So if all the starters stick around, is the Thunder looking for cheaper bench options as draft picks instead of Martin?
It's not out of the question that Martin sticks around. But he'd have to take a big pay cut. One thing you have to remember, though, is the future remains bright with Reggie Jackson, Lamb and PJ3. Now Thabeet looks to be getting better and gaining confidence. So the bench is in good shape going forward.
How much does Reggie Jackson pay you to hype him up like you do? He looked pretty good last night. He and Maynor actually played well together. Any chance Reggie gets Thabo's 2nd team minutes? Thabo's defense hasn't been as good with the extra minutes (Pierce, Richardson and Turner all took it to him in the last few games).
I don't get paid anything by Jackson or any other player. I'm just analyzing the roster. Jackson is a better all-around threat, and has improved since last year. Coupled with Maynor's regression (and the fact that he's probably not going to be here next year) it seems natural to try to blend in Jackson now and let him develop more while you can.
Do you think OKC pulls away in its division? There doesn't seem to be any real strong challengers at the moment.
Yes. Amazingly, it's sort of already happening.
What happened to the defense over the weekend? Blip or legitimate concern?
Oh it's a concern. It hasn't been good this year. We've seen little to no improvement from last year, when it also wasn't very good.
Do you think that Maynor's trade value is at it lowest point right now?
Probably so. News travels fast in this league, and I have no doubt that other coaches and GMs know Maynor's struggling right now to come back from that injury.
Does the 2nd unit run offensive plays that fit their personnel, or are they running sets designed for the All-Stars on the 1st team? Does that have any bearing on bench production?
Early on, they were running a heavy dose of ball screens similar to what the bench did last year when Harden excelled in those situations. Now, you can see them sharing the ball and making everyone a threat.
You don't think that KD and Russ could keep Cousins in line? And Perk for one year (maybe) I think a Cousins extension and Perk contract would coexist for one year if Perk is amnestied. Cousins would excel on the Thunder team if he would follow the lead of the leaders on this team
This team has done a fantastic job of getting players to fall in line. Cousins would be the biggest challenge yet. Some guys just don't get it and aren't trying to get it. I'm close to putting Cousins in that category. But I haven't spent any time around him to know. Outside looking in, though, it looks like a long shot.
Did you ever get the sense that Harden didn’t want to be in OKC?
No. But I always had the sense that he wanted the max ... which basically meant he wasn't going to be here.
Why were you harping on the Thunder not passing the ball in your Nuggets? They have been sharing the ball very well this year, and I think they are getting better
Harping? That's a little strong. And not once did I say they are not passing the ball. In fact, I pointed out the 31 assists, and Westbrook's phenomenal passing, and his game-high 11 assists, and the second units ball movement. But the fact is, the one game (or even three) doesn't define a season. Yes, the ball movement has been better this year. But there are still too many times where the ball stays on one side of the floor while Russ or KD wait on ball screens.
What do you think of the change to KD's new distribution of minutes?
I like it. It's helped bring balance to the second unit and freed up Kevin Martin more.
That was a nifty little play the Thunder ran last night with Martin coming off a Westbrook screen/handoff.
I noted it last night in my nuggets. I've got to go back and review it, because it was a terrific play. Best part was the pick Westbrook flattened Taylor with.
Is it better to attend several games sitting in Loud City, or one sitting in a prime Lower Level seat?
For this team, I would say several upstairs. If it was a bad team, I'd say one downstairs against a good opponent.
I think that Lamb needs to go to Tulsa to get some burn. I think he will be a good player, he just needs to play somewhere, anywhere.
I don't think we're far away from seeing that.
Perkins should be getting more rebounds. Why is he such a poor rebounder?
He's boxing out for the most part. Durant also is swooping in and taking many on the defensive end. And he's not all that agile to just go and get them.
How would you rate Westbrook's play so far? I think he is doing a lot better this year and growing into the point guard position.
A week ago I said average. Today I'd say he's been great. That shows you how quickly things can change. It's been 15 games, and for about the first 12 Westbrook was average. So let's see how this storyline evolves.
Which team is the biggest roadblock to a Championship at this point?
The Clippers, followed by Memphis.
Is OKC likely to resign Martin?
Martin is driving up the price more and more with his play right now. So as of today, I'd say no. But we'll have to wait until the end of the year to see how things played out.
Was Orton officially called back up last night? I saw him and the Tulsa coach on the bench.
No. They just had a break in the schedule that allowed them to be here.
What is the next blockbuster trade in the NBA? Or will there be one?
Sounds like the Lakers are hellbent on moving Pau Gasol.
Are the Grizzlies getting the 1-seed?
It's possible. But there should be a race between them, OKC and San Antonio.
Why did PHX give Beasley 6 million a year? He would have been a good scorer to bring off the bench, but not at that price.
Strange as it might sound. That's another guy I'm thinking could be a fit on the Thunder for bench scoring. There's no way it happens. But I think he's a guy that could fall in line a little bit being around KD.
Do you think the Thunder can beat Miami if they reach the Finals?
If the Finals started today, no.
Thanks for joining me today. We'll do it again next week. Also, we're doing a Google Hangout on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at NewsOK.com/live. Join us.