ESPN the Magazine’s Ric Bucher told me during a Q&A that the Thunder is his new favorite team.
Here’s more from the chat I had with Bucher….
Elaborating on the Blake Griffin/Ricky Rubio debate: I’ve heard a lot of promising things about Blake. But for me it’s not even close, and I like Rubio. People saw him play in the Olympics and kind of went ga-ga. Well, he was playing on an All-Star team. Wherever he goes in the NBA, chances are he’s not going to be playing with that caliber of talent. And my question is, beased on what I’ve seen in Eurpoean games, can he be that same guy when people can focus on him? As good as he is, people didn’t focus on him in the Olympics. They weren’t game planning for him. And he got a lot of things done. But when he gets here and he goes to a lottery team, chances are people are going to game plan for him a lot more. And I’ll be interested in seeing if he can make that jump. I don’t have any questions about whether Blake can make that jump.
DM: Do you sense that Oklahoma City and the Thunder specifically is starting to develop its own identity nationally and distancing itself from the whole Seattle situation?
RB: Oh yeah. I do. I don’t really associate this team with the Seattle team. That was a different personality and by and large I still think of Seattle as Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. These guys weren’t there long enough to establish a connection with Seattle. I think this is where Sam (Presti) was wise in making the coaching change after the team had already gotten to Oklahoma City. Because Scotty’s just a totally different animal than P.J. So he brings in a flavor now where now you feel like, ‘OK, this is the Oklahoma City flavor’ as opposed to that transition flavor.
DM: Do you like what you’ve seen out of Scott Brooks so far as a coach?
RB: I really like the job he’s done. Obviously, I don’t cover the team on a daily basis. So the ins and outs of how he handles guys, his communication with the front office and how he handles the media and the public, I don’t have a feel for all of that. But I’m always kind of looking for who are the assistant coaches that I think could be head coach material. And I’ve long felt that Scotty was one of those guys.