I conducted an online chat on Friday morning, but I had a noon appointment and had to cut it off at the scheduled 11:30. I usually go over if we’ve got extra questions, and we had extra questions.
So I saved the questions and am posting them with their answers now.
Guest: “Can you relate to the Thunder’s team officials or coach, what your readers are asking questions about the team, and are they receptive to such questions whether simple or complex for them?”
I would say they are as receptive to your questions as they are to ours. You don’t get a whole lot out of Thunderville unless you’re talking to Nick Collison, Kendrick Perkins or sometimes Derek Fisher.
Guest: “What do you think is the real story on Deondre Clark — going to LSU and it slipped out, or is OU still in the mix?”
Slipped out. It’s clear that Clark signed with LSU but wanted some kind of drama. I suppose that’s what he got.
Mike: “Can you explain Gundy’s paranoia. He must think people are knocking his door down trying to figure out what OSU is doing football wise. Won’t let QBs talk. Gundy himself is not talking to the media. Had his recruiting press conference on Thursday and basically lied about the reason. If there is a school that needs as much good pub as possible, it’s OSU. If I’m the media, I just don’t go to Stillwater anymore. Your thoughts?”
Oh, it’s not that bad yet. You still need to go to Stillwater. Most press conferences also include some availability to assistant coaches and players. But the whole thing is so needless. There’s no reason for Gundy to be at war with the media. He’s been a media darling for literally 30 years. And now he’s alienated the media, at a place that historically has had to fight for a decent share of the marketplace. Not smart.
Guest: “‘Ibaka is in the conversation, but (Suns guard Goran) Dragic is the one guy that should be on the team. If I had to pick between him and Ibaka, I would have gone with Dragic.’ Do you agree with Barkley?”
Oh, probably not. But I have no big complaint. I don’t understand why the all-star roster is limited to 12. Seems like 15 would be a good number. One per team, though not required that every team have a representative. I think Ibaka is terribly underrated. But Dragic is having a great year, too.
David: “What do you think about the disparity in salary between Texas OC Joe Wickline ($535,000) and the DC Vance Bedford ($760,000)? Salaries reported yesterday by ESPN. Do you think Texas is doing the right thing regarding the Wickline buyout, and wouldn’t Holder and OSU not be legally required to contest such a possible loss of $600,000?”
Well, I don’t really understand the question “legally required.” If you’re asking me if Texas is trying to pull a fast one, the answer is yes. Shawn Watson, Charlie Strong’s assistant head coach and the real offensive coordinator, is set to make $650,000.
Guest: “Were you rooting for the Broncos or the Seahawks? Any wager on it?”
Betting is silly. I don’t bet. I sort of wanted the Seahawks to win, for this reason. I’ve never really wanted an NFL team to win the Super Bowl because it won a certain free-agent derby. That’s what we have in the NBA, and it’s lousy. We don’t have that in baseball. One guy can’t swing a franchise. It appeared that Peyton Manning might be able to do that, getting Denver to the Super Bowl. I don’t want the NFL to ever get to that point.
Guest: “Any news on Russell Westbrook coming back?”
Nope. I assume it’s still after the All-Star Game. Which is still 13 days away. The Thunder plays next Thursday at the Lakers, then gets a week off before hosting Miami.
D: “What would you say about OU and OSU recruiting? Successful?”
Sure. Both signed 25-27 future all-pros. I think it’s fabulous.
Guest: “What was your trip all about to New York?”
Convention of the international order of bird watchers. We meet every three weeks.
Spongebob squarep…: “Do you think the Gundy issue with the media goes to him not wanting to play as tough a non conference schedule? I could see how Gundy would not want that published. A lot of media ran with that during his last courting to Tennessee and last contract negotiation.”
I have no idea what he’s upset about. He might be just trying to prove who swings the biggest stick.
D: “How long do you see the slump/rebound when Westbrook returns taking?”
I don’t know if there will be a slump, but I do think there will be an adjustment period. Especially if Westbrook had returned when the Thunder was playing at a high level. But let’s be honest. The last three games, the Thunder has slipped a little. At Washington, home against short-handed Memphis and Minnesota. I think Westbrook won’t interrupt things much, and then the Thunder will be in a higher gear quickly.
Paul: “Do you think the big twelve will ever get back to 12 teams or more?”
Not any time soon. No good candidates. And no good reason to expand. We’ll see how the new college football playoff goes. If something occurs to make the Big 12 feel the need to expand, they could get interested in the likes of Brigham Young, I suppose. But for now, no.
Jack: “So I thought Tech denied (Baker) Mayfield’s transfer? Does this just mean he has to sit out a year?”
No. It means he loses a year’s eligibility. In other words, he’s eligible in 2015 and will be a junior. It’s a raw deal. A totally raw deal.
D: “Will Thabo be back in OKC next year?”
I’m going to guess yes. Defensive specialists generally don’t get much on the free-agent market. So it’s not like some team will spend $5 million or so on Thabo. I think OKC would like him back, because his perimeter defense remains strong. I could see the Thunder giving Thabo $3 million a year for three years.
Guest: “If Brooks knows how to play his bigs, why did he lose six consecutive times to the Heat?”
He was being loyal and stubborn. But he might have lost anyway. And the only ones that really count are the Finals. Regular-season games are interesting but not terribly relevant. They reveal matchup advantages, but not much beyond that. Miami was a better team two years ago, whether Brooks went small or not.
Jack: “So with Bell moving to TE, who is the backup QB next year?”
I am writing about this for Saturday’s paper. It’s a two-man derby. Cody Thomas or Justice Hansen. And if Knight is hurt bad, good-bye to tight end. Blake Bell will be back.
Guest: “What does Brooks need to do better against the Heat, aside from their last win?”
How about make his 3-pointers? Or close out on Miami’s shooters? Or get back in transition? Oh, wait. He’s not playing. If Brooks will just go small more often, he’s done his duty. The rest is up to the squad.
Guest: “Which should osu fans be more excited about, (Mason) Rudolp(h) or tyreek hill?”
The odds are greater that Hill will make the bigger impact. But if Rudolph is the quarterback, then he’s the answer. My guess: Rudolph doesn’t start the season but does finish the season.
Guest: “So Gundy lies. Please let us know what you are talking about and give us some examples to back up your statement.”
Gundy said Bill Young’s future is up to Bill. Two weeks later, Young is fired. After an August practice, Gundy said no one was injured but was asked about the ambulance that arrived at practice and carried away someone. Gundy said there was no ambulance, even though everyone saw it. Gundy said he would not be hiring an offensive coordinator; two or three days later, Dana Holgorsen was hired. Gundy said Zac Robinson would start because Bobby Reid was injured; then Gundy admitted Reid was fine. Do you want me to go on?
Jack: “Do you see any potential trade deadline deals with the Thunder?”
No. I think they’re standing pat. But you never know.
Guest: “Why is Brooks not like playing from the post and loves mostly jumpers? Is he a small type player like he was?”
Who plays from the post? Minnesota? Charlotte? Who else? The Thunder does not like mostly jumpers. The Thunder likes to attack the basket. The Thunder has an incredibly efficient offense. To ask for more is being a little silly.
Midwestokie: “General thoughts on the OU’s 2014 class? Who is the headliner of the class when you look at immediate playing time, need, readiness etc?”
I don’t know. I guess the running backs will play immediately. Mixon and Perine. OU needs tailbacks.
Guest: “What is still lacking to make Adams a premier center?”
Defense. Guarding the pick’n roll, primarily, but also the post. Adams will be a very good player. But he’s got to defend better.
Guest: “The Seahawks team is not the high salary team and still won the championship, even with a college coach. Can the Thunder do the same?”
The Thunder is a small market team, but it’s not a small salary team. The Thunder is paying Durant and Westbrook (and Ibaka) a ton of money. The Thunder is skirting with the luxury tax.
Jared: “What’s your thoughts on Jeremy Lamb’s play this year, his development and his future role/ceiling?”
I love how Lamb is playing. He’s one of the keys to the Thunder surge. I doubt he’ll ever be a star, but he’s a very solid player with a bright future.
Mike: “Final 4 in football playoff next year is, OU, FSU, Alabama, USC my prediction.”
I think the first three are contenders. I don’t know about Southern Cal. In fact, I’m pretty sure the Trojans won’t be in it.
Jack: “Is Travis Ford done?”
No way. First off, his team’s in a slump. His program’s not unraveling. Second, there’s plenty of time for rallying. Third, his contract will keep him safe. Ford has another 6-7 years on his contract. OSU can’t afford to fire him.
RK: “Been meaning to ask someone about this for quite awhile. Your thoughts on the Big 12 Baseball Tourney moving to T-town in 2015?”
I think it’s an OK move. It had lost momentum in OKC. Truth is, OKC might have outgrown the Big 12 Baseball Tournament. Maybe it’s time for Tulsa to have a turn. We’ve got a lot going on in OKC. NCAA championships. NCAA regionals. The NBA. The Big 12 baseball tournament sort of got lost.
Oklahoma Man: “Why would any average high school student decide which college to attend based on a Sports Illustrated article. Have you been out in the cold to long?”
No one bases any decision on any one thing. But OSU no doubt had to conduct some damage control after the SI series. And all those parents who send their daughters to OSU from Dallas and Houston are going to want to know what the heck is going on.
Guest: “Do you think PJIII will be a starter next season and who will he replace?”
Heck no. He plays Durant’s position. I guess if OKC lost Thabo, the Thunder could be looking for a perimeter starter, but you can’t ask Durant or Jones to cover 2-guards on a regular basis. So no. No starts in Jones’ future.
Guest: “I know you like Brooks, does he have a weakness in your opinion?”
Oh sure. I don’t think his X’s and O’s are as strong as some coaches’. But those great tacticians sometimes can’t motivate players. Let me ask you this. In six years, have you ever seen the Thunder not play hard? Ever seen the Thunder loaf? Ever seen the Thunder disrespect the game? Westbrook on occasion has gotten mad, but he’s gotten over it. Perkins can have a dicey disposition. But Brooks has handled all that extremely well.
Lawton: “The quarterback with the most college starts on next year’s OU team will be Baker Mayfield. With Travis Knight’s history of injuries, and with more a QB- running game, wouldn’t it be in OU’s best interest to get involved in the Mayfield’s appeal to the NCAA to not sit out a year?”
Hey, that’s an excellent idea. I don’t know on what grounds he’ll appeal, but it couldn’t hurt. You’re right. OU’s deep QB well suddenly has gone shallow, with Bell moving to tight end and Thompson transferring.
Bebe: “Any chance OU will move Orlando Brown to tailback?”
I don’t know anything about it. He seems a little large to be playing tailback, doesn’t he?
Sam P.: “Thunder roster stands as is for the rest of the season. Chemistry is good. Results have been good. Players developing nicely. Russ will be back soon.”
I think you’re right.