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Oklahoma City Thunder: Roundtable discussion on Hasheem Thabeet

The Oklahoman’s staff writers discuss three topics surrounding Thabeet.
by Berry Tramel and Darnell Mayberry and Anthony Slater Published: June 9, 2014

The Oklahoman’s staff writers discuss three topics surrounding Hasheem Thabeet.

Has Hasheem Thabeet established himself as a quality NBA player?

Darnell Mayberry, Thunder beat writer: I say yes. He’ll never live up to his selection as a No. 2 overall pick. But look past Thabeet’s draft selection and you’ll see a player who’s come into his own in OKC and figured out how to be a solid contributor. He’s not great at anything, but he can be a steady shot-blocker, rebounder and post defender. Every team needs those things.

Anthony Slater, Thunder beat writer: Ehh, depends on how you define quality. He’s been in a solid NBA rotation before, playing 12 minutes a night for the 60-win Thunder two seasons ago. But he’s never really done anything. Never averaged more than 3.1 points. Never been able to defend well without fouling. Never translated that massive size and height into an impactful force. There’s still time — he’s 27 — but there’s not a ton of evidence it’ll one day click.

Berry Tramel, Columnist: Quality NBA player? That’s a stretch. Serviceable NBA player? Sure. Thabeet showed that last season, when he was Kendrick Perkins’ backup and played solid minutes for the Thunder. But he’s fallen from second team to third team with the Thunder. He’s not a guy who deserves 15-20 minutes a game on a quality team. He can help in a pinch.

Did you see anything out of Thabeet this season that makes you think he has a future with the Thunder?

Mayberry: I did, but Thabeet faces two problems: the salary cap and the Thunder’s collection of talent. Financial constraints could keep OKC from retaining Thabeet. The emergence of Steven Adams and the promise of stashed center Tibor Pleiss also make things uncertain for Thabeet. Both of those things are strong factors that work against Thabeet remaining with the Thunder long term. And neither is an indictment on Thabeet.

Slater: No. And the most telling sign may have been when Kendrick Perkins went down for a couple months. With the perfect opportunity to give Thabeet some run, Scott Brooks barely went to the backup big man. He chose to go small, tinker with lineups, experiment with things. It was a sign that Brooks didn’t really think Thabeet could help much. And as the Thunder tries to improve its roster moving forward, there’s no reason to think that’ll change.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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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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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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