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Power Lunch: Chat with Darnell Mayberry

by Darnell Mayberry Published: February 11, 2014
Darnell Mayberry 11:00 a.m. Greetings, ladies and gents.
Michael 11:00 a.m. Why doesn't Thabo ever pass the ball on the fast break? Seems like it'd be pretty easy to gameplan against.
Darnell Mayberry 11:02 a.m. "Ever" is a little strong. It's more like 99.99999 percent of the time. I can't answer that question, though. Maybe he just feels like he's a capable finisher.
Michael 11:02 a.m. True or false: How well your team plays without a star or two is a good indicator of how good a coach you are.
Darnell Mayberry 11:04 a.m. I think it's among the indicators. Look at what the Bulls have done the last three years without Derrick Rose. They're still in the playoffs. They're still hanging around .500 this year without Luol Deng as well. To me, it's a sign that a coach has a well-established system in place that isn't reliant on one or two guys but also a mark of the coach's ability to make adjustments and keep his players motivated despite hardships.
Guest 11:05 a.m. are you going to all-star weekend?
Darnell Mayberry 11:05 a.m. Yes. I'll be there. Anything you'd like to read or anyone (within reason) you'd like to hear from?
Leah 11:05 a.m. Who do you think will get the #1 seed, Thunder or Pacers? I still think the thunder.
Darnell Mayberry 11:07 a.m. I haven't analyzed the remaining schedules for each team yet. It's something I will do soon. But I think the Thunder, which already is rolling, will be even better when Westbrook comes back. So I think the Thunder finishes strong and gets it. But April also hasn't been too kind to the Thunder in recent years, although I think that's largely the team's own doing.
Joel 11:07 a.m. After watching last year's playoffs and seeing the difference it made getting Perkins out of the Miami game this year it's completely baffling to me that Brooks still insists on starting him and playing him any significant minutes. Perkins is averaging almost a career worst 3.5 pts and 5.1 rbds. and is not only almost dead last in the league in PER (323 out of 331) but he's DEAD LAST among eligible centers for that statistic. I understand OKC is winning but they're doing so despite Perkins, not because of anything he's doing and while his minutes have been diminished down to 20 per game, that's still too much.
Darnell Mayberry 11:09 a.m. Can I start by making a respectful request that we all just top using PER to quantify anything Perk does. It's an offensive measure, not a defensive one. Perk is not a good offensive player. We don't need a stat to tell us that.
Darnell Mayberry 11:11 a.m. Secondly, there are a lot of teams the Perk is useful against. Miami is one of a few exceptions. Just because he doesn't need to play as much against the Heat doesn't mean you don't need him against the Spurs, Rockets, Warriors, Timberwolves, Grizzlies, Clippers, Blazers, Jazz, Kings and Pacers. He does what he does well. Very well, actually. That's low-post defense.
Leah 11:12 a.m. Do you think the NBA would ever get rid of conferences in the playoffs. The disparity between the 2 is crazy. I think, you should have to have a winning record to be in the playoffs.If the playoffs started today, east teams (not counting pacers & heat) would be 3 & 1 game above .500, 2 teams at .500 and 3 and 7 games below .500. That's crazy!! in the west Memphis is 4 games above .500 and would not make the playoffs. I think if a team is below .500 and qualify for the playoffs, if there is another team with a better record in the other conference who is out of the playoffs, they should get the spot instead. OR have the teams play each other to get into the playoffs.
Darnell Mayberry 11:14 a.m. It's an interesting idea, one that's been floated out there before. It's a pretty radical change, but one that this season makes you want to see. As for whether the league would ever do it, they're rolling out sleeves on jerseys and talking about teams overseas. Why not?
tom 11:14 a.m. What makes Thabo, or anyone, such a good defender? I never really appreciate him until he leaves and Lamb (or Jones or Jackson) starts getting lit up. What traits can they mimic to step up their defensive game?
Darnell Mayberry 11:15 a.m. He's got great length and footwork to stay in front of his man. But more than anything, defense is about wanting to do it. And Thabo's determined to be a good defender.
-M 11:15 a.m. Will this team once again raise its winning percentage from the previous season?? How big of a statement would that be for the entire organization?
Darnell Mayberry 11:16 a.m. It's a very, very, very good accomplishment. But winning the title would be a bigger statement.
Mark 11:16 a.m. Has the front office or coaches said anything about the plan for Russ when he comes back? Minute restriction, sitting half of a back-to-back, etc.?
Darnell Mayberry 11:17 a.m. No. They don't talk about it. Almost like they're acting, publicly, like the guy isn't even out. And they get testy when the topic is brought up, as if it's not the biggest, most important issue surrounding this team.
harry man 11:18 a.m. are you in portland tonight? will be a great game..
Darnell Mayberry 11:18 a.m. No. But let's hope so.
Russell Westbrook 11:18 a.m. Im dunking Darnell put me in mannnnnnn... When im going to play with the Mvp of this season?
Darnell Mayberry 11:19 a.m. My original prediction of Feb. 3 was wrong. So now I'm going to say Feb. 20 against the Heat.
harry man 11:19 a.m. Oklahoma state made the news's basketball this time...Smart shoving the you follow college men basketball? and your TRUE thoughts
Darnell Mayberry 11:20 a.m. Yes, I follow college basketball as much as I can while covering the Thunder. I hated to see the scene at Tech play out. But we don't have nearly enough time for all of my thoughts on that situation.
Darnell Mayberry 11:22 a.m. Here's one: I think it's silly for anybody to think that's going to make Smart's draft stock suffer. I would bet the way Smart hustled back on defense for the block attempt on that play tells most NBA decision-makers more of what they need to know about Smart than what transpired after the play.
Omykd 11:23 a.m. #TradeDeadLine in 9 days who would you like to see in a Thunder shirt? Shooters?
Darnell Mayberry 11:24 a.m. Shooters, shooters and more shooters. I've been saying it all season. I'd prefer a guy like Anthony Morrow. Cheap contract. Probably won't have to give up much to get him. But Gary Neal, Mike Dunleavy and other guys like them could be options.
Leah 11:24 a.m. Skylar Diggins is teaming up with Kevin Durant in one event. Maybe talk to the 2 of them about pro basketball in oklahoma. I think having nba players speaking highly of the wnba would help the wnba's reputation, show that women can play the game and play it well.
Darnell Mayberry 11:26 a.m. I like the idea, Leah. But I'm not sure the nation is interested in paying attention to the WNBA. It's been around for more than 15 years, I believe, and it's still a struggling league that doesn't get attention.
Andrew 11:26 a.m. Assuming Thabo and Fish (retiring) aren't on the roster next year, the Thunder will only be about 3.5M under the tax line with only 11 players on the roster. Do we become tax payers at some point next season? Whether it be at the start or the middle of the season. Thanks.
Darnell Mayberry 11:27 a.m. I think as long as the Thunder can avoid it the team will for as long as it can to delay the repeater clock. But the notion that this team will never pay the tax is bogus. At some point in the near future the Thunder will.
Nathan 11:27 a.m. Do you see the thunder making a trade by the deadline or staying put with the roter that they have? Also what is the news with Grant Jerrett will he ever be called up from the D-leauge and signed by the thunder
Darnell Mayberry 11:28 a.m. Grant Jerrett is a good name to bring up on the heels of the previous question. He's a possible addition next year that can help the Thunder fill out the roster but remain under the tax. I'm not saying that's what the team would or should do. But it's one route.
Darnell Mayberry 11:29 a.m. For the Thunder to call up Jerrett, he has to be signed. I don't see that happening this year. He's been injured recently, an ankle, I believe, and might be a few years away from being ready to contribute.
Tim 11:29 a.m. Who do you think the next player to 'break out' will be on the Thunder's roster? (Either this year or next) Sort of like Reggie Jackson in last year's playoffs.
Darnell Mayberry 11:30 a.m. I still don't think people know how good Jeremy Lamb is. I'll go with him.
harry man 11:30 a.m. good chance thunder up will go 0-2 before the break...
Darnell Mayberry 11:31 a.m. With that said, there's now a good chance the Thunder goes 2-0 in these next two.
Guest 11:31 a.m. This has probably been asked a million and one times, but should the Thunder acquire a 3 point shooter or make a trade in order to put them over the top in the playoff race.
Darnell Mayberry 11:33 a.m. Should they? Absolutely. Will they? That's where it gets a little dicey. There'a already a minute crunch coming for capable guys like Fisher, Jones and Adams when Westbrook returns. Bringing in another guy who'll be hard pressed to get real minutes might not be the route Presti wants to go. But I've always contended that having a sharp-shooting specialist on the bench for situational moments is extremely valuable. He doesn't have to be in the rotation. That guy just needs to be on the bench.
Darnell Mayberry 11:33 a.m. *(Or on the roster, rather)*
Mike 11:33 a.m. How does Westbrook look to you??? Is he limping??
Darnell Mayberry 11:34 a.m. Nope. Not one bit. He looks like he could go out and get a triple-double tonight. I have no doubt all this time is purely precautionary and rest to ensure the swelling doesn't return.
Kendrick Perkins 11:34 a.m. Don't put me in coach vs Miami i don't matchup up with them... But please don't trade mee
Darnell Mayberry 11:34 a.m. I agree with this...unless the right deal comes along.
AussieSooner 11:34 a.m. Ok Darnell, its a bit early to start talking draft strategy but who do you think the Thunder are eye balling?
Darnell Mayberry 11:35 a.m. Best available player.
harry man 11:35 a.m. Ok lost to orlando friday night and beat Knicks a bad team 112-110..You think thunder up is playing good ball...I say against terrible teams, you should win easy..but
Darnell Mayberry 11:35 a.m. You can't beat everybody. Would you rather them beat the bad teams easily and lose to the good teams?
Joe 11:36 a.m. I read somewhere that the Thunder don't have a player with a good catch and shoot 3 pointer. They also don't have a scoring center. The Thunder seem to be doing alright without these two elements. Are they working on improving either of these stats? Developing current players or acquiring new ones? Do they even need to?
Darnell Mayberry 11:38 a.m. Of course, both of those things would help. But not many teams have a good low-post scoring center. And if the Thunder had one, it's likely somebody else would have to go because of financial reasons. The 3-point shooting has been among the best in the league the last 12 games, if not the best. Derek Fisher's hot streak has a lot to do with that. If he can keep that up, and if Thabo can join him, the 3-point shooting will be much less of a concern going forward.
Matt 11:38 a.m. Westbrook tweeted "well, well, well..." way earlier today. Ominous?
Darnell Mayberry 11:38 a.m. My advice would be to avoid trying to figure out what's going on in that young man's head.
Tim 11:38 a.m. What do you think about CBS having Steven Adams 2nd in the Rookie of the Year race?
Darnell Mayberry 11:39 a.m. Hadn't seen that. I'll have to look at it. It's a credit to Adams and the work he's put in. That's awesome that he's seen in that light.
Josh 11:39 a.m. Does winning this blazers game tonight matter as long as we have a higher seed then them?
Darnell Mayberry 11:40 a.m. No. It only will matter if the teams end up tied. That's when the 2-2 split would come in handy over a 3-1 series loss. But, like you said, if the Thunder finishes with a better record it won't matter either way.
Guest 11:40 a.m. Any predictions on tonight's game?
Darnell Mayberry 11:42 a.m. Thunder has been playing great. Blazers haven't (5-6 in their last 11). But I'm going to go the opposite direction and say that will play into Portland's hands. I like them tonight. Not saying they will win. But I think the Blazers are more desperate for a win to get back to playing well going into the break.
Guest 11:42 a.m. What will be the main difference from now when Russ comes back
Darnell Mayberry 11:42 a.m. Energy. You will never see this team struggle with energy the rest of the season.
thebrickman 11:43 a.m. Stotts has been having Batum defend the opposition's point guard. Against the Thunder, that leaves Lilliard or Mathews to guard KD. Should the Blazers switch Batum to KD?. That seems best to me, IMHO. This tilt tonight has the makings of a dandy!
Darnell Mayberry 11:43 a.m. I'd be stunned if he didn't start Batum on KD and keep him on Durant as much as possible. Matthews is a good defender, but he's no match for KD. And the Blazers can't afford to let KD get going early.
shane 11:43 a.m. What do you think the mindset will be for the oklahoma state cowboys basketball team tonight without marcus smart
Darnell Mayberry 11:44 a.m. Seems to be an obvious rallying cry.
Andrew 11:44 a.m. Why didn't you ever respond to Perk calling you a snake in the grass? It seems like all of the media under the news ok umbrella were told to not report on it. COME ON DARNELL! WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?!
Darnell Mayberry 11:45 a.m. Respond how? You want me to lay out a challenge for a three-round boxing match? What is there to say?
Matt 11:45 a.m. Olympic men's hockey starts this week. Who you got?
Darnell Mayberry 11:46 a.m. Who are my options? Lol.
Guest 11:46 a.m. Do the Thunder acquire a 3 point shooter or make a trade for one in order to put them over the top in the title race?
Darnell Mayberry 11:46 a.m. I think we'd be kidding ourselves if we think any move this team makes will "put them over the top." But, yes, I think the Thunder makes some kind of deal. A minor one.
tom 11:47 a.m. Can an offensive "system" consisting of 3 players playing a 2 man game (KD/Russ, KD/Ibaka, Ibaka/Russ) go far in the playoffs?
Darnell Mayberry 11:47 a.m. It has in the past with this team. So yes. Can it win a title? That remains to be seen.
Jon Hamm 11:47 a.m. I sometimes wonder if some Thunder fans have watched only the Miami game this season...
Darnell Mayberry 11:49 a.m. Jon Hamm, ladies and gentlemen. If you haven't heard his guest spot on our second-to-last Thunder Buddies podcast consider your lunch plans set. You won't regret it....Perkins will continue to be the most polarizing player on this team for as long as he's on this team.
Luis Puerto Rico 11:49 a.m. #NbaTradeDeadLine do you see Thunder trading somebody? I heard you telling Antony Slater that you think Sam Presti is going to make a move..
Darnell Mayberry 11:51 a.m. Five things Presti's got: 1) a $2 million trade exception that expires, I believe, the day after the deadline, 2) an available low-dollar contract that can be packaged in Hasheem Thabeet, 3) need, 4) potentially two late-first round draft picks and 5) an itchy trigger finger.
Guest 11:52 a.m. I am not sure Presti is going to make a move by the trade deadline. What are the chances we stay pat. No Perk amnisty, continue to draft and develope young talent,sign Reggie this summer, and maybe bring in Pliess and get rid of Sefalosha and Thabeet
Darnell Mayberry 11:52 a.m. All quite likely as well.
Mark 11:52 a.m. What do you think the odds are that OKC is a little short-handed against Miami on Feb.20 due to making a deal earlier in the day?
Darnell Mayberry 11:53 a.m. Zero percent. Whoever might be traded won't be in the 10-man rotation. So I can't see them being short-handed.
tom 11:53 a.m. It seems like a big part of the OKC system is getting guys young and developing them in the Thunder's culture. How old would a head case need to be before the Thunder think he's not worth the risk? Would they consider trading for a guy like Dion Waters at this stage of his career? (Theoretically speaking - not a specific trade scenario)
Darnell Mayberry 11:54 a.m. I think it's more about where that guy would play. There's zero minutes on this team for a guy like that.
Nathan 11:54 a.m. Do you see the thunder signing grant jerrett to a contract or un trading for any draft picks due to the fact that thabo is on the trading block?
Darnell Mayberry 11:54 a.m. No.
Darnell Mayberry 11:54 a.m. Not this season.
Leah 11:54 a.m. Thunder players attend thunder games once in awhile, when they can. it'll be hard for KD this summer, because of USA basketball, but even he's made the trip to tulsa.
Darnell Mayberry 11:55 a.m. I assume you mean Shock games. But that doesn't mean the rest of the country is interested. It's unfortunate that it's like that. But that's the way it is.
kk 11:55 a.m. how confident are you the RW is going to be the same when he comes back?
Darnell Mayberry 11:55 a.m. No doubt in my mind.
Carlos 11:56 a.m. Your starting lineup vs Miami Feb 20
Darnell Mayberry 11:56 a.m. Same. But I'd have a short leash on Perk.
Guest 11:56 a.m. What ceiling do you think Jeremy Lamb can reachHe has the athletic tools defensively, and with more minutes i see his offensive game improving.
Darnell Mayberry 11:57 a.m. I really like him. I said that the night the trade went down. I think he's a potential star. And playing alongside Westbrook and Durant is only going to make him better.
Guest 11:57 a.m. it's a long NBA season, but the recent slip ups at Washington and Orlando seemed to have in common a lack of defensive intensity. Any Concerns? Can the playoffs start already?
Darnell Mayberry 11:57 a.m. I wouldn't read too much into them. I mean, 13 of 15 (or whatever it is now) ain't bad.
Bassi 11:58 a.m. With Lamb and Reggie constantly improving (assuming they continue to do so) do the Thunder have enough cap to sign them long term with the amount of money committed long term to KD, Russ, Serge.
Darnell Mayberry 11:59 a.m. Yes. Perk will be off the books by the time their contracts kick in. The question we need to be asking is whether the Thunder has enough to keep Adams if Reggie and Lamb are re-signed.
Mr. Utley 11:59 a.m. Forcing nicknames on KD is ridiculous, so, I'll throw one in JUST BECAUSE... He always talks about wanting to "be a light", so how about something with some duality to it, like "TORCH". He can catch fire on the court and be a beacon of goodness off of it. I think it fits him better than others and has more potential...
Darnell Mayberry 12:00 p.m. Not the best I've heard. But not bad, either. Thanks for the suggestion. Now can you do anything about those half-hearted MVP chants inside The Peake?
Guest 12:00 p.m. what would the right deal be to trade Perk?
Darnell Mayberry 12:01 p.m. I don't think there is a right deal. Because if you trade him, you immediately have a hole in the middle. Steven Adams, in my opinion, is not ready to be the starting center on a championship team. And nobody is going to give you a quality center for Perkins. So I don't see that deal out there.
Guest 12:01 p.m. If you are Presti, do you trade Thabo while his stock is up and move Roberson into his position. Personally, I'm a Thabo fan, however I hear more and more about him leaving in free agency anyways.
Darnell Mayberry 12:03 p.m. I'd be stunned if Presti traded him. And I'd also consider it a huge mistake (depending on what he gets in return). If Thabo walks in free agency, he walks. But this team just might be the favorite (or close to it) to winning it all. You don't tinker with that by trading away a core piece.
Leah 12:03 p.m. Sunday, westbrook was wearing glasses without lenses!
Darnell Mayberry 12:03 p.m. And suddenly, all is right with the word.
Cameron 12:03 p.m. Why don't we just ship Westbrook and Ibaka to Miami for LeBron. Starting five of Jackson, Thabo, LBJ, KD, and Perk/Adams. Game over. Let's start a crazy rumor right now.
Darnell Mayberry 12:04 p.m. Get it posted on Yahoo! Sports and you're in business.
Mark 12:04 p.m. If the Thunder win the title, does the "Harden trade was a bad move" talk die with the victory? Gosh I hope so...
Darnell Mayberry 12:04 p.m. If it doesn't, whoever keeps it going is an idiot. But I can hear it now..."THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN THEIR SECOND TITLE AND THEY WOULD BE ON THEIR WAY TO BEING A DYNASTY" Gimme a break.
Swayze 12:04 p.m. Any news/chance on Mo Cheeks returning to OKC in some capacity. From all reports, he was a great mentor for GOATbrook.
Darnell Mayberry 12:05 p.m. No chance.
Bryan 12:05 p.m. Do you think the Thunder will change their half court offensive strategy when Steven Adams eventually is the full time starter? Meaning, will he just be a stand in for Perkins now, or do you see them working some low post offense into the mix? I can't tell if Scotty would work in some new offensive sets or not.
Darnell Mayberry 12:05 p.m. Lol. I'm with you, Bryan. Who knows? Brooks is a big believer in what they do now, as if it can't be better. So I don't know.
Barry Amenema 12:06 p.m. Has anybody asked you yet whether or not OKC should go for a 3-point shooter before the trade deadline?
Darnell Mayberry 12:06 p.m. Nah. First I've heard of it.
Glitch 12:06 p.m. What's your highest score in Flappy Bird?
Darnell Mayberry 12:06 p.m. Can't stop playing Candy Crush long enough to give it a try.
Matt 12:06 p.m. C'mon man, Olympics! Canada, Russian and USA are favored, but you can't count out the Swedes (flash) or Fins (arguably the best goaltending) or Czechs (Jagr). Obviously I'm USA all the way, but, if I'm using my head, Canada and Russia.
Darnell Mayberry 12:06 p.m. I just let out the biggest yawn ever. Wish you could have heard it.
guilherme 12:07 p.m. westbrook to houston lin/asik to okc what do you think
Darnell Mayberry 12:07 p.m. Another one for the front page of Yahoo! Sports.
Jon Hamm 12:07 p.m. You are a gentleman and a scholar.
Darnell Mayberry 12:07 p.m. See what happens when the checks clear, people?
Thunder Brasil 12:08 p.m. Any thoughts on Sam Presti being the GM od the year ?
Darnell Mayberry 12:08 p.m. I'm sure it'll be somebody else.
kk 12:08 p.m. is it safe to say that eventhough sometimes it seems kd is annoyed with reggie, they still have a good relationship??
Darnell Mayberry 12:09 p.m. Yes. Apparently not seen in those awkward moments is how they generally talk it out immediately afterward and either give each other five or KD pats Reggie on the head (a favorite move of KD by the way. I swore he was almost took Perk's head off last game. Anybody else see that?)
Thunder Brasil 12:10 p.m. Till this season I use to defend OKC crowd like one of the bests os NBA World. But come on, what about these MVP chants ? Looks like KD has to make a 50-point game every night for deserving it. Do they really know how long a team can wait to have an MVP again ?
Darnell Mayberry 12:10 p.m. Some people think the chat is lame. A few people in the arena have desperately tried to get it going. I just don't understand why more don't do it. It's not lame if it's true!
Guest 12:11 p.m. I remember watching the Knicks game where KD misses 5 free throws,do u think he did that on purpose because of the MVP chants??
Darnell Mayberry 12:11 p.m. Of course not.
Guest 12:11 p.m. What level are you on? (Candy Crush)
Darnell Mayberry 12:12 p.m. Just finished 230. Can you help me unlock the next level? Pleeeeeeeease.
Thunder Brasil 12:12 p.m. Does Brooks tries other plays for crunch time ? I´ve seen the same for the past... 4 years.
Darnell Mayberry 12:12 p.m. He's mixed it up, especially this year.
Tim 12:12 p.m. Matt Bonner for the KD. Straight up.
Darnell Mayberry 12:13 p.m. A 3-point shooting specialist!!! Do it, Presti!
kk 12:13 p.m. I'm loving the bench's pregame handshakes? they've really picked it up!
Darnell Mayberry 12:14 p.m. Got off to a slow start this season. But you're right, it's picked up lately.
Guest 12:14 p.m. Do u think KD doesn't like the MVP chants becoz it's very distracting?
Darnell Mayberry 12:14 p.m. I'll have to ask him. I don't know. I would say he's probably used to them, but...
Guest 12:14 p.m. so if we can't extend all three jackson, adam, lamb which 2 is it? i say adams and lamb just because of position needs
Darnell Mayberry 12:14 p.m. I agree.
Tim 12:15 p.m. It was a mistake, but I'm going to now refer to Kevin Durant as THE KD from now on.
Darnell Mayberry 12:15 p.m. All yours.
Darnell Mayberry 12:15 p.m. Thanks for joining us today. We'll do it again next week. Enjoy the game tonight.
NewsOK Sports 12:16 p.m. Thanks for joining the chat today. For more Thunder talk, check out the Thunder Buddies Podcast with Darnell Mayberry and Anthony Slater:
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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