Down the line ... Jackson will be the backup point guard. Maynor's days in OKC are numbered.
Who on the roster now will play a larger role down the stretch & in the playoffs that isn't getting big minutes now?
Perry Jones has to be the leading candidate. Although Reggie Jackson, in my opinion, has the most potential of that group to have an impact. Look at what Eric Bledsoe is doing for the Clippers. I see Reggie Jackson as capable of having a similar all-around impact on a smaller scale. Unfortunately, the coaching staff apparently doesn't agree.
Do you think the Thunder are ready in this stage of the season for the red hot Clippers, or are they still searching and getting up to steam?
I think the Thunder comes out and plays with purpose tonight. OKC generally gets up for good teams. They know this is a big game and I suspect they'll play accordingly.
Do you think the James Harden trade could possibly affect KD's decision to resign in OKC when his contract is up? Or is that too far down the road? Sorry to bring up the trade again.
It's quite all right. I doubt the trade has any bearing on KD's feelings toward the franchise or the city. What I do question is how the agent, Rob Pelinka, might steer Durant. Many of Pelinka's clients have moved on to other markets. Eric Gordon, James Harden, O.J. Mayo. Andre Iguodala and Carlos Boozer among others. It seems his players have no loyalty to their original teams. But my question is it the players or the agent?
How has Brooks' adjustment to putting Durant in with the 2nd team helped the Thunder overall?
In general, it's boosted the second unit by giving the B Team the help of the league's best scorer. Specifically, it's taken pressure off Kevin Martin and allowed him to be more of a scoring threat. More specifically, it's allowed the Thunder to play far fewer minutes without either Durant or Westbrook on the floor. All of those things have had positive impacts thus far.
The Thunder is yet to have a quality win. After the blow out by Memphis, should fans be concerned if tonight's game is another one-sided loss?
After game No. 12? After a major shakeup? Hardly.
Do you think the starting five is the same at end of year as it is now barring injury? Do you think the recent tweaks in the rotations are sufficient or is more of a shake up necessary. I felt the changes were nice, but maybe not quite what they could be.
Going off Brooks' track record, yes, it'll remain the same. But I do love the new substitution pattern.
How do the individual matchups look for the game tonight?
I'd give Chris Paul the edge over Westbrook. Willie Green and Thabo Sefolosha should cancel each other out. Caron Butler is questionable, but Kevin Durant wins any matchup at small forward tonight. Ibaka and Blake Griffin should be a great battle. And Perk will have his hands full with DeAndre Jordan. As for the benches, it's not even close. The Clippers win in a landslide. Somebody is going to have to contend with Jamal Crawford and Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe is too athletic for Maynor to keep up with, and the only person that can stop Crawford is Crawford. If I'm Brooks, I'd start Sefolosha on Paul and put Westbrook on Green. Then I'd sub Sefolosha out earlier and bring him back to try to limit Crawford.
What are your keys to the game tonight?
Defense. Defense. Defense. To beat the Clippers, you have to stop them in the pick-and-roll, limit their transition points and keep them off the free throw line. If the Thunder can do two of those things well, OKC will win.
I know how competitive the Thunder is offensively, but how would you compare the Thunder to the rest of the league defensively? They seem to be struggling with their big men.
I haven't studied every other team defensively. But there aren't not many tandems I'd rather than Perk and Ibaka up front if we're talking about defense.
Do you think there is a legitimate shot at getting Marcus Smart? How high is he projected?
I honestly don't know anything about him yet. I know NBADraft.net recently said the Thunder would target him, and that site has him projected to go sixth. Draftexpress.com, meanwhile, doesn't even have Smart in its projected first round. But I'm not buying the Thunder going after another wing with a selection that high. Perkins will be coming off the books soon, Collison is getting up there in age and Thabeet and Orton are projects. I can't imagine the Thunder not going big with a top 10 or potentially top five pick.
What are the Clippers' keys to the game?
Same thing every team focuses on with the Thunder. Make OKC score in the half-court, try to take the ball out of Westbrook's hands and try to force KD to work for whatever he gets.
Who is the x-factor for the Thunder tonight?
I'll go with Thabo Sefolosha. He could help contain Chris Paul (if Brooks starts him on Paul), and he could help keep Crawford in check. If he gets a shot at both and successfully defends both, he'll be the player of the game if the Thunder wins.
What is the likelihood Reggie Jackson starts getting more second unit minutes? Maybe it's knee recovery, maybe it's no James Harden, but he doesn't look like his old self.
I'm assuming you're referring to Eric Maynor not looking like himself. If so, I would agree. In fact, I was about to write about this very topic in Monday's paper, but then we had some things come up — mainly Durant's first triple-double. It's a topic that I'll likely dive into early next week. But Brooks told me the other day that he's sticking with Maynor for now.
Where is the best seat in the Peake?
That's extremely subjective. I'm sure if you asked 10 people, you'd get 10 different answers. I think middle of the 200 section is pretty cool. You're high enough to see plays develop, but still close to the action. But honestly, there aren’t very many bad seats inside The Peake. Very good sight lines in that building.
Nicest player in the NBA?
To be fair, I can only go on my day-to-day experiences. Tyson Chandler stood out when I covered him.
Biggest jerk you’ve come across in the NBA?
J.R. Smith didn't like me much.
Do you think this team can get it done with K-Mart coming off the bench?
I do. But I'm also starting to think the Thunder needs to get him some kind of help.
Better game tonight: CP3 or Westbrook?
I just happened to have this info standing by. ... In 13 head-to-head games, Chris Paul owns a 9-4 record against Russell Westbrook. Paul has averaged 19.8 points, 10 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 3.4 steals on 53.6% shooting. Westbrook has averaged 17.8 points, 6.6 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 1.9 steals on 39.8% shooting. So that suggests, Paul will have the better game. I can't begin to make a prediction, though. I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the show.
Do you see the Thunder resigning K-Mart in the offseason if the money is right?
ONLY if the money is right ... and in this case, right might be well below his market value. It also depends who else is out there. I know the Thunder wants to develop Lamb, but Martin could still be a viable option while that development is in progress. But Martin might also have to accept fewer years on his deal in addition to less money.
Is there any reason to have Perk back next year?
Other than the Thunder needing him to potentially get past the Lakers, Memphis, Clippers or Spurs, nah, I can't think of any reason.