New ESPN NBA analysts George Karl and Doug Collins know a lot about the Oklahoma City Thunder from having coached against them in recent seasons. And they both agreed in a Monday conference call that forward Serge Ibaka will need to be a more consistent scorer as the Thunder continues to try to make up for the loss of James Harden.
“The key to maybe replacing (James) Harden may be Ibaka,” Karl said. “You might not have to go out and get a scoring guard or a 2 or 3 man who can score. Ibaka, can they get his personality up to 15 (points) and 8 (rebounds) every night consistent? And then when he has the big night, it's 25 and 15. I just think he is a talent who has had spectacular nights for them, but his consistency has been up and down.”
“Ibaka reminds me a little bit of what Nene was for you in Denver,” Collins said. “He was that guy who was maybe a 14 and 8 guy who I always thought could be a 20 and 10, who was sort of reluctant to go into that rarefied air. To me, Ibaka has got to get a little big more of an ego when it comes to that. Doing it within the team concept, but knowing how much they need that from him.”
NBA COACHING CAROUSEL
Last year's Coach of the Year with the Denver Nuggets, Karl is still trying to come to grips with the 13 coaching changes from last season, including replacing him in Denver.
“I think right now the 13 changes have scared a lot of coaches,” said Karl, who will be an analyst on “SportsCenter” and a few NBA shows on ESPN.
“When you got three coaches who have won 57, 56 and 56 get dismissed and move, it's just difficult to understand. We have nine new coaches who have never coached an NBA game. And I'm not saying there are not nine qualified assistant coaches who can't become good head coaches. But I think the whole puzzle right now is that it's too much. It's too much change. It's too much drastic reaction to failure. I think the pendulum will swing back for a more realistic option to it all.”