Monday Morning Mailbag
A great batch of questions in this week’s mailbag.
Thanks to those who asked questions. If you’d like to, feel free to join the discussion next week.
Let’s get right to it.
I’ve asked elsewhere, but no one has had an answer. The last couple of games Perkins is showing up on the bench of away games, but when it’s here at home he’s not anywhere to be seen. There’s gotta be a reason, but for the life of me can’t figure out why, almost like he is disrespecting the fans. Not sure how Nate is doing, but if he’s in town, he should be there too. He adds a lot of life to the bench. Others show up in suits, why not them? Thanks! – Barb C.
There are a few things in play here. Mostly, though, when they haven’t been on the bench, Perkins and Robinson have been in the back getting treatment on their respective injuries. Sitting on the bench during a game is not the best position for Robinson’s knee. Also, I was told that when Perkins first got to town he didn’t have suitable attire as set by the NBA to be on the bench. I wouldn’t consider it a big deal. You had no reason to notice yesterday, but Semih Erden did the exact same thing in Cleveland. He’s injured right now, and as I was walking out just before tip-off I saw him go into the weight room to get some rehab in. I didn’t see Antawn Jamison on the bench either. It’s fairly common throughout the league.
Hello Darnell. I am trying to understand how clinching a playoff spot works. I was looking over the Eastern Conference and I noticed that both Boston and Miami have clinched a playoff spot however Chicago the number 2 team had not. What determines how and when a team clinches? – Thanks Tiffany T.
It’s all a numbers game. A team clinches when none of the bottom seven teams in the conference can catch it even if it loses the remaining games on its schedule. That’s probably what you noticed a few days ago with Chicago versus Miami and Boston. Chicago might have had a better record than Miami, but the Bulls probably had played fewer games at that point and still had the possibility, however unlikely, of losing out and falling out of the postseason if another one of the bottom seven teams hypothetically won out. Until those scenarios no longer exist, teams don’t officially clinch.
Hi Darnell. I love your coverage of the team and the notes on Thunder Rumblings. But, I never ever see any quotes by Russell. Does he not speak to the media? I would think after Saturday night joining that select group of players he would have some words to say. Thanks for any insight, keep up the great work. – William B.
Russell isn’t the best interview. He doesn’t particularly care to talk to the media. He does it begrudgingly mostly. His answers are generally short and not so sweet. Sports journalists try to not print such responses from players and coaches, no matter who they are or what lever they are at. Also, Westbrook is typically the first player out of the locker room after games. And a good amount of the time it’s an either-or equation between talking to Kevin Durant or Westbrook. They almost always finish getting dressed and head for the exit at the same time. All that is why Westbrook is not quoted as much as some others. But it’s not something that is a problem or a knock on Westbrook’s personality. It’s just something you run into. My guess is every team has someone or something similar.
Hey Darnell. What do you think of B.J. Mullens? How is he progressing? I never get to see him play. I’m just curious. – Tyrone S.
You and me both, buddy. No one gets to see Mullens. That’s because he never gets to play. Since he’s played so little this year (and I hardly ever see anything of substance in practice), the only thing I can really judge his development on is the growth he showed last summer and the mostly successful spot minutes he’s seen this season. He’s had a few encouraging stretches this year. But the one that stands out to me the most was all the way back in November (they’ve been few and far between) at Indiana. His post defense on Roy Hibbert actually changed the face of that game. Performances like those suggest Mullens is coming along, but it’s clear he’s still got a long way to go.
I’m so glad someone else has noticed Westbrook’s selfish play. At times it borders on ridiculous. Can this be fixed and can Durant and Westbrook co-exist? Personally, I don’t think they can. – Trevor R.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say Russ and KD can’t co-exist. KD has actually surprised me with how patient he’s been with Westbrook’s penchant to be a ball hog at times. It’s as if Durant wants to be such a good teammate that it’s preventing him from rocking the boat. And so Westbrook keeps doing what he’s doing. But I’ve always said reeling in Westbrook can be detrimental to what makes him successful. He has to be aggressive to be effective. But there is no doubt he can learn to be better at picking his spots. That part can be fixed.
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