What are your thoughts on Thunder Alley being closed for watching the games? — Stephanie J.
It sucks, to be blunt. Sucks big time. Thunder Alley was becoming — or really, already was — an awesome, unique experience for Thunder fans. Seeing the aerial shots on TNT of thousands gathered outside was amazing.
The shame of shutting it down is that Thunder Alley had nothing to do with the Bricktown incident. If you’ve ever been around Harkins and that Sonic late at night, you’ll know that it’s a rough little spot no matter if there’s a Thunder game or not. It’s become a gathering place for a lot of kids, and an area that feels a little uncomfortable.
But at the same time, it’s easy to see it from the city and team’s perspective. Thunder Alley was only going to grow. It was going to go from 2,000 to 5,000 to 10,000 to 20,000 to who knows how much if the Thunder reach The Finals. It was only going to get more hectic, more crowded, more dangerous.
Still, I disagree with shutting it down because it wouldn’t have happened without the incident. And if that’s the only reason to do it, that doesn’t make sense. Because there will still be 20,000 people pouring out of The Peake in Bricktown streets late at night after home games. There will still be crowds of people going to bars downtown and in Bricktown. And most importantly, there will still be morons everywhere doing stupid things that make the simplest, most fun environments dangerous for everyone. You can’t account for idiots.
It seemed that a better solution was probably there to be had. Charging admission to it, beefed security, no alcohol, whatever. Besides, Thunder Alley itself really wasn’t the problem anyway. The incident happened separate of it. Even if it didn’t exist, there were still going to be thousands in the area walking to their cars after the game.
But again, idiots. They’re everywhere. From what I was hearing, Thunder Alley itself was getting more and more lawless anyway and was rapidly becoming the sport version of Hamsterdam. Something needed to be done.
It’s a really unfortunate thing and a case of erring on the side of extreme caution. I understand it. It just sucks.
These playoffs have been quite a ride, huh? I just wanted your opinion on who you think the top 3 overall players are in the NBA. I was arguing with some friends that I think Durant has risen to #1. IF we win this year, I think it’s no question. IF we don’t, I still think he is, but it’s close. His clutchness, if that is even a word, trumps LeBron’s physical gifts, in my mind. — Matthew R.
In terms of basketball ability, LeBron’s No. 1. He’s just too ridiculous not to be. But then again, ability isn’t everything. There’s a lot more to it and if you started the NBA over and I had first pick of any player in the league, I’d take KD. Granted, I’m horrifically biased, but Durant has that something it seems. LeBron might as well, but I haven’t really ever seen it from him, while in just five years in the league, KD’s shown it time and again.
If the Thunder were to somehow by the grace of Presti win an NBA title, KD’s the best player in the world, no doubt. He holds the trophy trump card. Thing is now though, LeBron puts up 28-9-9 and we all kind of yawn. It takes 40-18-9 for him to grab our attention. I’m not entirely sure who’s better, nor do I care. I do know that I’d rather have Kevin Durant over LeBron given the choice.
But my top three players would probably be LeBron, KD and… Kevin Love. Seriously. I don’t think Love gets anywhere near the credit he deserves. We’re talking a guy that routinely puts up 25-15, can score from inside and out, has a ton of skill, is a great passer and works his butt off. Yeah, you could put Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard or Russell Westbrook in that place, but I like Love.
How much do you expect Brooks to go with their small lineup with Durant at the four against the Spurs? — Dustin T.
Obviously more to come on breaking down the series, but here’s a preview: A lot.
My question, albeit more of an opinion, is about Perk. I know you’re a huge fan and loyal supporter of Perkins as a big game-changer and even as a big franchise-changer, what with the tough-guy attitude he brings and all. And although I agree he does make a bigger difference than what is generally shown on the box score, I’m still not sure he’s worth the $8 million a year simply because his complete effectiveness is not used enough due to the competition in the NBA. — Joshua P.
Joshua sent in a long, detailed email asking about Perk and made some very quality points. One of them being that with the death of the big man in the NBA, having a high caliber post defender like Perk is less necessary than ever. He put it as, why pay a guy $8 million a year to defend four guys? Very good point.
However, I think it’s essentially a supply and demand type of thing. Big men are just paid better. DeAndre Jordan is not a high caliber big, and he got more than $10 million a year. It’s just the name of the position. There’s a lot of value in a big man because scoring the ball inside is place at such a high priority, if you have someone that can limit that, there’s equal importance to having that.
Plus, if the Thunder don’t have Perk to defend Bynum, do they advance? That’s an easy way to answer it, but isn’t that the most important thing? If not having Perk, even if he’s overpaid, means the Thunder can’t beat the Lakers, then what’s the point? If the team is good, and wins it all, does it matter how much Perk makes? Isn’t that the whole point to this?
Let me be totally negative and pessimistic so I can get it out of my system and Thunder up. How in the **** are they supposed to beat the Spurs? It seems like the Thunder would have to play perfect basketball for four games before the Spurs for four games. If anything, the latter seems more impossible (the Spurs not playing perfectly, especially for more than one game). Can we wear them out somehow? Is it wrong just to hope to avoid a sweep? — Joann S.
Thunder fans are riding a rollercoaster right now. They’ve been on the expectation train all season, thinking about the NBA Finals and a championship, but now a legitimate roadblock is here and so it’s time to start slowing down. It’s smart. Don’t yet yourself up for colossal, heartbreaking, devastating disappointment. I get it. If the Spurs beat the Thunder, you can at least kick back and tell yourself the Thunder were underdogs and didn’t have much of a chance anyway.
And while the Spurs’ streak is impressive and they’ve looked machine-like, don’t for a second think they’re head and shoulders above the Thunder. Who knows, they may sweep OKC because a playoff series is such a fragile thing, but the Thunder are as good as they are. Again, being as good or better doesn’t always mean something. I guarantee you, as Thunder fans are freaking about the Spurs, San Antonio fans are wondering, “How do we stop Durant?” When you get this far, you’ve got to beat a good team. This isn’t the Eastern Conference.
Long term would you rather keep Westbrook or Harden? I love Westbrook, but the more I watch Harden play I realize we cannot lose this guy no matter what. If amnestying Westbrook were the only way to keep Harden, would you do it? Also realize the PG would then be Maynor (not a bad option at all), and we would also for sure be able to keep Ibaka. — Joe B.
Let me tell you, Thunder fans love the “who would you rather keep?” questions. Long term, Durant or Westbrook? Harden or Sam Presti? Rumble or the Thunder Girls?
I get the spirit of the question, but it’s hard to answer because it’s so unlikely. The Thunder’s front office is obviously preparing for every scenario and situation, but the focus is all on keeping everyone. It might prove impossible, but there isn’t any thoughts of picking this guy or that guy. They’re focused on building a championship contender from year to year, and if that means at some point amnestying Perk, or Westbrook or Durant or whatever, that’s the plan. This organization wants to be putting a team on the floor in five years that’s able to be in this exact same position.
James Harden is super valuable. He’s an incredible player. So is Russell Westbrook. Awesome player. At some point, decision might have to be made between Harden and Ibaka, Westbrook and Harden or whoever and whoever. But for starters, I don’t think it’ll ever come to Westbrook and Harden. Those two are part of the untouchable group.
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