Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC players need to learn the art of complaining

by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 15, 2014

Kevin Durant caught an entry pass on the left side against Shane Battier.

He turned and faced, squaring himself with the goal before going into his move, a one-dibble pull-up try from the left baseline.

But Durant lost the handle on the way up and watched the loose ball land in the hands of Dwyane Wade. As Wade scooted the other way, Durant lingered, trailing the play as he complained to referee David Jones.

It resulted in a favorable five-on-four for the Miami Heat and left Serge Ibaka to close out Durant’s man, LeBron James, at the 3-point line. A basic pump fake allowed James to blow by Ibaka before using two forceful dribbles to get from the arc to the basket, where he threw down a powerful one-handed dunk.

Durant’s toes had barely crossed the 3-point line as James put the finishing touch on his highlight.

It took less than two minutes in the Thunder’s first game out of the All-Star break for a troubling trend to rear its ugly head.

Compulsive complaining had struck once again.

If there is one character flaw in Oklahoma City’s roster, it’s the team’s growing habit for griping to officials. It’s a trait that belies a blue-collar organization that prides itself on bringing in players who keep their heads down and focus solely on doing their jobs.

Quite frankly, the Thunder is failing in the art of complaining.

Not only has the incessant whining threated to tarnish the Thunder’s reputation, but it’s also become an increasingly costly distraction that has dragged down the team’s defense.

Players failing to get back in transition, as Durant did against the Heat on Feb. 20, have put additional pressure on a Thunder defense that has proven to have plenty of post-All-Star problems.

Prior to Saturday’s games, the Thunder ranked fourth-to-last in opponent points off turnovers at 18.1 per game. OKC was tied for 17th in opponent fast-break points, yielding 13.3 per game. Yet OKC ranked fourth in opponent fast-break efficiency, allowing just 1.5 points per fast break, which suggests when the Thunder does get back it does a great job of setting up its defense and stopping opponents from scoring.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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