DT Mailbag: Twitter edition

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Twitter questions asked, and answered. Ready, set, Thunder.

As a Grizz fan, I was wondering whom Thunder would least like to play in 1st round: MEM, DAL, PHX, or GSW? — @Stumpbuster9

Well, of the teams you listed, I’d probably lean towards the Warriors. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are scary in a seven-game series. But of the most likely — Grizzlies, Mavs or Suns — definitely the Grizzlies. Nothing is ever easy against them.

Gun to your head…. How far do the Thunder go in the postseason and who beats them? — @kade_burleson

Why are you pointing that gun at me? Stop pointing that gun at me! But since you won’t, I’ll say NBA Finals, and nobody beats them.

when Thabo and Perkins come back healthy at season end, what do you think their closing lineup should be? — @ASternlicht35

Who should Brooks use as his closing 5? Give me one lineup with one big and another with two bigs. — @D_Talley

My preference: Westbrook, Jackson, Butler, Durant, Ibaka. But I don’t want to box myself into that, because depending on matchup, you could swap Jackson for Thabo, or Butler for Thabo. And no, I wouldn’t have Derek Fisher in any closing lineup.

do you think either Russ or KD will leave if OKC can’t win chip in next two years? — @spencerthunder

Can I just say no and move on? No? The context of this answer has to include a lot of things, which include what happens between now and then. Two first round exits, and the front office continues to slow play things? I could see KD getting frustrated enough to leave. But assuming things continue on their path and the Thunder remain highly competitive, I don’t see any reason why either would leave night now. What’s the better option? Big markets are overrated in today’s NBA, in that you don’t need them to be a global superstar. It’s about winning for both, and I’m not sure any other organization is going to give either a better opportunity for that. Someone like the Nets are tricky because they could promise to spend big on a super-roster, and that’s the kind of thing that appeals to a player title hunting. So we’ll just have to wait and see and stress.

did the thunder ever even strongly consider drafting the Greek freak? And your thoughts on lambo being benched — @ndorety

Before the draft, someone who knows things told me that the Thunder were “fascinated” by Giannis Antetokuompo, but felt filling a need was more important than springing for an intriguing prospect that might have had trouble finding much floor time behind Kevin Durant and Perry Jones.

As far as Lamb goes, I’m certainly not a fan of it. I’ll just plagiarize myself from last night: I have no problem with Butler getting quality minutes. He was signed to play big minutes and to hit big shots. He had 12 tonight, putting him in double-figures four out his seven games with OKC. But he played 29 again tonight. Brooks clearly has a fetish for veterans with intangibles, because Jeremy Lamb was never given the kind of leash Butler is getting right now. Lamb never saw minutes that heavy, never played with Durant and Westbrook that much and never got a similar license within the offense. Lamb has tailed off severely since exploding against the Heat in late January, but I wonder how much of that was him just having his confidence slowly zapped.

How valuable is this Dallas pick actually going to be? — @B_Pain_III

Pretty. Assuming the Thunder get to use it. It’s top 20 protected, meaning if the Mavs have one of the 10 best records in the league (currently they’re ninth) for the Thunder to get to use it. And consider some of the players the Thunder have gotten in the 20s like Serge Ibaka, Perry Jones and … Serge Ibaka and Perry Jones.

do you know if the thunder have scouted or have interest in Kyle Anderson? — @R_Mindali

No clue. Currently, Draft Express has Anderson going 19th overall, so he certainly could be within range for the Thunder if they happen to land that Mavericks protected pick. I’ve seen a few brash comparisons of Anderson to having the same kind of game as Kevin Durant, but there’s a fine line between KD, and someone like Austin Daye. At this point, though, I’m a complete believer in the Thunder’s developmental system, so a guy with the skillset and tools of Anderson could be special in OKC.

most intriguing prospect for the Thunder to potentially draft? — @Seatown51

Andrew Wiggins. He could fall! But of the players that are actually reasonable, I’m going to say Rodney Hood. I could see him playing shooting guard alongside Westbrook and Durant. He might be a little too big for it — he’s really probably a small forward — but I’m intrigued.

all-time favorite thunder game? — @jeffreyc_h

Regular season: KD’s 54 against the Warriors. Postseason: Game 5 against the Spurs.

OKC’s defensive rating is 105.6 in the 11 games since Perkins’ injury, was 99.4 prior to that. Coincidence? — @gus_crawford

Some yes, some no. There really hasn’t been a game in which Perk was noticeably missed, as in an opposing big lit the Thunder up. In fact, the two games where you’d think he be missed most — Memphis and Houston — the Thunder played two of their better games and those two big men — Gasol and Howard — didn’t play all that well.

But I do think the team misses a little of the accountability that Perk brings. I think one aspect you see them miss Perk with is that they don’t quite trust Adams alone defending the post, so they’re collapsing, digging and doubling a little more, opening up more perimeter looks.

why isn’t Brooks giving the young guys more playing time now? Will that continue in the postseason? — @johnie4usc

Because they don’t have toughness, leadership, rings or toughness. Or toughness.

how’s Thabo’s and Perk’s recovery going? Estimated return dates? — @markdevv

By all accounts, good. Right on schedule to return sometime in early April. No setbacks.

what is the most favorable matchup for the thunder in all rounds of the playoffs? — @snopesinjin

Assuming you don’t mean there’s a miracle and the Pelicans don’t make a run to the Western Finals and the Cavs end up in the Finals, I’d say it’s Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Indiana. I think the Thunder would much prefer the Spurs in the West Finals than the Clippers.

which playoff team should the thunder fans be most concerned about? — @spence0016

The Heat.

In the West though, because I’m assuming that’s what you meant, I think it’s the Clippers. That’s a tough matchup for OKC.

are we conceding the top seed by sitting Westbrook on back-to-backs? — @Jimmy_Doxa

I don’t think “conceding” is necessarily the right word to use. I think they’re putting the top seed at risk in favor of trying to make sure Russell Westbrook is as healthy as possible for the postseason. But they absolutely are trying to still get it.

The media always asks “can KD win with Russ”, does anyone ever ask can KD and Russ win with Scott Brooks? — @GeeDavisPA

Honestly, I think more people ask that than if KD can win with Russ.

How should Thunder fans feel about Ibaka playing for Spain every summer? Positive (player development) or negative (injuries)? — @NdeBasket

They should feel good! More time spent playing basketball means a better basketball player. And you can’t worry about injuries. Durant plays pickup all summer long. You have to train and work. If something happens, them’s just the breaks.

first to happen: brooks getting replaced or westbrook/durant leaving before championship? — @mallenokc

I guess neither, since I basically predicted a Thunder title above.

Why Fisher over Lamb? Why Roberson over Lamb? — @TimeformUSfigs

Because Scott Brooks.

who’s in your final four and why? — @logieburleson

OU, OSU, Tulsa and American, because that’s an effing awesome name for a college.

(But seriously, I’ve got Florida, Arizona, Michigan and Michigan State. As always, I hate my bracket.)

Darnell thinks that Lambo might get several games to start like PJ3 and Roberson have gotten. Do you agree? — @Rach585

It’s a good theory. And I could see it happening. Though I don’t think Brooks is really taking turns with these guys as much as he’s trying to play matchups and keep things fluid, like he said he would. I would hope so, though. He deserves his chance.

Is Caron Butler playing too many minutes? Will he stay at around 30 MPG when Thabo returns? — @diddoff

Too many minutes is kind of relative. It seems like he’s hovering between 26-30, which is certainly more than I expected. I do think they’ll be reduced some when Thabo gets back, though. The laws of mathematics say so, at least.

is Jeremy Lamb’s decreased playing time due to a bad attitude in practices or because there are no minutes to be had? — @fxpinto

Absolutely not. From everything I’ve heard, Lamb’s had a great attitude — despite some sour postgame availability — and has continued to work and practice hard.

do you think KD retires as the all time leader in points? He would need to average 20 a game for 82 games till he is 39 to do so — @ZeeeKnows

Like you said, he’s going to need to play to close to 40 and abstain from any significant injuries to do it. But I assuming that happens, he’ll have around 35,000 by the time he’s 35 or 36. He’s going to have a real shot at it.

seeing as how perk and sef are out until the playoffs, how do you see the rotation changing when they return? — @RedEyeViews

I think we might see it trimmed to be more consistent at nine instead of 10 as the players close in. But I don’t think that means anyone’s going to be specifically cut from it, as much as I think Brooks is going to start handing out heavier minutes as he tries to sort who he trusts for the playoffs.

bigger concern: home court for playoffs or having Westbrook? — @zack7one8

Westbrook. No question.

is lamb legitimately out of the rotation? If there‚Äôs beef, do you think Presti trades him + pick to move up in draft? — @heathwblack

I wouldn’t say he’s completely out. And I don’t think he’s getting shopped or moved. The team really likes him still. Though I’m sure he’s frustrated. And remember: Thabo is an expiring contract this summer, so having quality 2-guards is going to be a priority, especially if Sefolosha isn’t retained.

What are the odds we trade Reggie this summer? — @KindaScottish

Very slim this summer. He’s eligible for an extension — like Harden was — but I don’t think the market is going to be near as demanding for him. He’s not anywhere near a max player. So I would think the Thunder would let him play out next season and judge his value then as he approaches restricted free agency.

How limited will Perkins minutes be when he gets back in the lineup? Will this be a tad worrying around playoffs? — @sjones636

Considering Perk routinely plays only between 12-18 minutes, I don’t think there’s much concern there.

is Butler in the plans for next season and forward or will lamb slide back into that role? — @BMarchbanks17

I don’t think he’s in the plans past this season. But then again, I fully assumed Derek Fisher wasn’t either.

What’s the point of signing D-league players and not letting them play? — @da_trufOU

Because then you’d be the 76ers. Seriously though, I think it’s about having more depth, more bodies in practice and having the ability to get a closer look at them. When you’ve got an open roster spot, might as well take advantage of it, because you never know. Two guys could roll and ankle and then you need someone. But it’s not realistic to think Mustafa Shakur is going to take minutes away from Reggie Jackson. He’s been trapped in the D-League the last four years for a reason.

Is Durant a better player, right now than prime Kobe was? — @Jus10MeetsWorld

Are you trying to get me killed?

(And I say yes. /ducks)

Can I sit by you at the next game? — @keri_young

No. That’s reserved for my Diet Dr. Pepper.

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