Berry Tramel: Thunder's Eric Maynor is rusty, but continues to improve

by Berry Tramel Published: December 10, 2012

The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel took questions from readers today in his Power Lunch Chat. Among the topics discussed: the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State basketball, the college football coaching carousel, Heisman Trophy winners and losers, MLB, NFL and more.

Take a look at today's recap and join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. 

ON THE OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER AND THE NBA:

Eric Maynor seems to be rounding back into form so it is a moot point now, but do you think it would have been wise to send him to Tulsa for a game or two and play 25-30 minutes a game to knock some rust off and get in rhythm in a situation with no pressure?

No. I don't see it. A guy like Maynor, who has been in the fire of really big games, doesn't get much out of playing minor league basketball. I agree that Maynor has been rusty, but he's starting to play a little better. He's got to play real games.

I think the Thunder is better than it was last year. I wonder if any knee-jerkers feel silly about overreacting to the Harden trade?

There might be some silliness going on. I know even Bill Simmons gave a small mea culpa. It wasn't hard to see that the Thunder would be better. Just the young guys improving is enough to make you a lot better.

Russell Westbrook seems to have improved even more. I can't believe some say that the Thunder should have kept Harden and traded Westbrook.

For whatever reason, Westbrook is a lightning rod. He's always going to get a lot of scrutiny. But if someone is caught unaware on Westbrook's improvement, that's on them. Westbrook's improvement annually has been dramatic.

Do you think the local perception of Russell Westbrook would be different (i.e. more forgiving) if he didn't follow CP3?

No. But it's a great question. OKC NBA fans might have seen Paul and thought, that's the way every point guard has to play. But watching other NBA point guards, it's clear there are a lot of ways to play NBA point guard. Of course, some guys don't pay attention.

Your thoughts on the Thunder's coaching job with Thabeet? He's no All-Star, but for a guy who has been largely a giant dud the Thunder is getting quality minutes out of him.

I agree. It's part cultural — put a guy in an environment in which he can prosper. It's also part recognition — don't ask a guy to do something he can't do. The Thunder is using Thabeet in ways that he will succeed.

Reggie Jackson is ready to be the backup point. I don't see Eric Maynor being in the long-term plans, especially making 4-5 million a year. I say trade him for a draft pick or something.

I don't see any evidence that Jackson is ready to be the backup. He wasn't ready last year. Maybe he is ready, but I haven't seen it. I would keep Maynor for the playoff push.

It is unfair to say that Reggie Jackson is not ready to be the Thunder’s backup point because he wasn't ready last year. Remember last year he was a rookie with no summer league or work outs with Thunder coaches, plus an abbreviated training camp. Reggie is far better this year.

He might be. But there's no evidence of it. You've got to show it. Jackson will get his chance. The chances that Westbrook and Maynor stay healthy are small.

What are your thoughts of Steven Jackson's comments about Serge Ibaka?

Oh, just a goofball being a goofball. Twitter has magnified player personalities. We know a lot more about these guys than ever before. Jackson is a loose cannon.

After Steven Jackson's tweet about Serge, in his forced apology he says he isn't a thug. Your thoughts?

Thug is as thug does. Now, I'm not saying Jackson's a thug. But if he tweet indicates he's a thug, he's a thug.

Liked your recent comparison of Joe Johnson and James Harden. I thought of that parallel last year, and your data really confirmed it (or perhaps it was Darnell's story).

Hey, hey. That was me. Don't be giving RFD credit for my stuff. But no, there are valuable lessons to learn.

RFD? Translation please

Mayberry RFD. Old TV reference.

The difference between James Harden and Russell Westbrook is that Harden is a front-runner. Harden will play well when everything is going well, but if there is adversity and things are tough, he can kind of go into a shell. With Westbrook, I don't think there is a shell in existence that Russ would fit into. The Thunder could be down and need a big shot and Russ could be on a 3-18 night, but it wouldn't matter, if Russ has a decent look, he is putting it up with confidence. Russ is more of a fighter, especially when things are tough

Russell Westbrook is a competitor extraordinaire. I'd go into a fight with that guy any day.

What’s up with sending a player to the D-League today and calling them back tomorrow?

Get him some game action, I suppose. You get three call-ups. I didn't know why you'd send him down for one game.

What's wrong with the Lakers?

Old and thin. Old, old, old. And not enough good players.

 

ON THE OKLAHOMA SOONERS:

I know that OU needs defensive tackles, but it is hard for me to get bent out of shape over not getting a commitment. Especially for DeMarcus Granger's brother. Something tells me this guy is probably not Lee Roy Selmon

One of the all-time great observations. Excellent point. OU needs defensive tackles, but it's not like OU has been void of DTs. The current crop of seniors are solid. The falloff at OU has been at linebacker and defensive end. Those guys aren't as good as the Sooners are used to.

Please rate Stoops' performance in his AT&T commercial.

You have to grade on the curve. It's possible Bob Stoops is the worst actor in America. I'd give Stoops a B, grading on the curve. Get rid of the curve, and Stoops gets a D.

So, next year OU finishes tied atop the Big 12 with a team they beat heads-up. Any chance we hear Bob Stoops utter the term "co-champions?"

Seems unlikely.

If Stoops ever wanted to head to the ponderosa, I hope that Joe Castiglione would take a long look at Patterson at TCU, or Rhodes. Do you think they would be fits?

I like them both. I like Art Briles even better.

I like Kevin Sumlin if Stoops leaves.

Another excellent candidate. He would be on the shortlist.

 

ON THE OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS:

Do you think the optimism over OSU's men's basketball is getting a little overblown? They look to have the best starting 5 under Ford, but the 18-game conference grind is really going to test their depth. Getting B Williams back will help. The Dec. 31 game at GIA against Gonzaga should tell them a lot going into conference.

I don't think so. I like this team. They're not going to win the NCAA, but they've got a good team that could go deep into March Madness.

Why is Gundy anxious to stay despite issues with administration? Facilities, budget, T. Boone's money, confident he can go far with this program?

Gundy loves OSU and Stillwater. He's helped turn it into a big-time program. Why would he want to leave?

Will Mike Gundy interview for the Texas Tech job?

No. Gundy has his standards.

 

ON THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL COACHING CAROUSEL:

Does Craig James have a shot as head coach at Texas Tech? Would the Pirate, Mike Leach, give him a recommendation?

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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