Monday, May 5, 2014

OKC's Weak Spots Get Exposed

Sometimes a blow-out early in a series can be the best thing to happen to a team. When you get drummed as badly as the Thunder did in Game 1, you can't have any illusions about what's going on with your roster. I'd hate to sound like a broken record, but Scott Brooks has been carrying a lot of liabilities in his rotation for a very long time. On Monday night, all those chickens came home to roost.

Thabo Sefolosha - Sefolosha is a guard who can't shoot 3's, can't put the ball on the floor and attack the rim and can't create shots for anyone else. He's one of the worst offensive SG's in the NBA. Even if he was Tony Allen on defense, which he isn't, there's no KD/Kobe Bryant type wing player on the Clippers that forces him to stay on the floor. Reggie Jackson can guard JJ Redick.

Kendrick Perkins - Perkins is the familiar punching bag for the Thunder. He does have some value in match-ups against low post scorers like Z-Bo and Gasol, but the Clippers don't have anyone he needs to guard and his offensive game speaks for itself. There was one play in the second half where he was 8 feet off Blake on a "rotation" and Blake still threw the ball right over his head for a lob to DeAndre.

Caron Butler - I've written about my man Tough Juice before. He doesn't offer much value besides spot-up shooting and he was 1-7 in Game 1. He had 5 personal fouls in 27 minutes, which tells you he's having trouble staying with the Clippers perimeter players on defense. Scott Brooks might want to ask himself why Butler is on his 4th team in 5 seasons.

Derek Fisher - I was tempted to call this post "No country for Derek Fisher" and I still might save that one for later in the series, so don't steal it. Whose he guarding on the Clippers - Paul, Reddick, Darren Collison or Jamal Crawford? Go to his basketball-reference page and take a look at how his stats started cratering at age 34-35 ... and he's 39 now. This is embarrassing for everyone involved.

I feel pretty confident that Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones 3 are better than those 4 players because most NBA players are - Sefolosha, Perkins, Butler and Fisher are all below average players and that's being generous. It's going to be hard to win an NBA championship with so many weak spots in your rotation. We'll see if Brooks will make any adjustments.

Here's my theory about why he sticks with veteran role players far beyond the point of reason. As a former journeyman himself, Brooks had to convince himself that the intangibles and basketball IQ he brought to the floor meant something to a team. So when he sees guys like Butler and Fish, he's really reliving his own career and getting back at all the coaches who benched him for the more talented younger players.

As Game 1 proved, there's no more time in OKC for their coach's self deception. He needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask himself whether he needs to be divvying out playing time based off of merit or off tenure and seniority. The beauty of the NBA playoffs is that if you are going to BS yourself, someone is eventually going to call you on it.

1 comment:

  1. Man,

    This is my first time coming to you' all's site and I have to tell you...You guys can write and you' all call like you see it...No sugar coating going on here and that is what I like...Keep up the good work...