Thunder fan Brad Rogers is frustrated with the criticism being lobbed constantly at the Thunder. So he emailed this in.
It’s pretty obvious that if you’re not from the state of Oklahoma or one of it’s neighboring states (excluding Texas of course) you like to point out the so-called “flaws” of the young squad. No matter the margin of victory or how it’s won, the critics always make their voices heard. Whether it’s Charles Barkley saying OKC’s half-court offense is “turrible” or hometown hater Skip Bayless’ questionable hatred for Russy (really Skip? Russell taking one more shot than KD makes THAT big of a difference?) There is always someone saying some THING is the reason why the Thunder will not win an NBA championship this year.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they are a shoe-in (turnovers continue to make me cringe), but I’m also not counting them out for the same reason the “experts” are either. The reality is that this team is unlike any the NBA has ever seen…and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Let’s face it, the dynamic of the point guard in the NBA is changing (Steve Nash may be the exception in this argument). In the past 2 nights, I’ve seen Russell Westbrook drop 71 points, Derek Rose 25, and Deron Williams 66. Here’s the kicker, not one of them had 10 assists. While Derrick Rose continues to be praised as well as Deron Williams, Westbrook for some reason continues to catch flak. My biggest question is why? Why does the guy on a 25-7 team continue to be scrutinized for his efforts on the court while other score-first point guards are heralded?
And don’t give me the whole “But he plays with Kevin Durant, arguably the best player in the league.” Yes I’m talking to you Skip. And you’re right, but guess what… KD is still getting his numbers. Chants of MVP continue to rain down from the rafters at Chesapeake Energy Arena. He’s averaging 27.6 PPG and many think his game has elevated by becoming more of an all-around player. He’s not looking for bigger numbers, he’s looking for more W’s. Sorry Chuck, the league is changing and not every point guard is going to be averaging 15 assists like they did in your hey-day.
Another argument that has been surfacing is “Well they only have 2-3 scorers.” Hmm last time I checked another team in South Beach only has 2-3 scorers…unless you’re counting Mario Chalmers or Shane Batti… sorry I almost can’t get the second name out. Granted Miami is far more gifted than OKC on the defensive end, they aren’t nearly as deep. This is always something people seem to overlook. OKC is at least 2 players deep at every position. They may not all be scorers, but they most certainly won’t lose the game for you. I feel like the more #freecole tweets put out, the more his game will develop and Royal has gone from cheerleader to a decent 3 point shooter (and those are the back-ups back-ups). As for the half-court offense comments…the Thunder 25-7; they may live by the jump shot, but they’ve rarely died by it.
We’re only half way through the season and as an avid fan remembering the days of 3-29 records, I feel extremely content with how the Thunder are playing ball right now. They are fast, they are relentless, and they are emotional. You can’t honestly say that about many teams in the NBA. Do they let their emotions get the best of them sometimes, namely Perk and Russell, sure, but would you rather have a ho-hum group of players who don’t care about a play regardless of how minuscule it might be? If so, change the channel.