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Darnell Mayberry: Thunder has a better shot at beating the Heat in the Finals this year

The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry took questions on the Oklahoma City Thunder today in his Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chat's Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a recap of today's Q&A.
by Darnell Mayberry Modified: January 30, 2013 at 1:03 pm •  Published: January 30, 2013
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The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry took questions on the Oklahoma City Thunder today in his Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chat's Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a recap of today's Q&A:

Nix 11:02 a.m. Who is in the finals at the end of the year? If Thunder, do we have a better shot than last year?
Darnell Mayberry 11:03 a.m. Right now, I still say Thunder-Heat. And, yes, I think OKC has a better shot. But having no clue what to do with LeBron is troublesome in my eyes.
Nix 11:03 a.m. The Heat seem to just be coasting through the regular season. Will they really be able to turn it on in the playoffs again?
Darnell Mayberry 11:03 a.m. I think so.
Nix 11:03 a.m. Who do you think deserves the MVP? Who do you think will win the MVP?
Darnell Mayberry 11:04 a.m. It seems it's a two-man race again between Durant and LeBron. I couldn't honestly vote for one without feeling guilty about not voting for the other.
Nix 11:04 a.m. Will the Lakers turn it around and make the 8-seed? If so, should that concern the 1-seed?
Darnell Mayberry 11:04 a.m. Lesson here, folks. Submit your questions early!
Darnell Mayberry 11:06 a.m. I think they're figuring some things out. So I say yes. But I'm not ready to say the 1-seed should be concerned.
Guest 11:06 a.m. do you think Durant and Ibaka barking at each other during the game is a chemistry problem?
Darnell Mayberry 11:06 a.m. Nah. Just miscommunication.
Ashley 11:06 a.m. Thoughts about trading Maynor?
Darnell Mayberry 11:07 a.m. I don't think it'll happen. There's something to be said for having insurance and taking three capable point guards into the playoffs. I use the word capable loosely. But by April, both Maynor and Jackson could be better than they are today.
Ashley 11:07 a.m. How do you feel about our loss to the Lakers?
Darnell Mayberry 11:08 a.m. It happens. Thunder played pretty poorly. Lakers played well.
Kendrick 11:08 a.m. Know of any nail salons?
Darnell Mayberry 11:08 a.m. I'd tell you, but then I'd feel like I have to duck from a Gatorade bottle coming at my head.
tom 11:08 a.m. It seems like Ibaka hasn't been getting many shots the last few games. Do you think he is still not 100%, are his teammates not looking for him, or are defenses starting to focus on him more?
Darnell Mayberry 11:09 a.m. Durant and Westbrook have carried more of the load.
Ashley 11:09 a.m. Kendrick Perkins : Bottle Throwing Champion?
Darnell Mayberry 11:09 a.m. No argument there. I just wonder if he was in the car by the time he threw it. If so, the velocity he got on that thing was impressive.
Ashley 11:10 a.m. It seems like KD and Ibaka are always vocal with each other on the court (yelling, talking, etc.) Are they criticizing each other?
Darnell Mayberry 11:10 a.m. Uh, yeah.
Frank 11:10 a.m. I am sick of hearing about the soap opera called the Lakers, sheeesh
Darnell Mayberry 11:10 a.m. I'm not. I love it. That's exactly what it is, a soap opera, only by grown men, for grown men.
Frank 11:10 a.m. Is anyone else sick of hearing about the daily drama of the Lakers?
Darnell Mayberry 11:11 a.m. You have my answer...anybody else want to chime in?
Michael 11:11 a.m. There's a rumor that Calderon might be available in a trade. Would he be a fit as a backup point guard for this season or are you comfortable with Jackson?
Darnell Mayberry 11:12 a.m. He'd be a great fit. Unfortunately, not financially. He makes 10+ million this season. Acquiring his contract would either force you to give up K-Mart, or put the team over the tax. Neither of which the Thunder can or will do this season.
Kendrick 11:12 a.m. Myself, Maynor, PJ3, Dallas Pick for Garnett?
Darnell Mayberry 11:12 a.m. Can't see that happening.
Guest 11:12 a.m. I Think Thunder Should Draft Plublee @ duke with out Toronto pick what you think?
Darnell Mayberry 11:13 a.m. I like Plumlee's intangibles. But I wouldn't expect him to be a star. More of a complementary piece.
Frank 11:13 a.m. I think it would be a problem if they weren't talking on the court (Durant and Ibaka)
Darnell Mayberry 11:13 a.m. Agreed.
XLThunderFan 11:13 a.m. It seems to me that ISO basketball in the 4th is becoming a pattern and we are getting away from team basketball in the second half of games lately. When KD and Westbrook are hitting shots, great, but don't you think Brooks needs to address this and make sure everyone stays involved the whole game?
Darnell Mayberry 11:13 a.m. Becoming?
Kendrick 11:14 a.m. Plumee reminds my of Psycho T
Darnell Mayberry 11:14 a.m. Only more skilled/versatile.
Kendrick 11:15 a.m. Throw us a trade rumor or a player you would like to see
Darnell Mayberry 11:19 a.m. That's hard for me to do since I have an understanding of what the team is up against. Most seem to be unaware. First and foremost, just about any trade the Thunder makes would almost certainly put the team over the tax threshold. That can't happen this year because when the repeater tax kicks in this year would then be counted in that window. That would bring would could be crippling penalties in the future. Secondly, any trade that the Thunder has available that is worth making would certainly require giving up assets that the team doesn't want to relinquish: PJ3, Lamb, Jackson, the Toronto pick, etc. I've written this before (in the Anderson Varejao blog post), but that is the Thunder's future. A pretty solid one at that. So the team is not willing to part with key long term pieces for marginal improvement in the very short term.
Kendrick 11:20 a.m. What wasy my tweet to you about the other day
Darnell Mayberry 11:20 a.m. I'm just as confused as you.
tom 11:20 a.m. Is the KD/Russ 4th quarter iso-show good enough to beat Miami 4 times in the Finals?
Darnell Mayberry 11:20 a.m. Nope. Not at all. Miami is great at guarding that junk.
XLThunderFan 11:21 a.m. From the sidelines, do you ever see Brooks yelling at, or getting onto Westbrook, for not passing or playing out of control?
Darnell Mayberry 11:21 a.m. No.
Guest 11:21 a.m. Will the Baylor point guard be a good look for thunder 2ND round in draft?
Darnell Mayberry 11:21 a.m. I doubt he's better than Reggie Jackson at anything besides shooting. So no.
dave 11:21 a.m. Its obvious perry jones is not getting any minutes, but why hasn't he so we can atleast see what he can do. I mean, he hasn't even get a chance to fail, he's just their on the bench.
Darnell Mayberry 11:22 a.m. Because there are great players in front of him, namely Kevin Durant, but also Serge Ibaka. Which of those guys would you want to sit to play him?
GP 11:22 a.m. Do you realistically see any business being done by the Thunder before the trade deadline?
Darnell Mayberry 11:23 a.m. No. And my reasoning is written above.
Frank 11:23 a.m. I'd like to see us get Martin more involved in the final two minutes. The statement Durant made "the plan was to get me the ball on the outside" duh! that's always the plan it seems to me
Darnell Mayberry 11:23 a.m. Haha. I'm sure Kevin Martin would agree with you. He'd probably like to be more involved down the stretch, too.
Skeptic 11:23 a.m. Do you think Lamb cracks the rotation this year and maybe the starting lineup by next year? It seems Brooks is sometimes too stubborn with his ways, like wasting Hardens talents on the bench for 3 years
Darnell Mayberry 11:24 a.m. I doubt he cracks either in the timeframe you listed.
Michael 11:24 a.m. Whatever happened to KD's renewed focus on rebounding that we were hearing so much about at the beginning of the season? His rebounds per game are actually under last year's rate.
Darnell Mayberry 11:25 a.m. I think he renewed his focus on scoring, which seems to be what everybody wanted from him at the beginning of the year.
Guest 11:25 a.m. Who do you see thunder drafting with lotto pick?
Darnell Mayberry 11:25 a.m. Much too early to say. I sort of think they go big, though. Take your pick.
Nick 11:26 a.m. I have heard the Thunder try to model themself like the Spurs, However we do not develop young players like the Spurs. Why trade for Lamb and not give him a shot?
Darnell Mayberry 11:28 a.m. Look at the development that's taken place. Durant, a lot of people thought would be a great scorer but not this good as an all-around player. Westbrook, most thought was a reach and he's blossomed into an All-Star. Harden, ditto. Ibaka, the same thing. We never got to see Aldrich's potential. Reggie Jackson is developing before your eyes, but people seem to refuse to want to see it. Lamb, PJ3 and Thabeet are all doing the same...Just because a player is not getting major minutes doesn't mean he's not developing.
davidliulian 11:28 a.m. Is it possible for the Thunder to trade Maynor for a swing player before the trade deadline?
Darnell Mayberry 11:28 a.m. It's possible. But I'd say it's not likely.
tom 11:28 a.m. Is Lamb doing enough with the 66ers to make him a viable option off the bench to replace Martin next season?
Darnell Mayberry 11:28 a.m. The Thunder might not have a choice if Martin's asking price is too high.
Guest 11:29 a.m. Will Orton get a shot at playing this season? He's working hard at dleague
Darnell Mayberry 11:29 a.m. I doubt it.
Guest 11:29 a.m. When will the thunder players finally get it? They won't beat Miami without ball movement, finding the open shooter, and not settling for hero ball. Miami, San Antonio, Clippers, and now the Lakers seem to understand that concept....it's been 2 years and Westbrook/Durant still don't seem to get it it seems
Darnell Mayberry 11:30 a.m. I don't know when it'll become natural for them. But when they do it occasionally throughout the season, it's a thing of beauty.
Frank 11:30 a.m. I've seen big improvement in Thabeet from when he first got here. I think he has worked out to be a good fit
Darnell Mayberry 11:30 a.m. His production has tailed off a ton. That tells me the next thing he needs to get down is consistency.
Frank 11:31 a.m. It's been nice to see Nick get more minutes this year. What a work horse!
Darnell Mayberry 11:31 a.m. He has?
Michael 11:31 a.m. Do you think Popovich based on last year's result will put more effort down the stretch in getting the #1 seed?
Darnell Mayberry 11:31 a.m. He had it last year and lost. Maybe you've forgot.
davidliulian 11:31 a.m. How much do you think the board would like to spend on the luxury tax? Will Sam be restricted by the finance or just go for the most suitable player? Cause 2012 summer Thunder did not add one experienced veteran from free agent.
Darnell Mayberry 11:33 a.m. Clearly, they were willing to pay it by offering Harden a deal a few million short of the max. So the commitment is there. But Harden was a special player. Not sure they see Martin/anybody else the same way given the skill set Harden brought to this team, the fact that he was drafted here and his age. But this team will go into the tax. I'd be shocked if they amnesty Perk just to try to avoid it or lower the bill.
Guest 11:33 a.m. I think lamb should play liggins mins for a few games . He could help outreach out.
Darnell Mayberry 11:33 a.m. When Lamb starts hustling like Liggins, come talk to me.
Guest 11:34 a.m. I get the feeling lambs rookie contract will run out in 3-4 years (however long they are) while he's primarily a 2nd team player and then hit it big with another team ala James Harden....do you see this scenario playing out?
Darnell Mayberry 11:35 a.m. It could. But that's a long way off...Rookie deals are guaranteed for the first two years and the team has an option to the renew the contract for season's three and four. So Lamb isn't going anywhere for a long time.
harry man 11:35 a.m. who is darnell picking to win the super bowl..hope not the ravens like your boss..
Darnell Mayberry 11:35 a.m. I said on Twitter last night that I realized I couldn't care less. Hopefully it's not a boring game.
XLThunderFan 11:35 a.m. Why is it that the Thunder seem to always send Lamb and Orton down to D-league when they go on road trips? Seems like a grueling road trip like they had, they might want more bodies. Also, I think Orton deserves a shot at some minutes and take some from Thabeet.
Darnell Mayberry 11:36 a.m. It's mostly a matter of the 66ers' schedule. The Thunder will send the down when there is an opportunity to play a handful of games without missing much time with OKC.
dave 11:36 a.m. Durant and ibaka are starters, am talking about bench minutes, thabeet for gods sake is getting more minutes than pj. And if he have so much great players ahead of him that he cant get minutes, then why not trade him?
Darnell Mayberry 11:37 a.m. Maybe there's a reason for that. PJ3 hasn't done much that's impressed me when he's gotten in the game since the preseason quite honestly.
davidliulian 11:37 a.m. Will Thunder retire Nick's jersey after his retirement? I believe yes!
Darnell Mayberry 11:39 a.m. That's a great question. But I don't think so. He's been a great "employee" for years and might just play his entire career with the same franchise. But he's been a role player, and unless he contributes to multiple titles I just can't see it.
Guest 11:39 a.m. Will terrance Williams be good pick up off free agency for thunder?
Darnell Mayberry 11:40 a.m. I've always liked him. But he might be a few nuggets short of a Happy Meal if you know what I mean. Not sure he's a great fit.
harry man 11:40 a.m. i saw that perkins wife was in a nail pushing contest?
Darnell Mayberry 11:40 a.m. Pushing contest is a little much. But there was an altercation.
harry man 11:40 a.m. o here is my prediction on thursday game. MEMPHIS 110, Thunder 107 (OT)
Darnell Mayberry 11:41 a.m. And there's our weekly prediction from Harry Man. Good news, Thunder heads. He picked against your team again.
harry man 11:41 a.m. but will you watch the game. super bowl
Darnell Mayberry 11:41 a.m. Yes.
davidliulian 11:41 a.m. I think Lamb is the potential replacement for KM and Liggins is the potential replacement for Thabo whose contract will end next summer. So before all the things have done, Thunder may contain these two players with low budget, do you think so?
Darnell Mayberry 11:42 a.m. Why replace Thabo, or even talk about it at this point? He's still very young. He likes it here. He's getting better. And he'll probably sacrifice a little coin to stick around.
Guest 11:42 a.m. Would Iverson be good for thunder?
Darnell Mayberry 11:43 a.m. As much as I used to love Iverson, I must say no. He's washed up. There was a time when a guy like that would have been a great spark plug off the bench. But that day is long gone.
Guest 11:43 a.m. Do the thunder have any cap room? Could they convince a released veteran point guard to sign for the cap room available?
Darnell Mayberry 11:44 a.m. No. Only exceptions next summer. Mid-level exception and such.
harry man 11:44 a.m. why? will perkins wife be suspended from the nail parlor
Darnell Mayberry 11:44 a.m. I have no idea what it was over. The news report said she was unhappy over her nail polish or manicure.
dave 11:44 a.m. Becauseb in the preseason he got minutes, and now he's not. I think we both know that perry jones is gona get alot of minutes after the the trade deadline, we both also know that he's gona be a part of the playoff rotation especially down the stretch with him KD and ibaka in the frontline.
Darnell Mayberry 11:45 a.m. We do? I doubt that happens. And there's no comparing production in the preseason to the regular season.
Guest 11:45 a.m. Will thunder change alt Jersey next season there always losing in the ones now.
Darnell Mayberry 11:46 a.m. They're 4-3 with the alternates. That's not a losing record.
Nix 11:46 a.m. Would Iverson be good for the Thunder? HAHA...I can't imagine what kind of other questions you get...
Darnell Mayberry 11:47 a.m. You never know. People are freaking out about the bench.
Darnell Mayberry 11:47 a.m. Thanks for joining us today. We'll do a Google+ Hangout tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. Join us then for more Thunder talk. Have a great day.

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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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