess with it. It’s got some long teeth an could really do some damage.
Pau Gasol: Goblin shark
Still ugly as ever.
Serge Ibaka: Tiger shark
Two phrases in the Tiger shark’s profile on the Shark Week website say it all: “a lean, mean eating machine” with force akin to a “power saw.” You don’t want to mess with the tiger shark. They show surprising range and are particularly dangerous to people who encroach on their territory.
Nazr Mohammed: Frill shark
The frill shark is often called a “living fossil” because of its close relationship with ancient sharks. Mohammed is the Thunder’s frill shark just because he’s the resident old guy.
Sam Presti: Great white shark
Did you know researchers found a great white with three dolphins in its stomach? Talk about stockpiling assets. The great white is so good at what it does (in this case, being freaking huge, vicious, nimble and having nasty teeth) that it can do pretty much whatever it wants in its own environment. Presti does the same by staying flexible and not making mistakes, giving him a veritable smorgasbord of tasty options when lesser general managers have to make a deal to save their skin.
Eric Maynor: Smooth dogfish shark
The smooth dogfish shark is one of the smaller species. It has to be more of an opportunistic hunter, like Maynor uses his time wisely when spelling Westbrook at the point. Smooth dogfish do most of their hunting among the less threatening types of prey, similar to Maynor deploying his refined game mostly against other teams’ second stringers.
Nate Robinson: Dwarf gulper shark
You know, because he’s small. Like the 2-foot dwarf gulper shark. He also spent time this summer in Indonesia, which is near the wide-ranging habitat of this rare shark.
Reggie Jackson: Greenland shark
We haven’t seen him in a Thunder uniform yet, but I think Jackson will be most like the greenland shark at least for this year. It’s often inactive.