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John Rohde: Chris Paul 'best out there' among NBA's point guards

The Oklahoman's John Rohde took questions from readers in his NBA/OKC Thunder Power Lunch Chat today. Here's a recap of the Q&A.
Oklahoman Modified: March 11, 2013 at 11:46 am •  Published: March 11, 2013

Did you see the interview of Perkins and him telling that Durant came to him just to talk about basketball? What was that about, if you would analyze it?

How to be a leader would be No. 1, I'd think. Durant, as we all know, is wise beyond his years. He's 24 going on 34. He studies the game, knows the game, knows its history. It's amazing how mature KD is, even in how he answers questions. He shoulders the blame, even when it's not his fault. He shares the glory. And this might surprise you about Perk, the dude knows basketball far more than you could ever imagine, particularly the man he's defending and his tendencies. Perk might be all drawl, but he has a tremendous basketball IQ.

Who among these players has a chance to make a big impact for the Thunder: Lamb, Perry Jones, Thabeet, Orton or Liggins?

In order: Thabeet; Lamb; Liggins; Jones; Orton.

If there were two things you would like to see from the Thunder do, what are they?

1. Better ball movement; 2. Smarter decisions.

Do you think it is the Thunder's year now?

I think it could have been had James Harden played out his option this season. Then again, maybe not.

Among the Thunder, who would you chose to be the starting five?

The same five they've got, although I might try starting Collison against certain opponents and bring Perk off the bench.

Do you have something you would like to change in Durant's game that can be considered his weakness?

Physical strength, particularly with his hands. He frequently loses possessions getting the ball slapped away.

If you had to chose between Westbrook and Brook Lopez, who would you have chosen?

Knowing what I know now? Westbrook. However, there are far more quality point guards out there than there are centers. If you get a quality point guard, Lopez and Durant would be pretty salty.

Do you think all of the Thunder players will be in OKC next year?

Every single one of them? No. Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka, Collison, Thabo, Jackson, Lamb, Thabeet? Yes. Perk? Probably. Martin? Hopefully.

Does Scott Brooks really think defense is the priority with this team like he always says or is that just coach-speak? If so, why is Fisher playing over Brewer when Brewer is a proven Thabo-like defender and a much better athlete for rebounding and everything else basketball related but shooting?

Brooks prioritizes defense because he knows the offense will be there with either Durant or Westbrook or Martin or Thabo or Ibaka or all the above. Fish brings more from the 3-point line because that's the primary offensive option for whoever is at that position — notice how many 3s Thabo gets.

When does a coach deserve to be fired, if he has not moved to a championship, even if he has reached the Finals; like George Karl, Stan Van Gundy?

I think a lot depends on the coach's relationship with the front office or the star player. At the very least, that's the tiebreaker. Now if the team has talent and a ridiculous payroll, yet is underachieving (Lakers, Nets, et. al), then there might not be anything to save his job.

At 7'0", do you think Johan Petro could be a player the Thunder could use?

I never thought Johan Petro should be used at any height.

Your overall grade for Martin, home and away? The Thunder’s success in the Playoffs is contingent on him coming out of his road slump. Do you agree?

Martin is huge for the Thunder. If he's on, the Thunder can become overwhelming. Martin at home: A-. Martin on the road: C+. Martin in the locker room: A+. Has shown no ego for a guy who was his team's go-to guy for seven straight seasons.

If there was any from the Thunder that needs to be played, who?

1. Brewer; 2. Lamb; 3. Thabeet. But where do you find the minutes?



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