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Thunder chat transcript: Darnell Mayberry talks 'Hero Ball,' Westbrook's return and the growth of the Durant-Ibaka two-man game

by Darnell Mayberry Published: January 20, 2014
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NewsOK Sports 9:33 a.m. Welcome to the Power Lunch chat. It's Thunder talk to kick off the week, so get your questions in now and Darnell Mayberry will be on at 11 a.m. to start the chat.
Tommy 11:01 a.m. Is everything ok with Reggie and kevin, seems to be some friction at points in recent games
Darnell Mayberry 11:02 a.m. I think so. You see them having fun and rooting each other on much more than you see them barking at each other/not passing the other the ball. I just think those tense times tend to stand out more.
tom 11:02 a.m. Hi Darnell, please fill in your opinion for the percentages between the reasons for Reggie Jackson's struggles between: a) Normal "it's a long season" slumps b) difficulty transitioning back and forth between starter and 6th man c) the league starting to figure him out d) pressing e) he's just streaky. Thanks!
Darnell Mayberry 11:04 a.m. I'd say 60 percent of it is "b." You can see him out there thinking, trying to make the right play, the smart play, rather than just playing instinctively. And when he's not doing that, he's just letting it fly, which has also become alarming to many observers. I'll say "a" probably fills another 30 percent and the rest probably makes up the final 10 percent.
Leah 11:05 a.m. You know how sometimes when a team inbounds a ball and then the PG lets it roll a ways before picking it up? could the defense grab the ball when they do that? I hate that
Darnell Mayberry 11:05 a.m. Oh yeah. And it's happened before. It's a dangerous play, but it's a smart one if done correctly. I love it when it's done correctly.
Leah 11:06 a.m. I was thinking saturday that the previous 2 games were maybe a turning point for the thunder and then there was more of the same last night. I guess we'll really know after portland and SA this week. How do you think those 2 games will go? I think they'll win both.
Darnell Mayberry 11:07 a.m. They're definitely showing a pulse, which is more than you could have said after the road trip to Utah and Denver. I think as long as they're competitive in the next two it'll be acceptable. I think they'll get up for Portland because of the way the first two ended, and I think the Spurs game will be super tough.
Randall 11:07 a.m. Is there a scenario where the Thunder could trade away Westbrook, start Jackson, and come out as a better team than they were before Russ got hurt? The only one I can think of that gets close is Russ for Cousins, Landry, and Jimmer. But that still wouldn't be worth it.
Darnell Mayberry 11:07 a.m. #blocked
Glenda 11:08 a.m. You mentioned the 5-9 slight height of Isaiah Thomas. Here's a slighter one. I first saw Spud Webb in the Atlanta Hawks' practice facility. He was commonly listed at 5-6, 5-7. If the measurements were accurate, I'm 6-8. Webb's height and overall appearance was of a normal-size 6-year-old - I was dumbfounded by Webb's appearance. He couldn't have been more than 5-4. Muggsy Bogues was even slighter. Amazing didn't describe the two's ability to compete and influence NBA games.
Darnell Mayberry 11:09 a.m. That's when you know God just put some people on this earth to do certain things. There's no other explanation.
Russell Westbrook 11:09 a.m. When im going to take the court? I want to play with my boys again
Darnell Mayberry 11:10 a.m. My prediction was Feb. 3 against Memphis. That means you'll miss eight more games.
Kevin Durant 11:10 a.m. I am the Mvp right now right?Or you think people think is Lebron....
Darnell Mayberry 11:10 a.m. You got it. You've been out of this world lately.
Sam Presti 11:10 a.m. This year i think im going to make a big trade watch and see.. To help KD win is first ring... You like my idea?
Darnell Mayberry 11:11 a.m. This sounds more like Presti's alter ego, "Not THE Sam Presti" on Twitter. That's not your style, bro. We know this to be true by now.
Gary Neal 11:12 a.m. I want to play with KD and Westbrook what can OKC can do for me?
Darnell Mayberry 11:13 a.m. Geez. Star-studded turnout today. Maybe trade Thabeet and PJ3 for you. But I wouldn't do that. Sorry, bro. You're good. Just not worth giving up PJ3.
Sergio 11:13 a.m. Do you think the way thunder is playing will help them make the finals? Adjust without westbrook and get more responsibility. Then when westbrook comes back they will be better players and play as a better team then they were the beginning of the season.
Darnell Mayberry 11:14 a.m. That's the goal. And it sounds great in theory. But the key is actually sustaining the level and style of play that was built in Westbrook's absence. I still have strong doubt that they can/will. Hunch tells me they just revert to hero ball, especially when things get tight in the playoffs. I'm not sure the trust is truly there from top to bottom just yet.
Guest 11:15 a.m. I know Durant is the best scorer in the league, but why does the Thunder take this opportunity to develop the young players scoring ability by letting them shoot more?
Darnell Mayberry 11:15 a.m. Durant is trying to do that.
Guest 11:15 a.m. Given our recent 3-0 run against tough teams, what do you think our record will be during this 4 game stretch?
Darnell Mayberry 11:16 a.m. 4-0. I think they can beat the Blazers tomorrow.
Garrett 11:16 a.m. What would be one area you'd like to see Steven Adams do better in?
Darnell Mayberry 11:16 a.m. At this point, stay on the court. He's fouled out in three straight games.
Dale 11:16 a.m. Are there league rules dictating travel? For instance, if the Thunder have a home game on Sunday night and an away game on Tuesday, do they get to decide on whether to fly out on Sunday night or on Monday? I assume the league doesn't let you travel on the day of the game, which might be feasible from OKC to Dallas.
Darnell Mayberry 11:18 a.m. You're right. The league doesn't let you fly out the day of the game. But under your scenario, a team will probably fly out Monday 99 percent of the time. The only scenario where a team would fly Sunday after the game for a Tuesday road game is if the Sunday game was also on the road. But sometimes, teams will stay overnight even in those situations and fly out on Monday.
Reggie jackson 11:18 a.m. Will I be more prepared once westbrook comes back?
Darnell Mayberry 11:19 a.m. Definitely. This is great experience right now. And once you go back to the bench where you can just focus on scoring while also doing it against reserves instead of starters, you'll be dangerous.
Tommy 11:19 a.m. what is more likely tomorrow, someone makes a half-court shot or we will hear a mvp chant
Darnell Mayberry 11:19 a.m. Haha. Halfcourt shot. We've had more of those than all-out MVP chants.
tom 11:20 a.m. Serge has been playing out of his mind lately. I think you and Slater are the only media that have recognized it. At the beginning of the year, was this what the organization expected from him? Does it change the calculus to add another player to win a title?
Darnell Mayberry 11:22 a.m. Yeah, I'm actually writing about him for tomorrow's paper. Specifically the impact of the rapidly-improving Durant-Ibaka two-man game. It's growing into a thing of beauty, and it's making both players that much more dangerous. It's no coincidence that Ibaka has scored at least 20 points in three straight games for the first time in his career. I think it's safe to say the organization saw this coming. They knew he'd be a really good player. That's why they offered him the contract they did.
Randall 11:22 a.m. Right now, Dallas has a 2.5 game lead for #10 in the league. This would mean their first round pick goes to OKC. Trade for a player, trade up in the draft, or make 2 first round picks? And if they use the picks, what needs does the team address?
Darnell Mayberry 11:23 a.m. My guess would be Presti does everything he can to try to trade up. It could look like 2010 all over again. But with such a loaded draft, he could have a much harder time.
KEVIN 11:23 a.m. Am I ready for my first ring
Darnell Mayberry 11:23 a.m. Been ready.
Tommy 11:23 a.m. do you think Serge is frontrunner for defensive player of the year
Darnell Mayberry 11:24 a.m. Haven't given it much thought, to be honest. I'd have to examine it more closely. But the first guy that comes to mind is Roy Hibbert. The Pacers' team defense is going to garner him a lot of votes.
Terrance 11:24 a.m. Hey darnell do you think serge will be a dangerous third option once the playoffs begin
Darnell Mayberry 11:24 a.m. As long as his shot doesn't go cold.
Kiwi Strong 11:24 a.m. How many of Steven's fouls are legit? On tv it looks like he is unfairly called when people just bounce off of him, and others are ticky tack.
Darnell Mayberry 11:24 a.m. He does get called for a lot of light contact fouls. Chalk it up to his rookie status.
Randall 11:24 a.m. "#blocked" Lol. All these rumblings of Westbrook wanting to be a Laker, I'm just afraid of Presti pulling another "Harden".
Darnell Mayberry 11:25 a.m. Westbrook has shown no desire to want to play elsewhere. He's actually the last guy I'd be worried about bolting.
JD 11:25 a.m. I think there's little doubt Adams should be starting over Perk. While Perk does some good things, there's no reason he should be starting. But the concern I have about Adams is his fouling. Is it just inexperience?
Darnell Mayberry 11:25 a.m. Some of it is, yes. But he'll figure it out.
omykd 11:25 a.m. Do you see any trades this year?
Darnell Mayberry 11:26 a.m. They've got the assets to get something done, that's for sure. But I still don't think anything major will be done. Something minor, I could see.
Kevin Durant 11:26 a.m. At this point of time,what can I do to continue improving my game?
Darnell Mayberry 11:26 a.m. Speaking of chants. "D-FENCE!!!" D-FENCE!!!"
Guest 11:27 a.m. What's your prediction for Portland in the play-offs?
Darnell Mayberry 11:27 a.m. Second round exit if they maintain a top two seed. Potential upset special if they slip to 3 or 4.
Tommy 11:27 a.m. Who is a better fit, Andrew Bynum or Andre Miller?
Darnell Mayberry 11:28 a.m. That's a horrible question, bro. They're both awful fits for their own reasons. Miller needs the ball in his hands to be most effective. Not happening on this team. And Bynum has proven to be a cancer. I refuse to answer.
Kevin Durant 11:28 a.m. Why people don't scream Mvp in Okc? Damnnnnnn that's rude
Darnell Mayberry 11:29 a.m. It's not rude. But it is interesting. I'd like to know the reason for it myself. I've heard it's early. I've heard that KD once quieted the crowd when it was doing it. I've even heard it's lame. I think it's a show of respect. And I think it's cool.
Guest 11:29 a.m. Also, are you sticking by Ted with the Thunder Buddies podcast? That reference is going to be so out-dated in 6 months.
Darnell Mayberry 11:30 a.m. Classics are never outdated. Ted is a classic.
Guest 11:30 a.m. When will Steven Adams start a game for Perkins? (Not Because of Injury)
Darnell Mayberry 11:30 a.m. My guess is next season.
peter 11:30 a.m. what's your grade right now for Sefalosha. Seems like his game isn't getting any better... Trade bait?
Darnell Mayberry 11:30 a.m. Definitely not trade bait. His defense is going to be pivotal in the postseason. Trust me. I'd give him a C thus far.
Leah 11:30 a.m. where are these "rumblings" of westbrook wanting to go to LA coming from? Lakers fans?
Darnell Mayberry 11:31 a.m. Bill Simmons probably.
Rumble 11:31 a.m. Any chance Serge makes the All Star game?
Darnell Mayberry 11:31 a.m. Highly doubt it. West is too loaded with big men. And he's probably still on the second tier.
Cj 11:31 a.m. Do u think in Thabo Sefolosha's struggles that maybe we would potentially move him or put him on the second team
Darnell Mayberry 11:31 a.m. Not happening.
Tommy 11:31 a.m. Going back to the first question, is the friction between Reggie and Scott Brooks concerning?
Darnell Mayberry 11:32 a.m. No. But I think it's telling. Says a lot about the inner-workings of this team.
Randall 11:32 a.m. Bynum to the Heat. This changes________.
Darnell Mayberry 11:32 a.m. Everything for the Pacers potentially. And nothing for the Thunder.
Guest 11:32 a.m. If sefolosha left next year could you see Lamb starting or do you think the Thunder will pick someone else up and keep him as a bench option?
Darnell Mayberry 11:32 a.m. If Sefolosha leaves, Lamb likely will step in as the starter.
Leah 11:32 a.m. Do you think Royal will be signed for the rest of the season?
Darnell Mayberry 11:32 a.m. Yes. But only after two more 10-day contracts.
omykd 11:33 a.m. Im like Lebron im jealous to your job and how good you work.... Keep doing what you do... Go Thunder
Darnell Mayberry 11:33 a.m. Thank you, sir.
tom 11:33 a.m. Earlier you worried about 4th qtr hero ball in the playoffs. I think that depends on who's on the court, right? Thabo and Perk haven't shown they can catch and shoot.
Darnell Mayberry 11:34 a.m. To Brooks' credit (at times), he's shown that he's no longer forcing Perk and Thabo on the court in the fourth quarters. He's gone with a mix of Lamb, Jackson, Fisher, KD, Collison and Ibaka. I think there have been times when Sefolosha should have been out there. But Brooks is mixing it up.
cowboy orange 11:34 a.m. So glad they took the microphone away from DJ boom... must they play the music so loud in the arena?
Darnell Mayberry 11:34 a.m. It's annoying, that's for sure.
Guest 11:34 a.m. Ted is a classic. LOL.
Darnell Mayberry 11:35 a.m. Yep. A classic comedy.
peter 11:35 a.m. With all the panic, do you find it surprising that the team could still be in first place with two wins this week?
Darnell Mayberry 11:35 a.m. Or that they have a better record at the halfway point than they did a year ago??
cowboy orange 11:35 a.m. shouldn't labron be jealous of Carmelo and his shots? last year didn't he take something like 300 more shots than KD?
Darnell Mayberry 11:35 a.m. Don't know Melo's final tally. But ain't no way LeBron is jealous of KD. No way.
Russell Westbrook 11:35 a.m. Do you see me playing in the Allstar game?
Darnell Mayberry 11:35 a.m. No.
Guest 11:35 a.m. Darnell, can you do an article on KD's sportVU stats?
Darnell Mayberry 11:36 a.m. Definitely. We should. Thanks for the suggestion.
Tommy 11:36 a.m. Think kd can get 50-40-90 this year and lead the league in scoring, something he was so close to doing last year
Darnell Mayberry 11:36 a.m. It'll be tough.
Garrett 11:36 a.m. What do you think is the best lineup for the thunder? Or which one is the most interesting to you?
Darnell Mayberry 11:36 a.m. Jackson, Westbrook, Lamb, KD, Ibaka.
peter 11:36 a.m. Will Russ being gone torpedo Reggie's chances at 6th man award?
Darnell Mayberry 11:37 a.m. All you have to do to qualify for the award is come off the bench in more games than you start. Jackson could still do that if Westbrook comes back soon after the All-Star Game.
Darnell Mayberry 11:37 a.m. Thanks for joining us today. Have a great week.

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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