In today’s paper, I wrote about Charles Barkley’s concerns about the Thunder.
Barkley and fellow TNT/NBA TV analysts Kenny Smith and Steve Smith shared their thoughts on a few other topics, as well as some additional Thunder-related issues that did not make the paper. Here they are.
Barkley on his most disappointing player this season: “I’m disappointed in Kris Humphries. I’m a Kris Humphries fan and I thought he was going to really play well this year. I’m a little disappointed in Dwight Howard also. I was expecting big things from him. Maybe he’s hurt. He says he’s hurt so I have to take his word for it. But those two guys I’d say have been very disappointing for me.”
Kenny Smith on his most disappointing team: “I think the Lakers are the most disappointing team. Here’s a team that has four guys that are going to be in the Hall of Fame and they have five guys, six guys who have been All-Stars on their team and they’re the ninth seed, 10th seed…That would be the biggest upset of not making the playoffs in the history of basketball if they don’t make the playoffs.”
Steve Smith on his most disappointing players: “For me, the backcourt of Brooklyn. I thought those two would play better. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, I thought together they would play better. Maybe Deron is hurt. But Joe Johnson and those guys are not clicking. But that backcourt is the most disappointing to me.”
Barkley on his most surprising player this season: “I would say the kid from Portland, the Rookie of the Year. Damian Lillard came out of nowhere and has been the best rookie by far. I would have to think about some of the veteran players. But for that kid to come out of Weber State and be Rookie of the Year I think totally surprised everybody. And not only is he the best rookie, he’s the best rookie by far.”
Kenny Smith on his most surprising player: “My best player this year, or most surprising, would be Tim Duncan. I thought the gas was out of the tank. I didn’t think there was anything left. And he’s got the Spurs now 39-11, being an integral part and putting up Tim Duncan-type numbers.”
Kenny Smith on the Lakers chances of making the playoffs: “Zero chance that they make the playoffs.”
Barkley on the Lakers chances of making the playoffs: “They had zero chance before those guys got hurt. Now it’s negative-17. They got no chance of making the playoffs.”
Barkley on the importance of the Thunder beating the Heat on Thursday: “I think it’s very important from a psychological standpoint. They need to beat them at some point.”
Barkley on the LeBron James-Kevin Durant matchup: “LeBron James can’t stop Kevin Durant. But he can slow him down.”
Barkley on Russell Westbrook’s potential impact against the Heat: “He’s going to play well. He’s going to be inconsistent because he takes terrible shots. I mean, he takes terrible shots. But he’s a terrific player.”
Kenny Smith on the Western Conference: “San Antonio and Oklahoma, to me, are the class of the Western Conference. They have experience. They have everything you need.”
Kenny Smith on the Thunder’s backup point guard spot: “I like (Reggie) Jackson and I like (Eric) Maynor at times. But right now, Maynor used to be able to let Russell Westbrook move to the 2. And neither one of those guys have really been able to play the point to that degree to let him play extended minutes at the 2. Even with them in the game, he still feels like he brings it up…If he had a guy like a Jarrett Jack that could come in the game for 15 minutes, 17 minutes, and say ‘You just exclusively be a 2-guard,’ then he would even play better and that team would be better.”
Steve Smith on whether the Thunder needs to make a trade: “You just don’t make trades to make trades. I think if you can come up with a backup point guard, a savvy backcourt veteran that can fit right in.”