TNT Crew Weighs In On The Thunder
While most of you who work traditional hours were nestled in bed last night, the TNT crew on Inside the NBA held a lively debate about the Thunder. Apparently, the preseason hype that surrounded this team is wearing off. That or the lofty expectations we heard and read about OKC coming into this season are now being replaced with more realistic projections.
Either way, two of the all-time greatest players, Charles Barkley and Chris Webber, on Thursday night stubbornly rejected the notion that the Thunder is one of the best four teams in the Western Conference. The matter stretched into a 4 1/2 minute debate during one segment after Kevin Durant responded to one of Barkley’s comments via Twitter.
If nothing else, the exchange between Barkley, Webber, Kenny Smith and host Ernie Johnson was entertaining. Here’s a link to the segment. And with the exception of a few impromptu jokes by the crew (such as Barkley facetiously asking if Oklahoma City had cable), here’s a transcription of the whole debate, with audio of the crew’s predictions after the jump.
CW: Let me just explain what I’m saying about them. Last year, they were the second best defensive team in the NBA without any shot blockers. This year, they got off to a slow start. I played for good, young teams before. We sipped the kool-aid. We come out, the veteran teams beat your butt like they did OKC early. I’m glad (Durant) is upset. You should be upset. But they haven’t played as well as I expected them to play earlier. They’re going to be good going down to the end. But we definitely believe in (Durant) and his teammates.
CB: First of all, (Durant) and Westbrook and Green, I love watching them. But defense and rebounding are they’re bugaboo. They’re not going to beat the big boys not playing any defense and not getting any rebounds…But they’re going to win some games because they’ve got three terrific players. But they’re big guys, they don’t take hard fouls. But they don’t play any defense and rebound. You can get through the regular season; but I told you, the three most important stats in basketball: No. 1, where you’re at defensively. You’ve got to rebound the ball and you can’t turn it over. And they play no defense and they don’t rebound the ball well.
KS: Well, I will say this in their defense. There are a lot of people who aren’t equipped to make the transition to be an elite team. They have the equipment. They have the assembly line to make the car to be a championship contending team. They have guys who can play defense. They have guys who can rebound. So yes. And, with all of this said, they’re one game from being a 3 seed. All of that said, they’re one game from being a 3 seed.
Barkley: But you know there’s a difference between a regular season team. Who’s their best big guy?
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