Smart thoughts of the week: July 31 – Aug. 7

Throughout the week some of you drop some brilliant or at least somewhat 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 for the most part, well put.SMTOTW

Snarky? More like smarty. (Bang4ur$): “I may be a bit snarky, so don’t take it personally – but criticizing Presti for failing to flip Chandler for Okafor is like criticizing the weatherman for failing to predict lightning would strike your house. Besides, if OKC had Okafor we would all be feeling some buyers’ remorse for that contract.

Presti likes draft picks because of where the team is in the cycle of building (opposite that of the Spurs). We know he is taking the patient, slow approach, and right now, draft picks are great. They can be traded, sold, or used, and they bring in young guns for a tryout on a team that still has some time and (roster AND cap) space for development. Once OKC signs some big-bucks contracts, and has a clear idea of the core players, they will stay away from draft picks, too. San Antonio doesn’t hate draft picks (look at Blair), but they can only afford to be very selective. They lack the cap space, court time, and window of opportunity to bring in rookies, and pretty soon OKC will be in the same boat. But not yet.

Speaking of Blair, how many of you would flip Mullens for Blair in a heartbeat? I hate to say it, but “Mullet” Mullens already looks like he will never be the kind of post player OKC needs. But that’s hardly an original thought.”

Just because he’s a writer here doesn’t mean he can’t leave a smart comment. (Joe): Welcome back Kevin Ollie! Kevin came to Seattle in the trade that sent Gary Payton and Desmond Mason to Milwaukee for Ray Allen, Flip Murray and a pick with Ollie. Nate McMillan was the coach at the time and gave Ollie some good backup minutes since Brent Barry played a lot alongside Ray Ray.

Here’s the thing about Ollie: He doesn’t turn the ball over. How great is that? He turns the ball over less than half as much as Westbrook per 36 minutes. The Thunder truly need a sure-handed guy. He is good sized for the point and gives good effort defensively. He is definitely a 3rd point guard at this stage of his career, but McMillan loved him and wanted him back. He left for a guaranteed contract elsewhere. And like somebody said: veteran presence. I like Kevin, he won’t hurt you when he is in the game. He won’t lose a game for you. He’s a pass first guy. I guess this throws out my idea that Weaver was going to be our third PG.

Finding a spot and a reason for Darth Vaden. (Vince): I think Vaden will stick, if only because Presti paid to acquire him. So we have to figure Presti saw something in the last year or two that will most likely override 10 mediocre summer league games. What that is… dunno.

I don’t hate the Vaden acquisition, if only because Presti gets the benefit of the doubt for right now (particularly with lower picks). Budinger and Calathes both would have been more expensive (Budinger cost Houston cash and a future 2nd-round pick). I think we paid $500K for Vaden, no? I don’t think he’s killing us with taking one of the 15 spots this year and if he doesn’t show something in Tulsa or in practice he’ll be gone next year. Seems like a low-risk, high-reward kinda thing.

Sam Presti: The Kind-of-Okay Communicator. (Kyle): I couldn’t help but laugh thinking about Presti in common life situations with this “being the way he communicates.”

And Sam, do you take this woman to be your wife? Sam: “Well I think looking at the direction I’m going with my life I think this will be very beneficial moving forward. I’m very excited about the potential of this and think that it will pay off in the future.”

Did you hear? Sam had a baby … Sam was it a boy or a girl, and what did you name it?? Sam: “Well I just think we need to focus on the fact that we are bringing in another very valuable asset to the Presti family. Obviously we are all very excited about this and we have done our research and think that this person will be great moving forward. They really add something that we didn’t have before, but obviously we need to watch them perform a little bit to see how they completely mesh with the Presti family, but obviously we are very excited and think it was a great addition.”

Daddy, where do babies come from? Sam: “Well you see there is a lot of time andresearch required to fully understand this option. A man and a woman should do their homework, very thoroughly and not just simply to decide. They need to know when, where, why, how, and make sure that the decision will only be beneficial and they have properly weighed the outcomes. What sacrifices and gains will they be adding? Have they checked their salary cap to make sure they will be able to afford another member to the team? Have you ensured that you bond with the other half of the management team? When you hire that management you have them for life, and when you get this additional member, you have them for life, thus requiring all the extra time, research and effort to check all angles.”

Plotting a course for the first 10 games. (Jax Raging Bile Duct): I’m still not sure how good Houston is going to be. But optimistically, we could be .500 our first 10 games. That’s assuming wins 4 wins against the Kings and Clippers, and that one game against Houston. Then again, it’s usually tough to beat the same team twice in that short a timespan (especially since the Clippers get us both times on the back end of a back-to-back), so pessimistically, we could be 2-8.

I always have to give it up to a perfect Indiana Jones reference. (astrorob): Carmelo Anthony will almost certainly tear the hearts out of our chest Temple of Doom style anyway. Carmelo Anthony: “KALI-MA, KALI-MA!”

No Robert Swift, no Chucky Atkins, no Damien Wilkins, no Earl Watson. By default, this bench is much improved. (MartzMimic): Like everyone else, I’m excited about our starters, but I’m probably more hopeful about our bench. How many times did we see a second- or third-quarter lead evaporate when the bench rotate in?  When you have a kid like Weaver – solid rookie season with good D whose main problem was hesitating before shots – on the end of your bench instead of your second-string and even starting some games, I see that as a significant improvement.

As far as the speed of the game, I don’t think we’re better off by pushing the tempo because we’re young and athletic. I think we’re best when we use that speed and athleticism once we get in the halfcourt. If Harden truly gives us a perimeter threat, just think of how quickly Russ and KD can exploit an opening in the lane. Provided they can finish and cut down on the number of times they were stripped going to the rack, it’s going to be an exciting brand of basketball.