Former OU standout Stacey King will be at the Bulls-Thunder game at 7 p.m. Sunday, serving as the TV analyst on the Bulls telecast. The 46-year-old Lawton native, who won three NBA championships with Chicago, is in his sixth season as an analyst for the Bulls. He talked about the teams and answered other basketball questions
How do you assess the Bulls' season, playing without star guard Derrick Rose?
I think they have surprised a lot of people. At the beginning of the year, I think people probably discounted that this team would win 40 games. When you look at this team, their core group has been together now three seasons. So that in itself is a big deal. We got two All-Stars. We should have had three; (Carlos) Boozer should have been an All-Star. We got veteran players who know how to play. We got a great coach in Tom Thibodeau. His infrastructure and what he does as a coach and what he demands from his players hasn't changed with or without Derrick Rose. They're going to be a tough defensive team. They are going to get after teams every night and play hard for 48 minutes.
What's your impression of how the Thunder has done without James Harden?
I think it was a big blow for them. I think they're really going to miss James Harden, especially in the playoffs. You got a guy who could get his own shot. If Westbrook was struggling or you took him out of the game, you could play James Harden at point guard and he could be your distributor. He did a lot of things that a lot of people took for granted. He wasn't just a scorer. He could pretty much do it all. I like Kevin Martin. I think he's a phenomenal player. He's a great shooter. But there are some differences between him and Harden. Harden can take his man off the dribble pretty much at will. Martin needs people to set him up. ... Oklahoma City is still a good team because their core group of guys is there, but I think they will miss Harden when it comes down to the second or third round of the playoffs.
Do you blame the Thunder for not signing him?
I understand what Oklahoma City had to do because of this new Collective Bargaining Agreement. You don't want to go into the luxury tax. That was really tough for them because he's a young player. I just wish for the fans of Oklahoma that Oklahoma deserves a good basketball team. I'm a Sooner born and bred. Even though I'm up in Chicago and I do Bulls things, I like to see Oklahoma City do well. The fans, they have proved that they are loyal. They deserve it. I just wish that some of these athletes sometimes could take that into consideration when you're dealing with your contract situation, understanding that the market you're in — maybe it's not Chicago, New York or LA, these big city markets. But something has to be said about being in that hometown feel. Maybe I don't get $100 million, maybe I get $90 million, just to make it work to stay there and have a chance to win a championship with the guys that you came in with.
Does Kevin Durant have a chance to win the MVP award?
Unless they go on a tear in the second half where he is just like phenomenal. What LeBron James has done all year has been consistent — the points, the rebounds, the assists. He has single-handedly put a season together that few can match. He's probably a good distance ahead of Durant just because the fact that he does so many other different things. ... Right now he's at the Michael Jordan level. He has just completely distanced himself from the next closest guy. ... I love Kevin Durant, I think he's a great player, but I'm not a big fan of that ‘I'm going to visit LeBron James and work out with him.' I come from an era when we played, we didn't have friends. We weren't calling the Detroit Pistons and say, ‘Can we work out with you?'
Why are OU fans apathetic about basketball?
You know why. They are used to a style of play. We were the Thunder before the Thunder, my era (1985-89). Then you had Kelvin Sampson come in. Even though he had success there, it was boring basketball. Then you had (Jeff) Capel come in and you had a couple of years with Blake (Griffin). Other than that, it's been kind of boring. Now Lon Kruger has started to get them playing to more of an up-tempo game, more fan-friendly game.