How bad do the Thunder miss Thabo and when is he coming back? — Rick T.
Thabo is still listed as day-to-day. Which means he could be back literally any day. But that foot is really bugging him and with mid-February not being the most important thing in the world and the Thunder getting on okay without him, there’s not a big rush. It wouldn’t shock me if he was held out through the All-Star break, just to give him plenty of time to heal up and get back in shape.
How bad does OKC miss him? It’s the times you forget about Thabo where you miss him the most. Like last night against the Rockets, as Kevin Martin torched Daequan Cook and James Harden, Scott Brooks turned to Royal Ivey for a little defensive spark. That normally would’ve been Thabo’s assignment. The other two Thunder games this season with Thabo getting the start on him, Martin scored 29 total points. He had 32 Wednesday.
The Thunder can live without Thabo. They can win without him. He’s a guy that plays 20-25 minutes a game, scores only a couple points and only shoots when he’s wide open. But he’s a Little Things type of player, which are often the type of guys that win you close games. Good perimeter defender and someone that you can rely on to defend an opposing team’s scorer. The Thunder miss Thabo and will certainly be better once he comes back.
But this next question…
Should Cook continue to start even when Thabo is healthy? — Ashley T.
Now that’s interesting. Part of the reason the “Start Harden” campaign picked up so much momentum was because of the way the Thunder offense tended to begin games. Often times, the first six or seven minutes were stagnant two-man offense. Harden was a pressure release valve, someone to relieve a little of the offensive tension.
And Cook, while not as multifaceted a scorer as Harden, is sort of that same guy. He’s a better shooter than Thabo and not a bad defender. He provides OKC another weapon on the floor and opposing teams can try and hide a Mike Bibby or Jason Kidd on him.
It’s almost a guarantee that Thabo steps right back into his normal starting role once he’s healthy, but I’m sure Scott Brooks has considered this. But then again, Brooks was proven right with Harden’s role, so I’m going to defer to whatever he decides here.
G’day, a Thunderer from down under here, wondering what you think of Reggie Jackson’s defense. We’ve seen that his offense is mostly dribble to half court and pass to Harden, but how is he doing at the other end of the court? — Joel
Honestly, I haven’t really noticed his defense all that much. Which tells me it’s probably been about average. Because normally you notice a guy’s defense for two reasons: A) He’s doing a great job or B) He’s getting completely smoked.
I think Jackson has the potential to be a really capable defender. He’s not a gambler like Westbrook. He’s more of a stay-in-front-of-my-man type of defender. The one thing about him is I think he should try and get a little more out of his athleticism. I haven’t really seen him make a play yet where I say, “Wow, Reggie Jackson!” He can leap, he’s quick and his wingspan is ridiculous. He needs to be showing that stuff off more.
Have you noticed how often (of late) that commentators dote on point guards for their leaping ability? When Westbrook skies for a dunk or Rose catches a lob one of these guys undoubtedly spouts off all astounded like, “And that’s your point guard making that play!” Hasn’t the new standard for the prototypical NBA PG become the freakish athlete? Is it so spectacular anymore when PGs from Jrue Holiday to Kyrie Irving can get up there and throw it down or steal an offensive carom? — John F.
The new breed. Don’t forget though, this was happening with Jason Kidd and Kevin Johnson and Steve Kerr too. (Just kidding about the last one.) The only difference now is that point guards are the size shooting guards used to be.
But it’s hard not to be impressed when Westbrook takes off in the paint like he just bounced off a mini-trampoline. Or when Rose seems to hang in the air for 16 seconds as he contorts to make a spinning layup.
I think the the Westbrook-Rose style point guard might sort of be the new prototype, but the old fashioned guys like Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo and even Jose Calderon get the job done the same. Heck, look at Ricky Rubio and Jeremy Lin. They are freak athletes or high flyers. That’s part of the beauty of basketball. Different shapes, styles and abilities, but all doing similar things.
Who, in your opinion, is the best overall player on the Thunder? — Matthew R.
Overall? Cole Aldrich, obviously.
Can you explain what a “screen” is and why Nick Collison is so good at them? — Real text question during last night’s game
I’ll just let you think about that question for a little while. It’s a tough one.
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