Darnell Mayberry: Kendrick Perkins a bigger impact than Kevin Martin

The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry took questions from readers in today's OKC Thunder Power Lunch Chat. Here's a recap of the Q&A.
Oklahoman Modified: March 4, 2013 at 1:26 pm •  Published: March 4, 2013
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In order from best to worse, I'd say Houston, Utah, Lakers, Golden State.

How worried are you about Martin in the postseason? He really seems to be ineffective lately doing much else other than spotting up from behind the arc, and even that sometimes …

I'm not worried personally. But it's going to be one of the biggest keys to the Thunder's success or reasons for the team's failure.

Will Brewer be in the rotation in the playoffs?

If it's a set rotation, it doesn't appear that he will be. If it's a situational rotation (which Brooks rarely uses), he could find some playing time. Why is Brewer not playing more? I don't know the answer to that. I could ask Scott Brooks right now and all he'd say is "you can't play everybody."

Do you take anything away from Thabeet's defensive showing against the Clippers’ bigs yesterday?

Not really. Much of the same that we've seen most of the year. He was solid in spot minutes. That much we know he can do now.

Lamb’s stats in the D-League have been showing better then Liggins. When do you expect both of them to get more Thunder time? Next season?

Lamb perhaps. Not so sure about Liggins.

Assuming Noel doesn't fall out of the top 3, if Zeller is still available when the Thunder picks, would be he the best fit for them in the draft?

Zeller's game screams "glue guy" to me. He's probably at best a better version of Nick Collison. More athletic, of course. But I just don't see what impact he has beyond "the little things." With that said, if he's there at seven or eight you probably have to take him.

I love that Fisher is back. Not just for bench minutes, but for experience. I feel like his presence alone is influential.

I agree. But if he's going to be on the court he needs to produce just like any other player is expected to do.

Fisher played just the right amount of minutes last night. Will this continue? Should it in your opinion?

If he's not knocking down shots, yes.

Seems that lately Thabeet is growing into his roll and doing a good job of blocking at the rim. Good matchups or is it clicking?

He's getting better. I think you can see his growth.

Western Conference Finals, Game 5 against the Spurs, series tied 2-2. Westbrook is in foul trouble or needs a long breather. When Reggie comes in do you think “uh oh,” or “He can hold down the fort for 5 minutes?”

It's funny. Jackson came in for Westbrook with about 8:55 left in the fourth quarter yesterday. (I hated the substitution.) But Jackson missed a 3 and turned it over dribbling in traffic. But it felt like the former ..."uh oh." Yet when Westbrook came back in, he turned it over rather quickly as well. But because he's Russell Westbrook and proven it didn't feel as bad. But the fact is it was still a turnover at a pivotal time.

With all that said, I think Jackson is growing by the day and gaining more confidence. Will there be rough patches? Of course. Same with Westbrook. But if the coaches prepare him for those moments now, which should be the goal, then he should be fine when it matters.

Who do you see as the Thunder’s toughest competitor in the West? Would it be Denver, or someone who always plays them tough like Memphis?

San Antonio, with Memphis being second and the Clippers being a close, close third.

Do you think that Thunder should make a play for a center like Cody Zeller or Alex Len?

Haven't seen Len play. I like Zeller's IQ and intangibles. And he seems to be the type of player Presti loves.

How good is Jeremy Lamb?

He can shoot the lights out. Whether he knows what else is going on offense or how to play defense remains a question.

How long until KD gets a ring with OKC?

Roughly 415 days.

What’s the Thunder’s record in the alternate uniforms?

I've lost count. But it's around .500.

Westbrook had the best month of his career in February and has continued to add to that in March. Coincidentally the "meltdown" happened on 1/31. Do you think embarrassment was the maturing lesson he needed to get to the next level?

I wonder if Wolverine gets embarrassed ... But it does appear that was a turning point.

Do you attribute the claims of “not being able to finish games” to the Thunder’s stars having sat so many 4th quarters? Maybe less night-in, night-out pressure situations as our opponents.

That could have something to do with it. But they were so good last year at closing out games, and James Harden didn't "close" nearly as much as most seem to think he did. So that's not the issue. In those situations, Harden was reduced to what we've seen K-Mart essentially become. That's a spot-up shooter. From that standpoint, the personnel is similar. Again, I just think a few blown leads have seemed like a lot. It hasn't been that bad.

Do you see Boston making the playoffs? And if so, do you think they can legitimately do any damage without Rondo?

Yes. But what they do when they get there…

Do you see OKC overtaking the Spurs for the no. 1 seed?

Nah. San Antonio has a favorable schedule the rest of the way that's loaded with home games, and the Spurs likely will rally around Parker's injury and keep on trucking in his absence.

What area of the Thunder’s game do you think needs to improve the most before the Playoffs?

Defense.

Does OKC get to 60 wins? They would need to go 17-6 to get there. Thoughts?

Highly likely. There are some very winnable games remaining on the schedule. Think about this. The Thunder hasn't even played Milwaukee or Orlando yet and still has a game against Charlotte. That could be five wins right there.

In your opinion, why is Brooks so stubborn about playing Perkins so much against Miami?

In my opinion, I think Brooks honestly feels like Perk gives the Thunder the best chance to win.

If you were picking and you had your choice of Len, Plummlee, Zeller, or some of the other bigs in the draft, who would you pick?

Probably Zeller. But, again, I haven't seen Len this year.

Would Eddy Curry be good for that tough-guy role like Perk & can't he score?

Eddy Curry is terrible.

What kind of food do the players get before the game?

Sometimes it's the same thing you're getting from the concourse. Chicken fingers and such. Other times, it's PB&J. At times, it's fruits and salads, or pasta.

Are you traveling with the Thunder this week?

Nope. Not going to New York and Charlotte. I'll pick it up in San Antonio.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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