It’s that time again.
Our Monday morning mailbag is back.
Kendrick Perkins has yet to play a game for the Thunder after his trade from Boston. But questions about how his presence might impact the rotation are already prevalent. We also get a little history lesson on the dunk contest and some surprise talk of vuvuzelas.
Let’s get to it. And as always, feel free to join the discussion next week if you like.
Hey Darnell- With M. Daniels out indefinitely and P. Pierce getting an MRI for his foot injury today, rookie L. Harangody is the only thing resembling a SF left on the Celtics roster. Don’t the Cs NEED somebody like Jeff Green now? His salary is almost exact match with Perkins’, they have 2 O’Neals and Semih Erden under contract thru 2012, and Big Baby can play the 5 in need be. Am I crazy, or would this be a perfect trade for both squads? – Steve H.
Major props to you Steve. You sent this e-mail on Feb. 14. And you absolutely nailed it! Remind me to get you on speed dial next February.
Has a rookie ever won the dunk contest, and if so what year and who won it if you know? —- Jamie C.
Yes. Blake Griffin became the 11th rookie to win the dunk contest. Spud Webb won it as a rookie with Atlanta in 1986. Dee Brown won it as a rookie with the Celtics in 1991. Harold Miner won it as a rookie with Miami in 1993. Isaiah Rider won it as a rookie with Minnesota in 1994. Brent Barry won it as a rookie with the L.A. Clippers in 1996. Kobe Bryant won it as a rookie with the L.A. Lakers in 1997. Desmond Mason won it as a rookie with Seattle in 2001. Jason Richardson won it as a rookie with Golden State in 2002. Josh Smith won it as a rookie with Atlanta in 2005. Nate Robinson won it as a rookie with New York in 2006.
After the Boston trade went down there were some quotes from Rivers about how he and Ainge agonized over it. It makes me wonder how involved Brooks is with the FO decisions, especially since he had been playing Green so much, nearly to a fault. Insight? — Steven R.
I know that Brooks and Sam Presti talk about possible player acquisitions, whether they’re potential free agent pick-ups or trades, regularly. But at the end of the day, the Bull’s eye is on Presti for all roster moves. He’s the one who’s held accountable for player movement, so the final call is his. Brooks isn’t going to persuade or dissuade Presti from making a move if he feels it’s best for the team and its long term prospects.
I’m a Thunder season ticket holder and I know of the fun and love us fans have for this team, but a funny thing happened at the Sunday LA game. A fan/season ticket holder/friend was blowing a vuvuzela horn and was asked to stop. It wasn’t by the Thunder or arena staff it was a call that came from NY NBA offices that said that the noise interfered with the mics at the game. What happened to home court advantages? Where did TV mics win over what has been going on for years now at the OKC arena? Now if you noticed last night at the game the megaphone carrying fan of are thunder couldn’t even bring that in. It looked like anything that could be a noise maker was not allowed in. Players from both sides have never complained, some even laugh at it and have fun with it. It is what makes OKC’s fans some of the best in the league. I think this would be something fun to write about and find out what is going on. I know that the vuvuzela might have been a bit over the top, but how far is too far and what are the rules? — Ernest V.
I don’t know the official rules for noise-makers at NBA games. But if you’re telling me that the league office in New York stepped in and put the kibosh on vuvuzelas because they interfered with microphones, then that’s probably a pretty good indicator of what the rules are. But you’re right. It would be something interesting to look into, especially with the parade of creative characters at Thunder games. Frankly, I could go without more noise-makers. There are plenty of enough ear-shattering sounds at NBA arenas. But your story reminds me of Milwaukee’s special section of fans which have been named Squad 6. They create a good deal of commotion during games and, at times, have been known to have a few vuvuzelas. Since the Bucks rarely are on national television, I suppose they get a little bit of a pass. But Sacramento fans have become notorious for ringing cowbells. I don’t see much of a difference.
With the new additions, the Thunder’s bench is deep. Is there a danger in playing too many guys, and risking anyone getting in rhythm? It seems rare for playoff teams to have a 10-man rotation, much less 11. Cole has been playing well, but won’t he be reduced to a 6-foul body once Perkins is back? — Ryan H.
With Scott Brooks, I don’t think there will ever be a risk of playing too many guys. Brooks is pretty set in his ways with a nine-man rotation. If he uses a 10th man when Perkins gets healthy, that player, which will be Daequan Cook, Nazr Mohammed or Nate Robinson, will only see spot minutes. But to your point, Brooks sticks with a set rotation and a set number of minutes for most players to avoid hurting their rhythms. You don’t have to worry about Cole Aldrich rocking the boat once Perkins is healthy. Aldrich more than likely will go back to the end of the bench. A nice rotation of Westbrook/Maynor, Thabo/Harden, KD/Cook, Ibaka/Collison and Perkins/Mohammed will then be used. Cook and Mohammed will be the last two in that rotation, and, depending on the matchups, Brooks could choose to not use either in any given game.