OKC Thunder excels in national exposure

By John Rohde Published: May 16, 2013

Despite being located in the league's third-smallest market, the Thunder received a significant amount of exposure this season.

Kevin Durant leads all NBA players in career commercial appearances with 63 at last count, according to standings calculated by HoopsHype. Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers is second with 42 and Miami's LeBron James is third with 39.

In team rankings, OKC ranks third with 88 total commercials, trailing the Los Angeles Lakers with 125 and the Miami Heat with 91.

Russell Westbrook is second among Thunder players with 11 commercials, followed by Serge Ibaka (six), Nick Collison, Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha (two each), Kevin Martin and Reggie Jackson (one each).

The Thunder also got plenty of television exposure this season, making its most ever national appearances.

During the regular season, OKC went 16-8 in games televised on TNT (7-3), ESPN (7-2) and ABC (2-3) and went 5-6 in postseason games on TNT (2-5), ESPN (2-1) and ABC (1-0).

EASY TO SCOUT

Teams study game film of opponents whenever they face each other during the 82-game regular season.

Nationally televised games offer additional scouting, as does subscribing to the NBA TV package. The evaluation process becomes even more detailed during the playoffs with games against the same opponent night after night.

With all this exposure, Memphis forward Tayshaun Prince was well-acquainted with Durant's game even though Prince had played his entire career with the Detroit Pistons of the Eastern Conference before being traded to the Grizzlies in February.

“He (Durant) is an outstanding, amazing player,” said Memphis center Marc Gasol, who was named this season's NBA Defensive Player of the Year. “And I say that with all honesty, but he has some tendencies. You see some things that you can take away. We threw three different guys at him, made him work for everything.

“You get to see a lot of KD on TV. You get to see what he does and how good he does it.”

GOOD POINT(S)

Ibaka was born in the Republic of Congo and still struggles to understand nuances of the English language, but he fully understands how to blame the media.

When Ibaka was asked about how he struggled the first three games against Memphis, shooting 12 for 39 (.308) from the field and missing three dunks, he quickly became defensive about his, um, defense.

“That's the problem,” said Ibaka, who has led the league in total blocks for three straight seasons and was an All-Defensive first-team selection this season by NBA coaches. “People only say ‘bad game' because I didn't score. People say ‘bad game,' but you forget I was playing great defense against Zach (Randolph). He had 15 points and in the second game, all game, he had eight points. The fact people only see about points, then people say ‘bad game.' But if you ask my coaches, my teammates, it was not a bad game.



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