Either way — and expect something in between — it means nothing in the grand scheme. The Thunder season will be determined by the NBA Finals. If OKC repeats as West champ, it's a successful season. If OKC does not, it's a disappointing year.
And the Thunder winning the West will be determined by four more months of acclimation with Circle K and Eric Maynor and Hasheem Thabeet. Determined by how soon a Hardenless roster becomes the old effective but the new normal.
“I think we're kind of in the norm right now,” Westbrook said. “We're definitely still learning each other's game. Trying to get better. But we're at ease with each other.”
So Thunder-Rockets on a sleepy November night does not reach massive import. But it is grand theater.
“No, it's not another game,” Brooks deadpanned. “I want to beat the Rockets. They traded me in the second championship year (1995). Took me five years to get over Rudy Tomjanovich.”
Brooks was being funny. But he also was being instructive. Trades happen. Players, even stars, can get shipped. Wilt Chamberlain was dealt twice in his prime. Makes the Harden-Martin swap, much less this Harden-Martin showdown, a little less cataclysmic.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.