“No disrespect to Kendrick Perkins, but I think that they should play more small-ball,” Barkley said. “I totally agree with that. (Miami) doesn't have a center on the floor. (Perkins) is not scoring and there's no dominant big man for him to lock down. So if he's not going to dominate on the boards or score down low he's just ineffective.”
Although the Thunder currently owns the league's second best record, Kenny Smith said his biggest question is still how OKC will overcome the loss of Harden, who was traded to Houston in October. The Thunder, Smith said, might struggle not having a secondary playmaker to complement Kevin Durant.
“Will Westbrook be that guy? Because (Harden) was the playmaker,” Smith said. “That's going to be difficult, because the value of James Harden doesn't show in the regular season. It's only going to show in the playoffs. And he's a big-time scorer, a big-time player, as we see.”
Steve and Kenny agreed that the Thunder should look for help before the trading deadline passes in two weeks.
“I love the future of Eric Maynor if he's not hurt; even Reggie Jackson,” Steve Smith said. “But I don't think both of those guys are ready right now. So if you can make some kind of move that you don't give up your core and you can add a point guard, maybe a veteran point guard coming off the bench, that's the only move I'd be expecting.”
As we know, so much is riding on the eventual choices, big and small, that are made.
“For Oklahoma City,” said Kenny Smith, “anything less than getting back to the Finals is not going to be a successful season.”
Barkley, of course, got the last word.
“Nah,” he said, “they got to win it.”