Darnell Mayberry: OKC Thunder's starting five may need time to get their chemistry back

The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry took questions from readers in today's OKC Thunder Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports.
by Darnell Mayberry Modified: October 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm •  Published: October 17, 2012
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The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry took questions from readers in today's OKC Thunder Power Lunch Chat. You can join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a look at today's Q&A: 

Will the starting five be intact at the start of the season? What about the chemistry issue of them not having played together yet?

I had doubts whether they really were going to throw Kendrick Perkins out there Nov. 1 without practice full contact at all in the preseason. But Perk is starting to do more and more, and Brooks said holding him out of the contact drills is now like pulling teeth. So they should be fully healthy. But I do think it is going to take some time to get the chemistry back, especially with the second unit.

Did Orton pass Thabeet last night against the Bobcats?

This team doesn't make decisions like that in one night. It's easy for us as fans and media to evaluate players like that. But the best teams let things play out. Orton had one solid night, not great but solid. I doubt that's suddenly going to move him up the depth chart.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook can beat 28 teams in this league just alternating possessions. Do you think there will be more of an effort made to get other guys into the flow offensively so that late in the playoffs guys are used to getting shots?

That's been the goal for a while now. Sometimes it happens, other times it doesn't. But you saw in spurts last year (Game 4 against San Antonio) how helpful it can be. So we'll see if they've learned a thing or two and try to focus more on that throughout the year this season.

I assume the rotation will be Westbrook, Sefolosha, Durant, Ibaka, Perkins; Maynor, Harden, Cook, Collison, Aldrich. Any changes you anticipate?

Perry Jones might be ahead of Daequan Cook, or the two might split time depending on the game. But other than that, I'd say that's about right.

Can the Thunder afford four roster spots to Cs when three are hopeful at best?

Since the three backups would earn about $4 million combined, I say yes.

PJIII dropped in the draft because of concerns over his knee, but your reporting hasn't mentioned that he has been hobbled or shown signs of problems. Was/is the concern that he might be slowed this year? Or that it may become an issue in 2-3 years?

Down the line, sort of like concerns with DeJuan Blair or Brandon Roy when they were coming into the league.

PJ3 looked great last night! Do you see him getting much playing time?

I still don't see it. Remember, he has to play behind Durant, Ibaka and Collison. There just aren’t enough minutes to be had for him to get much time.

I agree with you about keeping the big guys. But if Liggins is playing as well as you say, why would you keep Hayward over him? What are the ramifications of cutting Hayward? Would the Thunder have to pay the one million he is owed this year anyway and it still counts against the tax?

The Thunder is not in the tax this year. So there wouldn't be a luxury tax penalty. But look, if it was my decision I'd keep Liggins over Lazar. But the budget has become a real situation that the team has to be mindful of. I just don't see them getting rid of Lazar to keep a guy who isn't likely going to play much, if at all, anyway in Liggins. They'd have to pay Hayward's buyout and pay Liggins. It probably would be more money than just paying Hayward this year.

So happy to see Maynor back on the court. Is there really a backup PG race or is that Brook's motivation?

I've long thought that it was more motivation than anything else. But Reggie has looked good.

It was Collison a couple of years ago and this year is Thabo. Can you explain to me how they show up to camp with an injury?

Offseason workouts.

Is Daequan Cook tradable? Especially if somebody like Rautins could knock down threes for far less money. Would Presti accept something as little as a second-round pick to remove Daequan's contract from the tax number?

In a heartbeat at this point.


by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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