RECOUP DREAMS: OKC Will Never Get It Back

It’s been hard to watch.

Although I love Russell Westbrook’s one-man wrecking crew routine, this is just painful to see. After spending years being OKC’s company man and undisputed beating heart, the wrecker of rims has found himself on a island, the last castaway of the Thunder’s champion beating heyday. Although Russ is in straight conqueror mode, it’s hardly enough as the Detroit Pistons just gave them another L without his former running mate, Reggie Jackson, adding some personal heat. OKC had THREE current MVP candidates in their midst and they broke it up faster than Sam Bowie’s legs playing Dance Dance Revolution. How can this be the same organization that orchestrated the best drafting years since the 90s Bulls, be the same one that squandered such incredible talent? I don’t know what’s worse: basically stealing a strong franchise from the NW in favor of middle of nowhere OKC or making a mockery of the Sonic’s corpse via negligence and indifference.

First, the KD and Russell thing. By keeping Russ at the point, when he’s obviously a shooting guard/explosive slasher, they exposed his only weakness for years: turnovers. He still keeps turning the ball over at a crazy rate, no matter how effective he’s become as a facilitator. All this did was give everyone watching an excuse to undeservedly dump HARD on Westbrook, while never directing their ire onto Durant. No matter what their relationship was truly, there’s no way someone goes through that unscathed. The rim abuse alone is an obvious indicator that Russ is harboring some extreme resentment. Play him at the two and, for the love of Byron Scott, KEEP HIM THERE. He’s a shooter and a rim wrecking demoralizer, not a damn point guard.

Now let’s talk about Kevin. Here you have a once in a lifetime player, showing signs of possessing every offensive skill needed to thrive in the NBA (hinting at a stretch 4 before that was a thing), and what do you do? Deem him too skinny to play power forward and drop him at the 3, the ONE POSITION that minimizes him terribly any time he played with Russ at the point. You learned nothing from the development of Dirk Nowitzki and just tried to hide his frame on the wing, letting stronger small forwards bully him out of position again and again. He should have pulled their power forward off the block and just worked him to death instead. Shoot over, drive around or make interior passed to their dunk machine, Serge Ibaka. The weight would have (and did) come naturally. Instead, they didn’t use their true small forward, Jeff Green, and exposed his weaknesses by making him bang at the 4, eventually trading him for a pile of capstones named Kendrick Perkins. Green should have received the Kawhi Leonard process of letting a defensive forward develop slowly behind offensive juggernauts.

Look at Harden ball.  LOOK AT HARDEN BALL. Was it ever a question that he’s an oversized point guard?? One position change without any real offensive set and Houston is rocking other teams to sleep. How did they miss this at OKC? Harden would start his offense at the half court circle. Every. Damn. Time. It was like he was screaming “even I know what I should be doing”. Same with Ibaka. Why on earth force him to be a power forward when he’s clearly an undersized center? The Thunder knew what they drafted and commenced to turning him into the stretch 4 he is today. Ibaka. A damn stretch four. Put Serge at the 4, where he can hang with strong centers and run rings around other power forwards, start Harden at the point and let him work KD and Russ into a frenzy, and put Derek Fisher on the bench to anchor the second team.

Fish would only need to be backup point (not his natural position either) until they drafted cold killer Reggie Jackson. Russ would be first out and NOW they could move Harden to the 2, KD to the 3 and Green to the 4, creating a death lineup with Serge. Being a more consistent version of Rondo, Jackson would have feasted with those four to either kick it to or destroy the defense with his great midrange game. He could have easily been a perennial Six Man of the Year, with a stat sheet that would have made Ginóbili blush. Think Reggie would have left if he had that kind of opportunity and minutes?

What could have been. OKC can’t recover from this.

Do you think OKC Thunder killed their dynasty before it happened?
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