Smart thoughts of the week: July 17-24

A new little weekly feature we’re going to try. Throughout the week some of you drop some brilliant or at least thoughtful comments and so this is a try at highlighting some of them. Disclaimer: It’s not that I necessarily agree with all of them, but they were interesting and well put.

Not the blue or the red one – the poison one. (Steve H): “Landing Gortat this summer would have required the sort of “Poison Pill” offer that Portland tried with Millsap/Utah- and as their example showed, even then it might not work. I do not think Gortat would be worth the $8-10million per it would have taken, but he would be a fantastic acquisition at his current price of $6+ per. I love the pairing of him and Krstic – our starting unit should be able to score in bunches without significant offense from the five spot- what it lacks is interior defense and rebounding.

Our second unit (Livingston, Sefolosha, Green and White) looks like a better defensive unit over-all that could really benefit from Krstic’s shooting ability. I still have my fingers crossed about landing Gortat this December – Mullens and a first rounder? Throw in a second round pick? Gortat certainly looks solid, but Orlando paying out over 1 million per average minute (after tax) on the floor seems plain crazy.”

Bringing home the prodigal CP3. (DSMok1): “By Wins Produced, [Chris Paul] is worth all of the Thunder’s roster put together. Seriously. In fact, he is the best player in the NBA by Wins Produced (above LeBron, Howard, and Wade). In fact, he is only the second player to go above 29 wins produced in a season (after KG from ‘03 to ‘05) this decade. If he were available … well, get him! He just carried an abysmal team to the playoffs (only Chandler and Posey were even above average!). Put Chris Paul and KD together, wait a couple of years, assemble a few pieces, and you have a title team. Seriously. Next year, you’d have a playoff team–even if you gave up Westbrook and Jeff Green. You would have the best tandem in the league, bar none. Of course, trading CP3 would be suicide for the Hornets. They better not do it!”

Build all you want, at some point this thing has to get built. (Dan): “At some point the Thunder are going to be done rebuilding and start building a title contender. We have Westbrook and Durant solidified as starters for a long time, if Green gets bigger and keeps improving then he is the third long-term starter, andHarden is playing great and seems like a guy that will fit perfectly with Westbrook and Durant.

Assuming Harden works out and Green turns into a real PF, we have enough pieces of the puzzle that its time to start thinking about what we need acquire to be a title contender in 2-3 years. Drafting more rookies that take a couple years is not the way to fill those holes, unless they are extremely talented, because we won’t have the minutes to give them to speed up their learning curve. I think this is the year that Presti decides what the missing pieces are and gets them via trade in the next 12 months, using our $13.3 mil expiring contracts and lottery picks.”

Why didn’t I think of that? (Vince): “Why is Wilkins automatically on the active roster? Can’t he take the Robert Swift spot if he don’t buy him out? I’d rather see him in the inactive spot along with (for example) Mullens and Vaden, so the latter two can play in Tulsa while Wilkins gets almost $4 million for sitting next to the ice bucket in a fancy suit. I’m also not sure about Atkins getting bought out.

It’s only an extra $2M or so if I recall to keep him for the year, and are you really ready to spend 82 games with Weaver — who’s not a natural point — and Livingston — who never played close to 82 games even before he destroyed his knee — responsible for ~15 minutes a game at the 1? I know Atkins was HORRENDOUS last season but I think it’s a roll of the dice to face a full season with only Livingston and Weaver behind Russ. I think your odds are pretty good Royce. I think you’ll see Mullens and Vaden in Tulsa, with Wilkins inactive. If we buyout Wilkins and/or Atkins, we might bring Mullens up for some run with the big boys.”

A+A = …  uh, A I guess. (Keith): “I actually think that, while Livingston has great talent, he and Westbrook don’t particularly complement each other. Westbrook is meant to be a strong defender and slasher, and hopefully a solid decision maker as time goes on. Livingston is a pass-first PG who doesn’t really shoot well from outside. As it is, they have overlapping skillsets. If Westbrook improves his passing and decision making as much as we hope, then Livingston’s contribution gives us nothing different at all. I think the plan is to grow Livingston’s value as a talented player, then use him in a trade for a more useful backup or a solid veteran. He’d be a great backup for a team like the Clippers or Wizards, teams with shoot first, rangy PGs who could use a more team oriented guy in spurts.”

I’m just glad they’re not following the Clipper model. (J.G.): “I would definitely agree that the Thunder fit the Spurs type of model, but so do the Trailblazers. In fact, since the beginning of this decade, almost every rebuilding effort has attempted to mimic the Spurs in some way, shape or form since “Three Stars and a team of role players” has kind of always been a championship model (see, Boston Celtics 2007-08, Los Angeles Lakers, 2008-09 and pretty much what everyone has been trying to do this off-season if they feel like they’re team is in the hunt: Orlando, Cleveland, Dallas, etc.)

What I find most interesting, and I hope it came across in the article, is that we really don’t have a good idea on what type of team the Thunder could become at this point because of all of the versatility and various style of players on the roster. Which is why this next season is so intriguing, plus, even if they’re not a mirror-image of this roster, the Trailblazers did set the bar on where you should be at in year three, so we can use the rough estimate of win-total (30-34) to gauge the overall progress of the franchise.”