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Chat transcript: Thunder writer Anthony Slater talks Fisher as a starter and longterm Westbrook concerns

by Anthony Slater Published: January 13, 2014
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NewsOK Sports 10:08 a.m. Welcome to the Power Lunch chat. It should be an interesting two weeks for the Thunder, with key games coming up against Western Conference foes. Get your questions and comments in now and Anthony Slater will be on at 11 a.m. with answers.
NewsOK Sports 11:00 a.m. OK, I'm here. Let's get it started.
Torrence 11:00 a.m. Dont you feel like the Thunder have more chemistry with Fisher starting with allows Action Jackson to be with the 2nd unit and giving us that Boost off the bench with his aggression?
Anthony Slater 11:02 a.m. That's an interesting suggestion. Similar to what Brooks did when Thabo sat three games last month, inserting Andre Roberson into the starting lineup and keeping the bench the same. I think the difference this time around is Brooks wants to maintain three offensive-minded players in the starting lineup. With the Thabo-Roberson swap, you were replacing defense with defense. If Fisher started in Westbrook's place, you'd have him, Thabo and Perk on the court at the same time. And you thought KD was carrying a big load right now?
omykd 11:03 a.m. Im seeing Westbrook coming back this week.... Something is telling me he will be back this week....
Anthony Slater 11:04 a.m. I don't think it'll be this week. He's still only about 17 days from surgery. It took him 33 from scope to playing last time. That said, I still think he's getting somewhat close. Don't see any way he sits out until the All-Star Break, like they keep saying. My guess: Jan. 29th in Miami.
#KevinDurant 11:04 a.m. Im the Mvp this season so far right?
Anthony Slater 11:05 a.m. If it ended today, yes, I'd probably expect you to be named. But remember, we're not even halfway through. Last year at this time, you were probably the MVP, too. But then LeBron got scorching hot, the Heat rattled off 27 straight and he ran away with the award. So we'll see. A lot of hoops to be played.
Sean 11:06 a.m. Love the podcast do you get the sense we will trade for someone by feb 21
Anthony Slater 11:07 a.m. I get the sense that Sam Presti has opened up that possibility. That's what the Ryan Gomes trade was about ( http://newsok.com/article/3921910 ) - clearing financial flexibility to possibly use the Eric Maynor trade exception.
Anthony Slater 11:08 a.m. Will they actually use it? We'll see. I'd say the chances are about 60-40 they won't. A lot of it will depend on how quickly they think Russ is getting back to full strength. Because with a full complement of players, I know the front office thinks this team is championship worthy.
Anthony Slater 11:09 a.m. And thanks for the podcast comment. If anyone wants to listen, you can find it on iTunes here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/thunder-buddies/id738642061

Guest 11:10 a.m. Staying with Jackson, now that he's defending the better players on other teams (as a starter), do you think it has exposed his defensive flaws? Was his defense a concern to the coaches at any time coming off the bench?
Anthony Slater 11:11 a.m. When he was coming off the bench, Jackson had some of the best defensive metrics in the league. OKC was stifling on that end when he was in the game. But since becoming a starter, you're right. Opposing point guards have been lighting him up. Part of it is a step up in competition, part of it is what seems to be both mental and physical struggles. He looks fatigued and frustrated lately and it seems to be seeping into his play on both ends. The Thunder better hope that gets patched up quick.
harry man 11:12 a.m. thunder up is not playing very well as i write this..why? I thought by the daily oklahomans nba writers thunder up will be winning the west conf. and on to the nba finals. not looking good anthony
Anthony Slater 11:13 a.m. Main reason: One of the top-10 players in the world is suddenly out of their lineup. It throws things out of whack. If they get him back, there's no reason to think they can't return to form and challenge for the West's crown.
Anthony Slater 11:13 a.m. But for the record, I picked the Clippers to win the West.



...Not sure I'm feeling great about that, either.
Nathan 11:13 a.m. What would the Thunder need the most if we did make a trade? Shooter?
Anthony Slater 11:15 a.m. Yeah. I think that's the one thing they're truly missing, even when Westbrook is in the lineup. One name that intrigues me: Gary Neal. He's having problems in Milwaukee and is clearly on the trading block. And after last game, both he and Durant, two Maryland boys, were having a nice chat after the game.
Anthony Slater 11:16 a.m. Problem with him is he's owed over $3 million for the next two years. So along with the Maynor exception, the Thunder would have to add some type of contract to the trade. And it would have to be something the Bucks are willing to take back. We'll see. But he's a streaky shooter that could win you a crucial ballgame, as shown in the NBA Finals last year.
harry man 11:17 a.m. so you are from california, anthony. not much happening in C. but you a 49ers fan?
Anthony Slater 11:17 a.m. I am from California, not a Niners fan, but have plenty of friends who are. Also: They're going to get smoked in Seattle next weekend.
dr. el prez 11:17 a.m. Anthony...if Reggie craters confidence wise in the first period at Memphis...what would you do as a coach?
Anthony Slater 11:18 a.m. Allow him to play through the struggles. He's 23 and really in his first full year in the league. He's shown what kind of potential he has and, even though he's been hurting the team lately, remains a key component if this team is to make a deep run. No sense in giving up on him.
Bugra 11:18 a.m. What do you think about Andrew Bynum?
Anthony Slater 11:19 a.m. He's asking for a lot more money than the Thunder would ever want to give him, especially considering the baggage he's coming with. Don't see a chance of that happening.
E.flame 11:20 a.m. thabo & perk to the bulls for joakim & dunlevy plus maynor trade exception
Anthony Slater 11:21 a.m. If the Bulls are going to trade Joakim Noah, they can get a lot more back than Perk and Thabo's expiring deal. Noah's an All-Star center.
Manny Harris 11:21 a.m. Can i play in OKC? Im good i can put up 49 points
Anthony Slater 11:23 a.m. 49 points in the D-League, Manny. You have been lighting it up, but there's a big difference. At the most, I could see OKC signing you, or another D-Leaguer to a 10-day contract. Give you a little test run (that'll likely include minimal to no opportunity) and then let you walk right around the time Westbrook will return.
Nathan 11:23 a.m. How concerned is the front office with Russels knee long term?
Anthony Slater 11:25 a.m. Concerned. You have to be. Three operations in eight months on the same knee. But even after two surgeries, he was playing the best basketball of his career. So I think they're confident he'll return to form, but I'm not sure how confident they are that the knee won't continue to swell and cause issues.
Nathan 11:25 a.m. Who's the biggest threat to our Western Conference title hopes? Who "matches up" well against us?
Anthony Slater 11:27 a.m. If everybody's fully healthy (a big if), I actually think the Warriors matchup best with the Thunder. They can run with them. They can score with them. And they can shoot you out of series. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are capable of combining for 70 on any given night. And since Andre Igoudala has come back, and provided some perimeter defense, they are 12-2. Legit threat.
Down To Dunk Podcast 11:27 a.m. If Reggie's agent wants him to get 12 million dollars a year or more do you think that is something doable for the Thunder? If not, do you see the Thunder flipping him for a pick in this draft?
Anthony Slater 11:29 a.m. That'll be an intriguing question come this offseason. The James Harden offseason. But I think Reggie's recent struggles, in the starting role he'll be looking to get elsewhere, may help OKC's case. At this point, I don't see a team paying him that much. It'll be interesting to follow, but too early to speculate.
Kevin Durant 11:29 a.m. If we dont win it in three years im leaving OKC
Anthony Slater 11:29 a.m. Can I quote you on that?
@instntterry 11:29 a.m. You don't think Portland poses a tougher challenge than the warriors?
Anthony Slater 11:31 a.m. No, I think Portland's defense will do them in come playoff time. When other teams crank up the D, gameplanning strictly for the Blazers for two straight weeks, their offense will limited somewhat. And I don't think they can get enough stops to stay in a 7-game series with the conference's elite. We'll see. They may prove me wrong.
Anthony Slater 11:32 a.m. Thunder practice availability at 11:45. I got to get over there. Thanks for all the questions and sorry to those I didn't get to. Feel free to email me at aslater@opubco.com or Tweet me @anthonyVslater.

Later.

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com'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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