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Thunder chat: Anthony Slater talks headlines, Berry Tramel's column and Thunder-Grizzlies Game 6

by Anthony Slater Published: May 1, 2014

Anthony Slater 11:02 a.m. Ok, let's get started
Guest 11:02 a.m. That Mr. Unreliable article was so stupid. Yes, he's having a bad series.. Like bad. But I feel like people in the media are reacting just as fast as fans are. Putting an article like that out there sure is gonna make KD commit to staying here long term. KD has made OKC what it is. Writing an article talking about his struggles is perfectly warranted, but calling him Mr. unreliable.. A bit far-fetched.
Anthony Slater 11:05 a.m. First off, the article written by Berry Tramel was very level-headed and fair:
Nobody seems to want to talk about that.
But as far as the headline goes, I can't speak for who wrote it, but I assume it's strictly based on this series. He's labored through four straight overtime games, shooting 36 percent, turning it over too much and struggling in big moments. Still the MVP. Still the 2nd best player in the world. Still a transcendent star that this city is lucky to have playing for it.
Brian Newell 11:05 a.m. Remind me again, how do I transfer my talent back to KD?
Anthony Slater 11:06 a.m. Be right back, have to read up on the plot of Thunderstruck
Guest 11:06 a.m. It doesn't change anything, but Javie and Crawford were wrong. Read the rule:
CIV 11:06 a.m. "During any overtime period, common fouls charged as team fouls in excess of three, will be penalized by one free throw plus a penalty free throw attempt." The scoreboard was correct to reflect 4 fouls b/c it was an OT bonus situation.
Anthony Slater 11:08 a.m. The whole Joey Crawford situation has been completely overrated. KD even said it himself after the game, calling it a little strange "but I gotta make the free throw". Exactly. I'm not sure why Crawford was so overzealous and animated, but, well, I'm not surprised. But that didn't TAKE the free throw away from KD. Just delayed it. He's 90 percent from the line. Gotta hit it.
Guest 11:08 a.m. Is Barry Trammel really that damn stupid
Wowza 11:08 a.m. Explain Tramel's reasoning.
Anthony Slater 11:10 a.m. Writers often, almost never, write their own headlines. Especially not the ones that appear in the print version. I know for a fact Berry didn't write the headline. Instead, he wrote a very fair, balance, well-written and factual article (right here: like he always does.
Mark 11:10 a.m. After free agency, who wins a title first: KD in New York or RW in LA?
Anthony Slater 11:10 a.m. The optimism is brewing today.
Boerner 11:10 a.m. What are the chances we see ANYTHING different from Brooks in this game? Really would be happy with him just trying anything else.
Anthony Slater 11:12 a.m. We'll see. He's definitely been slow to adjust in this series. I'd like to see more of an effort to get and keep Serge Ibaka involved. He's been shooting near 60 percent all series, but seems to basically get ignored late in games. His mid-range is one of the best shots this team can get and he's adept in other ways. That's an easy adjustment that should be made.
Guest 11:12 a.m. Complaining to officials is the only player development I can see in Adams. I believe he has more to learn to be as good as Perk in that regard, but if he does do you think he will get more playing time?
Anthony Slater 11:15 a.m. Yeah, Adams hasn't had the year it looked he'd have after dropping 17 and 10 on the Pistons in the first week. But in some ways, it was to be expected. He's still a 20-year-old project center, who has only been playing basketball for about six years. Grew up in New Zealand loving rugby. The future is bright as the likely starting center, but right now, I can understand why he's getting limited minutes in this series. Still like to see a few more for him though.
Guest 11:15 a.m. Do you think okc would trade lamb or mayb pj3 ?
Anthony Slater 11:16 a.m. I doubt Lamb, unless they really liked the package in return, but PJ3 I could see. He's in a logjam at that forward spot and I could see a team shelling out a late 1st/early 2nd for him. And we know how much Sam Presti loves draft picks.
JROD 11:16 a.m. So Tramel wasn't fond of my suggestion yesterday that PJ3 be given some minutes in this series, stating that his defense has been abysmal all year. I disagree. I recall him giving Lebron fits this year. I recall him giving a lot of players fits on the perimeter this year with his length. Why not give Jones some minutes vs Memphis, especially on a guy like Miller? Jackson or Fisher on Miller is worthless. Miller is unaffected by a hand in his face. He needs a true contest to his shot. Jones can provide this. Jones can also be a sleeper on offense. At this point our defense is so shotty it surely can't hurt to try!
Anthony Slater 11:18 a.m. PJ3 is a unique kind of defender. A guy that can bother big and quick wings (like LeBron). But the Grizzlies just aren't the right matchup for him. Too much bulk, too methodical a style. He just doesn't fit.
Guest 11:18 a.m. Do you think people are making the "mr.unreliable" bigger than wat it really is
Anthony Slater 11:18 a.m. Yes
harry man 11:18 a.m. so game 5 is in the books. game 6 tonight..a tired-wore down thunder up team...grizz 113-thunder up 109..go start the bus thunder ends in memphis unless THABEET plays
NOT harry man 11:18 a.m. Thunder Up in 7!
Anthony Slater 11:18 a.m. I'll let you two handle this
Guest 11:19 a.m. What do you think are the odds of a coaching change if the Thunder go on to lose to Memphis?
Anthony Slater 11:21 a.m. Unlikely, but there's certainly a possibility. Internal talks will be had. I think he'd get another year, but this could be a defining series that eventually leads to a change. In 2012, they lost to a better team in the Finals. In 2013, they were a 60-win team derailed by a freak injury. But this year? They're fully healthy and viewed as the favorite in the West. The talent is there, just hasn't been reigned in during this series. It'd be a nightmare first-round exit.
Guest 11:22 a.m. If OKC had a big strong player who could play post and score would Westbrook or Durant feed the ball to him? I say Ibaka fits that mold.
Anthony Slater 11:23 a.m. Ibaka is more of a pick/pop, pick/roll big man. He's athletic and a good shooter, but hasn't shown enough development in the post-up game. I actually think the Thunder's two best post options are Westbrook and Durant, in that order. Westbrook powers through smaller guards and KD has a guy seven inches shorter guarding him right now. I'd like to see more of that.
Guest 11:23 a.m. Do yiu thunk the young guys will get some playing time tonight? Like Adams lamb
Anthony Slater 11:23 a.m. Adams some (like 5-10 minutes tops). Lamb doubtful. Hasn't played a meaningful minute in the series, don't see Brooks changing that up now.
Guest 11:24 a.m. Why don't you guys (OK media) go after Brooks or even ask Brook questions? Brooks' post-game comments are blah, blah, blah! Yes, you will defend the Oklahoman's side.
Anthony Slater 11:25 a.m. Just because Brooks answers are blah, blah, blah doesn't mean the questions are. And we had a long discussion in the middle of this podcast about Brooks and his job security. Take a listen if you'd like:
Guest 11:26 a.m. Would you start Reggie over Thabo tonight?
Anthony Slater 11:26 a.m. No, Thunder need some offensive punch off the bench. Reggie will still get his minutes and, if he's on, will likely be on the court down the stretch.
G-Love 11:27 a.m. Why is KD taking the flak, but the media is not criticizing Westbrook's obession with killing our momentum or Scott "bail me out" Brooks whose playbook I believe is a note saying let KD and Westbrook do their own thing and have no established offensive system in his 6 years coaching
Anthony Slater 11:29 a.m. We've talked plenty about Westbrook's spotty and erratic play (right here: and Scott Brooks job security (right here: We've covered this team from every angle all postseason. I'm sorry if one headline has masked that.
Guest65 11:30 a.m. Why don't you guys (OKC media) go after Brooks
Guest 11:31 a.m. First off, I think the blame for how bad the Thunder are playing goes like this Brooks-75%, Durant/Westbrook/Presti 25%
Anthony Slater 11:32 a.m. Brooks needs to make proper adjustments. He certainly needs to get blame for this series. And he's gotten his fair share of criticism. But the NBA is a players league, dominated by stars. The Thunder has two of them. It's Brooks job to reign them in a bit. But it's also their job to perform well during the season's best moments. By any measure, neither have played well in this series. Both remain top-10 players in the world and, with that talent, comes scrutiny.
nick 11:33 a.m. Brooks job is to put his guys in the right place, to make KD/RW job easier… He does not do that.!
Anthony Slater 11:34 a.m. In some ways, especially in this series, I agree. And I can't believe he's allowing Westbrook to jack up contested, off-balance 3s like he's Steph Curry. RW is shooting 18% from deep in the playoffs, yet he's taken 38, two more than Kyle Korver.
Gabe 11:34 a.m. The Oklahoman did this to sell papers and get people talking and coming to chats. They are trying to make and create the news and not report on it. Oklahoman is down to Skip Bayless level.
Guest 11:34 a.m. Anthony why won't you respond to requests that you comment on the headline?
Wowza 11:35 a.m. Someone has to be responsible for the title though...
Gabe 11:35 a.m. Big Cities don't throw their stars under the bus like the Oklahoman did. You won't see a headline like that for Lebron. Oklahoman needs to stop making headlines to sell papers and just report on the stories.
Anthony Slater 11:41 a.m. Did I think the headline was a bit over the top? Probably. Do I think the backlash has been ridiculously over the top? Definitely. You won't find a person in the city, or at our paper, who thinks Kevin Durant's career hasn't been anything short of remarkable and truly a godsend for this community. But right now, in a vacuum, we're covering a series in which the soon-to-be (and deserved) MVP is struggling, frustrated and a bit lost. We wrote some fair articles driving that point home (just like the countless times we've wrote raving articles about his incredible play and attached adoring headlines to those -- you know, like the ones hanging in HIS restaurant). Whoever wrote the headline probably read Berry's column, which talked about KD's unreliability in THIS series and thought it would make a good hammer. Wasn't there, but I can all but guarantee there was no talk of selling papers and making the story about ourselves. In hindsight, maybe it was a bit unfair. But that part was unintended. Everyone needs to stop acting like there was some unholy act done.
Ryan Kearney 11:42 a.m. Am I crazy to think that Lamb could be doing some nice things in this series? Do you rate his ball handling and floater game?
Anthony Slater 11:43 a.m. I don't hate the idea of throwing him out there. We've seen he can be streaky at times this season. So maybe toss him into the fray, see if he can hit a few shots in a five-minute spurt and ride that wave. And if he doesn't, pull him.
Anthony Slater 11:43 a.m. Don't think that'll happen though.
Mark 11:44 a.m. Can we hope for maybe a little bit of spending in FA this summer or will Presti & co. disappoint the fan base once again?
Anthony Slater 11:46 a.m. I think the Thunder will spend this offseason. They tried to avoid the luxury tax like the plague this year, likely so they could stay away from the repeater clause. But the window is shrinking and I think they'll be willing dip into it over the next few years to go for it before KD/Westbrook's contracts come up. But we'll see.
Guest 11:46 a.m. We don't need to run KD off with those headlines. We are supposed to be the best fans! Unneeded at this time. Your messing his head up some more.
Anthony Slater 11:47 a.m. Quick point: Journalists aren't fans. Or at least aren't supposed to be.
Guest 11:47 a.m. Why do you think the Thunder play without any urgency from the tip? it seems to me that the grizzlies want it more...whatever that means.
Anthony Slater 11:48 a.m. It's a fair point. In this series, the Thunder has played too much in spurts. Fantastic defense, whirlwind offense for a five-minute burst, then terrible defense and stagnant offense for the next batch of minutes. It's a problem and one they must solve tonight.
harry man 11:49 a.m. I also think that the daily oklahoman writers all pick thunder up vs. miami for the title...WRONG...let's hear the truth SLATER
Anthony Slater 11:51 a.m. I picked Thunder v Heat in the Finals. Still think it's a possibility. But if you'll allow me to adjust my picks, I'd take the Grizzlies tonight and San Antonio in the West. But if OKC wins the next two I still think they're a nightmare matchup for the Spurs.
nick 11:52 a.m. Why have they not posted up Westbrook if he is their best post option?
Anthony Slater 11:52 a.m. That's a good question. Especially against a smaller guard like Mike Conley. I think it'd be a great option (and force RW to get away from the threes).
Guest 11:53 a.m. I think this is the time for durant to come out and have a lebron-like game 6, what do u think?
Anthony Slater 11:54 a.m. I think he is certainly capable of it. This remains one of the most skilled players of our generations who has a history of big games, even in the playoffs. I wouldn't be surprised if he drops 50 in a big win tonight. but in 10 playoff games, he's yet to solve the Grizzlies. It's a tough task against this defense.
Not Robbie Crauder 11:55 a.m. Can you play some minutes tonight, stretch the floor and make a couple of perimeter shots? Or have your skills from those pickup games in Sonoma State's rec center long gone?
Anthony Slater 11:56 a.m. If either Brooks or Joerger calls my name, I'll be ready. To everyone's dismay, I remain a free agent.
nick 11:56 a.m. are we done?
Anthony Slater 11:57 a.m. Nope. But a Game 6 date in The Grindhouse is daunting. A scary thought. But they won in there just last week, so if the Thunder can figure out a way to pull it out tonight, they then return home for a Game 7 in which they will be favored. This is still very much a series.
Alum in AZ 11:58 a.m. OT tonight?
Anthony Slater 11:58 a.m. Why not, right?
John 11:59 a.m. Mike Sherman made a terrific and humbled statement about the headline- well done:
Anthony Slater 11:59 a.m. Click the above link for a statement from The Oklahoman's sports editor on the headline.
Guest 11:59 a.m. I am outraged by the headline.
Anthony Slater 12:00 p.m. You don't say lol
Anthony Slater 12:00 p.m. We'll end it there. Thanks for all the great questions and spirited debate. Sorry for the questions I didn't get to. Who else is pumped for this game tonight? Should be a good one. Talk to you after.
by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as'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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