Monday Morning Mailbag
Same ol’ computer issues from Sunday night.
So let’s get right to it.
Have you talked/discussed with any of the players on what their plans would be in case of a lockout? — Daniel R.
Daniel, Not really. Kevin Durant jokingly told a reporter during All-Star Weekend that he would take up painting. Earlier that morning, he had just painted a home for the first time as part of a community appearance. I’m sure you’ll see several player-related stories as the season comes to a close and the summer/(potential)lockout wears on about where they are and what they’re doing with their spare time.
I would like to ask you 2 questions about the Thunder players: Why is it that every time a Thunder player at the free throw line finishes his first (shot) Ibaka almost always gets the ball and “Sniffs or Kisses” the ball? Was that a habit by him? Why is it that at the beginning of the game, most of the teams’ players walk to the middle of the long media sport announcers & game officials table & ”Sweep” their shoes on the floor or on a piece of floor mat or something? Game rule? Nothing serious, just wanted to learn and find out why. — David N.
David, Serge recently told me that he does it solely for motivation. It’s a routine he uses to get himself pumped up. As for the players starting the game by coming to the scorer’s table, most wipe off their shoes on a little square sheet of sticky plastic that helps give them grip. It’s just a ritzier way to get traction before the game starts. In open gyms, guys have to spit on the floor and rub it dry with both feet to get that traction. But a lot of players are also applying rosin to their hands or going through their pre-game rituals. Durant, for example, unties and then ties both shoes and says a quick prayer at the scorer’s table before taking the court.
Is there a call-up time when the Tulsa season ends where they can add a few players to the Thunder roster from the successful Tulsa 66er team? There are a few guys that could maybe provide some depth on the bench: Elijah Milsap for one. — Mike F.
Mike, the only “call-up time” is the date the league sets for rosters to be finalized for postseason play. This year, that’s April 14 at 2 p.m. central time. So technically, the Thunder can sign one of its D-League players to a contract any time before then and have them with the team during the playoffs.
This team is set up for Harden to start next year. Could Cook (if re-signed) pick up that bench scoring off his spot-ups, or would we be better served looking for a wing this offseason? — Carey S.
Carey, my money is on Cook stepping into that role next season. It’d be a mistake in my opinion to not start Harden next year. He has earned the starting job with his improvement on both ends of the floor. But to think Cook will make up Harden’s bench scoring would be a mistake. Cook isn’t going to average 10 to 12 points off the bench, especially not as the third shooting guard. But I do think the Thunder would be better off letting him man that spot rather than going out and signing someone else who would probably be more expensive and may not have a clear cut role with ample minutes.
After watching teams all year crowd KD the whole game, much like Artest did during last year’s playoffs (and Wallace did Sunday), is the next logical step in his evolution to develop a Kobe/Jordan/Dirk-type perimeter post game, especially given the huge height advantage he has over nearly everyone he faces? It just seems like no one would be able to guard him, and it would also open up playmaking opportunities for his teamates. — Peter.
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