Oklahoma City Thunder roundtable: Evaluating Serge Ibaka's season

The Oklahoman's staff writers discuss three questions about Serge Ibaka's season.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: May 25, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (9) reacts during Game 5 in the second round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (9) reacts during Game 5 in the second round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

The Oklahoman's staff writers discuss three topics surrounding Serge Ibaka.

1. What area of Serge Ibaka's game impressed you the most this season?

Darnell Mayberry: That jumper. It got even better this season. Ibaka hit 47 percent of his jump shots this season and connected on 51.5 percent from 15 to 19 feet. Ibaka's shooting ranks right next to his shot-blocking as the most consistent part of his game and it has become a real weapon for the Thunder.

John Rohde: Still his shot blocking, since he led the league for the third straight season. His interior defense was much improved, mainly because he positioned himself much better rather than just simply allowing someone to shoot and timing his jump to block a shot.

Berry Tramel: Early, his pick-'n-pop shooting. Late, his interior defense. Ibaka has become a premier midrange shooter. Someone you can count on to consistently sink the 17-footer. And the longer the season went, the better post defender Ibaka became. Ibaka already is the NBA's best shot-blocker. If he continues to improve defensively, he'll be an all-star caliber player.

2. Ibaka says he will be an All-Star next season. Are you buying it, and what would it take for him to do it?

Mayberry: Not buying it. No knock on Ibaka. Just look at the other guys who weren't on the All-Star team this year. It's virtually an All-Star team of non-All-Stars: Stephen Curry, Jamal Crawford, Damian Lillard, Andre Iguodala, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Love, Marc Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Kenneth Faried, Pau Gasol, Al Jefferson and DeMarcus Cousins. It's basically a numbers game. And Ibaka's probably the 20th guy in line for a 12-man team. He'll have to get lucky.

Rohde: You would think a guy on the cusp of becoming Defensive Player of the Year would be a surefire All-Star, but the West is loaded at the position with Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Zach Randolph and now David Lee, plus Tim Duncan if coaches vote him at power forward. At least two of those guys are going to have to fall off to make room for Ibaka.

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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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