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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The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry took questions from readers in today's OKC Thunder Power Lunch Chat. You can join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a recap of today's Q&A:

What do you think of the school of thought that the Thunder may amnesty Perkins in order to keep K-Mart next season?

This is blasphemy to some, I know. But based on what we've seen this year, Kendrick Perkins has had a bigger impact than Kevin Martin. No, it doesn't necessarily show up in the stat sheet. But Perk has played some great defensive games this year, while K-Mart's biggest scoring nights have come in blowouts. If it's between those two, I'd probably opt to keep Perk for his last two years and go forward with a big-time interior defender as opposed to a player who essentially has become a spot-up shooter.

Schematically, what do you see the Thunder changing to get over the Miami hump?

If the Thunder gets there ... I can see Brooks playing small more and trying to take advantage of his speed and athleticism a little more. I still think Brooks might also throw out that zone. I have a suspicion that the Thunder is working on it and trying to have it ready for a potential Finals rematch. I could be way wrong in that assumption, though.

Do you think it's a good idea to re-sign K-Mart? Or do you think the Thunder could land a better player in free agency or the draft?

Martin is a nice complementary piece and can have a big impact at times. But whether it's a good idea depends on how much he'll be asking for. His price can't surpass his worth. Not these days. There might be a cheaper alternative, such as Jeremy Lamb.

Martin at $8 million a year for three years: would you take him there?

Perhaps. But is what Kevin Martin brings at $8 million that much better than what Lamb can give you starting next year at $2 million?

Do you think Brooks is a great coach or just has great players that make him look that way?

I think he's great at some parts of coaching — motivating mostly and getting the most out of his players from an effort standpoint — and has great players that have bought in and believed in him. So it's been a good match.

If Scotty Brooks doesn't make it over the last hurdle soon, will we see someone else be brought in?

Doubtful. I'd be shocked if a coaching change is made this year even if the Thunder doesn't make the Finals. This team's record and history of success is too good to even talk about changing coaches right now.

Kobe has been showing up with his A-game pretty consistently over the past few games. What can the Thunder do to shut that down?

Kobe generally doesn't "go off" against the Thunder. Historically, when he does his team generally loses.

Were you at yesterday's game? Something was going on between Griffin and Ibaka long before the incident. Do you agree?

Didn't cover that game. But you could see on television that they were battling for most of the game. I doubt it's anything between them. Probably just two competitors going at it.

What has been the Thunder’s biggest improvement since last year’s playoff run?

Good question. I'd say Ibaka for the way he's developed on both ends.

What can OKC do to not have such a big drop off when the second unit comes in? Sub Durant and Westbrook at different times?

Brooks has done that, mostly with Durant and mostly all season. When the second unit plays good defense, it's fine. When it doesn't, it gets ugly. Also, I've said for weeks now that Reggie Jackson should get more freedom to break down the defense and create plays for himself and others. It would take a ton of pressure off K-Mart and his two-man game with Collison.

Will Ibaka get suspended for tomorrow's game?

It's possible. But the league hasn't announced anything yet.

What's the Thunder’s issue with blowing huge leads? Are they too comfortable in their capabilities of being a dominant team?

I'd say so. But I don't think the Thunder has blown as many huge leads as it seems. A few might just seem like a lot.

What changes in the rotation would you like to see against the Lakers and possibly the Knicks, assuming Ibaka will be suspended for at least one game?

I'd like to see Nick Collison start and play at least 30 minutes.

What player do you think Thunder will draft with the Raptor pick?

I would think getting a big man would be critical.

Thunder-Clippers: who would you take in a 7-game series?

Thunder in five, maybe six.

Do you think Durant will lead the league in scoring again?

I think so. Durant says it's not important to him. But if he gets close, strictly as a competitor I can't see Durant not wanting to win it.

Do you think the Thunder should re-sign Kevin Martin long-term? Or maybe just for the next year or two? Not at all?

Depends on his asking price. His production is starting to suggest his price might exceed his worth on this team.

Will K-Mart end up wanting the same as Harden and bolting?

Different situation. Harden had never been his team's franchise player. He had never gotten a contract extension, let alone max money. Martin has experienced most of those things. And losing. So there is incentive for K-Mart to want to stick around.

As Kobe has started playing better, who would the Thunder rather play: the Rockets or the Lakers?

Rockets, although the Thunder could get past both. Kobe Bryant, however, is still more likely to take over a series than James Harden. So based on that, the Thunder probably would prefer the Rockets.

Who do you think is the Thunder’s best possible matchup in the first round? Warriors, Jazz, Rockets, or Lakers?

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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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