Thunder chat: Darnell Mayberry answers what's causing the OKC slump

The Thunder is struggling, but Darnell Mayberry has the answers. Mayberry jumped on the Thunder chat today to take your questions. Here's the full transcript:
by Darnell Mayberry Modified: March 11, 2014 at 1:52 pm •  Published: March 11, 2014
/span> I don't know if he trusts players to play in rotations that he hasn't seen and studied for a significant amount of time. Most coaches are that way. But I think it stands out for Brooks because the Thunder hasn't been as successful with patchwork lineups through the years.
Thunder Jim 11:19 a.m. Darnell, has Scott Brooks ever given any reason why he has cut Nick Collison's minutes so much just to put the team back in a development mode playing young players who obviously don't get it particularly on the defensive end? You'd think they were tanking based on the sudden use of so many players with "potential". Nick should have been playing more even when he was getting 20 minutes a game. Now he's getting about 10-12 minutes. That is crazy! He played less than anyone in the Phoenix game, except Perry Jones by seconds, and that was only because PJ picked up 2 fouls in the first few minutes.
Darnell Mayberry 11:21 a.m. The Phoenix game, I could understand. Collison got in early foul trouble and the Suns were trotting out so many perimeter-oriented shooters that it didn't really make sense to have him out there. And you could argue that a lot of teams in this stretch have used similar personnel that really isn't conducive to Nick being on the floor. Still, because Brooks has played two bigs at times, that says there are minutes for Collison. And because this team's defense has been so bad, I'd rather have him in there than any of the other bigs at this point. But I'll try to ask Brooks before the game tonight to get his explanation.
Jim 11:21 a.m. I think we are seeing how vital Perk was calling the switches and rotations on defense. Who has Brooks assigned to that role in Kendricks absences? didn't look like anyone Sunday.
Darnell Mayberry 11:22 a.m. The team wants Steven Adams to improve in that area. But he has yet to be able to figure out how to be effective as a communicator. Serge could be better, too.
Guest 11:22 a.m. When are thabo and perk coming back???? Never thought I would say this...
Darnell Mayberry 11:24 a.m. I'm sitting here looking at both on the court right now doing some shooting. Perk's entire shirt is filled with sweat. And Thabo is not jumping but pushing off his toes while shooting stand-still shots. I don't want to say they're going to come back early. But they're doing an awful lot for two guys nursing nagging injuries.
Guest 11:25 a.m. Do you think Kevin durant is the mvp?
Darnell Mayberry 11:25 a.m. Yes. I think he's had a better overall season than LeBron.
Guest 11:25 a.m. I don't know what r u thinking darnell,KD is always looking for teammates,just because he passes and they lost doesn't mean he is stat padding. I m sorry if I sound rude
Darnell Mayberry 11:26 a.m. I'm not going to argue with you. Go back and watch how his game changed from the first quarter to the second quarter.
Al 11:26 a.m. Why our coach does not seems to get mad during games? I mean he should just call a time out when they are not defending anymore and sit who is playing for himself, no matter if it is Durant or Russ, just to give a sign.
Darnell Mayberry 11:27 a.m. Will that help? Or is it just for show? I'd rather him be himself.
Chuck 11:27 a.m. You speak of stat padding and some selfishness, that type of stuff has imploded teams before who dont have strong leaders. I dont know that Brooks is seen as a strong leader really as much as a players coach, what is your perspective?
Darnell Mayberry 11:29 a.m. I think he is a leader and a players coach.
Guest 11:29 a.m. Will they win tonight?
Darnell Mayberry 11:29 a.m. If I knew that, I wouldn't be doing this job.
Guest 11:29 a.m. Thabo and Perk for MVP!!
Darnell Mayberry 11:29 a.m. Settle down.
Guest 11:29 a.m. Over/under percentage that a Rocket will score 36+?
Darnell Mayberry 11:31 a.m. It's possible.
Thunder Jim 11:32 a.m. Scott needs to tear up his script and start playing the players that need to be on the court based on the situations they are in. Quit protecting egos and start trying to make this team the best it can be. I coached basketball for 25 years and watch every game. KD, Serge and Russell are bad defensively, especially off the ball! Defense is much more than a few blocked shots or steals per game.
Darnell Mayberry 11:33 a.m. But you'll agree, Jim, that coaching is also about managing personalities. And Brooks has done a great job of that.
Guest 11:33 a.m. I think tonight's game is the best game for the thunder. If they win,they will prove to the league that they can stop any team no matter how hot they are. If they lose,it's the good chance for them to reflect on themselves tho
Darnell Mayberry 11:34 a.m. In my mind, a loss can be accepted depending on the way it happens. If the Thunder gets back to playing defense, then you can live with a defeat. But if OKC loses and doesn't show any pride, that's a problem.
Guest 11:35 a.m. I m afraid Russ might try too much tonight again. It's gonna be very emotional for him and try too much and hurt the team
Darnell Mayberry 11:36 a.m. Yeah, I have the same thoughts. He was just asked whether he holds a grudge against Beverley and he said "nah." But then he grew agitated by a few follow-up questions. It told me he isn't over what happened last year and is taking this game and matchup personal. We'll see how he controls his emotions.
Guest 11:36 a.m. Tonight's a important game,who'll win?
Darnell Mayberry 11:36 a.m. The team that scores more points than the other. :)
Thunder Jim 11:37 a.m. The young players have gotten the message loud and clear, just as Russell and KD did early in their careers. The only way to get MORE minutes is SCORE. If you play tough D and work hard doing things to make your team better, your minutes WILL decrease. See Nick Collison! It's NOT what you say the counts Coach, it's what you emphasize. Saying you are a defensive team means nothing.
Darnell Mayberry 11:37 a.m. I disagree with that. Two words: Andre Roberson.
Ben 11:37 a.m. I think KD should shoot more, so that they can double team and then he can kick it to open shooter. He should hand the ball more just like he did when Westbrook was out. He will make a better decision.
Darnell Mayberry 11:38 a.m. That's an idea. I'd just like to see him be more aggressive in general. No matter how it happens.
Guest 11:38 a.m. I nvr thought that KD would stat padding but I know he is cautious about his field goal percentage. But I do not think he intentionally wants to get assists in that laker game
Darnell Mayberry 11:39 a.m. OK. Then please explain to me then why he took one shot in the final eight minutes of the second quarter while the Lakers were storming back. Then explain to me why that one shot came with 43 seconds left. And then explain to me why he didn't so much as get to the free throw line while all of that was going on.
Guest 11:39 a.m. Isit coincidental with Russ's return and thunder's struggles?
Darnell Mayberry 11:40 a.m. No. I think it's part of it. The team has to readjust. But it's not Westbrook's fault the team is struggling.
Scott brooks 11:40 a.m. Tonight we're letting Jeremy Lin having his career night,about 40+ points too
Darnell Mayberry 11:40 a.m. Lin? I put my money on Jordan Hamilton.
Guest 11:40 a.m. Why do you hate on arena music? IMO the worst atmospheres in the league are the arenas that don't play music, lulls in the game seem so lifeless with no music and good music really amps up important parts of the game. I like San Antonio's arena in game music the best because I like all of the classic rock they play
Darnell Mayberry 11:42 a.m. Well, "good music" is subjective for one. But to answer your question, my beef is not the music itself. It's the non-stop noise that the team feels needs to be played. It's annoying (again, subjective). But most importantly, this is one of the best crowds in the league. Let the crowd manufacture noise organically. Stop piping it in.
Guest 11:42 a.m. Do you think he'll end up winning the mvp award, or will lebron finish the year off strong and take it?
Darnell Mayberry 11:44 a.m. I talked to one writer in L.A. who said he's voting for LeBron. He thinks LeBron is the best player, not this season, but period. So voters all have their own definition of what the award symbolizes. So it could be a close one.
Guest 11:44 a.m. Why no A Rob in laker game???
Darnell Mayberry 11:44 a.m. Good question.
Guest 11:44 a.m. Do any players admit about stat padding?
Darnell Mayberry 11:46 a.m. Sometimes. Like, for instance, when players purposely don't take halfcourt shots at the end of quarters, or let them fly just after the buzzer. Some are candid about why they're doing that. They're protecting their percentages. Others sugarcoat it and act like they just didn't get it off in time. But stat-padding is a very real thing in this league. Anyone who doesn't think so is either naive or kidding themselves.
Over reacting 11:46 a.m. If the thunder lose in the 2nd round of the playoffs this year(with everyone healthy) is Scott Brooks still the coach next year?
Darnell Mayberry 11:46 a.m. Yes.
-Q 11:46 a.m. If Houston can't find a way to beat the Thunder without Thabo on Harden & Perk on Howard then that just solidifies Houston as a 'pretender' in the West right?
Darnell Mayberry 11:47 a.m. I wouldn't go that far. That would seem to be pretty reactionary if you come to that conclusion based on one game. Let's see how it plays out.
Darnell Mayberry 11:48 a.m. But with that being said, the Rockets are a lot like the Clippers to me. They could lose in the first round or go all the way to the Western Conference Finals, maybe even the Finals. Depends on matchups and how they come together in the postseason.
Guest 11:48 a.m. Will thunder still finish with an improved record then before? If so,they need to go at least 15-4 in the next 19 games
Darnell Mayberry 11:49 a.m. I said on our Google hangout Thursday afternoon before the Phoenix that it would be tough. And two losses since have only made it tougher. I can't see it at this point.
Guest 11:49 a.m. What's the difference between a coach and a player coach? Sorry if it sounds stupid but I heard that a lot but Idk what it means
Darnell Mayberry 11:53 a.m. I suppose most would argue that a "coach" is a guy like Rick Carlisle or Rick Adelman or Gregg Popovich or Tom Thibodeau, guys who do whatever needs to be done to win without buddies with players and largely disregarding their feelings on matters. A "players coach" then is someone like Brooks or Mark Jackson, guys who cater more to players and do more to keep their spirits high while also trying to win games...if that makes sense.
Thunder Jim 11:53 a.m. Time for coaching staff to hold players accountable. Seems like that doesn't happen much in NBA with a few exceptions, and never in OKC.
Darnell Mayberry 11:54 a.m. See what I mean.
Tim 11:54 a.m. I saw your tweet about Perk helping Adams with Dwight tonight. Do veteran players help out younger players at the same position to improve their skills? Or is it kind of a 'get better on your own' thing? I think Adams could learn a lot defensively from Perk, and offensively from Collison, but I didn't know if things like that happened in the NBA.
Darnell Mayberry 11:55 a.m. They happen a lot. Watch a guy like Derek Fisher when he's on the bench. The guy never stops talking. He's always trying to help someone. You just have to have the right people, and the Thunder is one of the teams that make it a point to have the right kind of people.
Guest 11:55 a.m. I think james might score 50 tonight
Darnell Mayberry 11:55 a.m. I can't wait to see who guards him.
Guest 11:55 a.m. Why does it seem at the end of games our offence seems to change, there seems to be no passing or limited passing and we end up playing one on one. I am not saying that every shot taken by westbrook or durant at the end of games are bad shots, but our offence does not flow the same as the middle of the first or fourth quarters.
Darnell Mayberry 11:57 a.m. Most teams that have great scorers see their offenses become isolation-heavy in the final minutes. That's just the NBA. But, you're right, the Thunder rarely moves the ball around in those situations. Some of that is a good thing. You'd rather have the ball in Westbrook or Durant's hands than Jackson or Ibaka in late-game situations. But the biggest problem with that, and I've said this for years, is it becomes predictable and easier (still tough) to defend.
Guest 11:58 a.m. I think Scott brooks can make a player better but can't fully utilize their talent. If Scott brooks and pop worked together....
Darnell Mayberry 11:58 a.m. Pop has done pretty good for himself.
Guest 11:58 a.m. Thunder needs to get their sh*t together if they wanna win a chip
Darnell Mayberry 11:58 a.m. Lot of time between now and June.
Jim 11:59 a.m. I always felt one of the key reasons for the Thunder's early progress was a motto of Scotty Brooks that I heard him say more than once. He would say, "It's hard to play good, but it's easy to play hard." He needs to stress that point and get his team back into that mindset. Sometimes you have to take it back to get where you want to go.
Darnell Mayberry 12:00 p.m. Very good point, Jim. And we haven't heard that in a while. Now is a great time to get back to that mindset.
Thunder Jim 12:00 p.m. I think being more concerned with managing personalities than making your team play at a championship level, protects your job, at least for now. I realize that if a coach makes his players angry, especially his stars, he will get fired because management can't fire the stars.
Darnell Mayberry 12:02 p.m. Exactly. So if you're in that seat, what do you do, protect your job and win 55-60 games a year, or risk losing the players to do any and everything to, maybe, win a championship? It's a tricky situation.
Blindman 12:02 p.m. Too much "knee jerk" reaction from the Press. ie, Thunder coach being fired, selfish players... all media hype.
Darnell Mayberry 12:02 p.m. Ironic that you logged on as "Blindman."
Guest 12:03 p.m. You seem to be really bothered by KD not shooting much in the second quarter and overpassing
Darnell Mayberry 12:05 p.m. I'm not bothered by that in and of itself. It was disappointing to see. What I'm bothered by is him standing by while the Lakers were storming back. Call his play in that quarter what you will. But there's no reason for him to stand by and do nothing while a team as bad as the Lakers were cutting an 18-point deficit to two. My question to you is why would that not bother you? You're the Thunder fan. Not me.
Tory 12:05 p.m. Do you think after being embarrassed the last few games for lack of D & letting these teams hang around, the Thunder will recommit to defense? Especially on the perimeter where they've been getting killed at
Darnell Mayberry 12:06 p.m. I would have thought they would have done that after Clippers game, then maybe after the Cavs game, then maybe after the Suns game. I'm still waiting.
Thunder Jim 12:07 p.m. Speaking of non-stop noise, somebody needs to tell Brian Davis to stop talking so much. He's not on radio where "dead air" is a crisis. Let the game speak for itself some.
Darnell Mayberry 12:07 p.m. People from the Thunder read this chat. I'm sure you've been heard.
Guest 12:07 p.m. Are people melting down in Indy right now? Do most people around here realize the Heat and Pacers are stinking it up right now as well? The Thunder,Pacers and Heat won't continue to play this poorly and conversely the Clips and Rox won't continue to play at their unconcscious level as well
Darnell Mayberry 12:12 p.m. For the record, I hate comparisons like these. They make no sense whatsoever to me, just like certain people think it's unfair to compare the Thunder to teams like the Spurs and Bulls, two tough-minded teams that withstand adversity for different reasons. And Miami has two rings. The Heat have been to the Finals the last three years. The Thunder hasn't proven anything. Indiana, meanwhile, lost to Golden State, Charlotte, Houston and Dallas, all playoff teams. The Thunder is losing to teams like Cleveland and the Lakers and blowing double-digit leads. I for one see a difference there.
Guest 12:12 p.m. That guy that said Brooks doesn't get angry must not have seen the times where Brooks almost breaks his hand calling a time out and storming onto the court after another runout or wide open shot by the other team. Brooks gets angry a lot, he just doesn't rant and rave
Darnell Mayberry 12:13 p.m. Right. He does that a lot. And does it make a difference? Hasn't lately. That's my point. So why do it more if you're only trying to put on a show. I'd prefer to see him do something to get this team out of it as opposed to huff and puff.
Guest 12:13 p.m. Darnell, how much of the bench's offensive struggles can be attributed to Westbrook's minutes restriction. It seems like Reggie is caught in no man's land, never able to assert himself over Russ or KD.
Darnell Mayberry 12:15 p.m. That could have something to do with it. But Jeremy Lamb's drop off has been costly. Jackson hasn't been consistent. And the bench has had to readjust to having Jackson back.
Guest 12:15 p.m. Darnell,did the thunder have such bad defensive issues before?lets not count the first two years
Darnell Mayberry 12:15 p.m. Post defense and rebounding were huge problems before Perk came. Even then, what we're seeing now is as bad as the D has been in recent years.
Guest 12:15 p.m. Can u talk to coach brooks to hint to let Russ or KD guard james harden? If james gets hot and one of them doesn't guard him....
Darnell Mayberry 12:16 p.m. ...then I'll blame that on KD or Russ and not Brooks. As stars and leaders on this team, one of those two need to take the challenge without their coach assigning it to them.
Guest 12:16 p.m. The Thunder can have some dead crowds at times. I think the music makes it more enjoyable, but they could switch it up and add new music and retire some of the older stuff.
Darnell Mayberry 12:17 p.m. Good point. I agree.
former bulls fan 12:18 p.m. Do you feel that if you are too negative about the team you may not get access to players? I ask this as I have heard Jim Traber complain that he does not get any Thunder players on the Dominace hour with him and Al because they have been to critical. I am not saying I want you to be critical, but as a KC Royals fan I have heard the same thing from some of there beat writers.
Darnell Mayberry 12:19 p.m. It's always a fine line beat writers have to walk. Being critical has it's repercussions. But my philosophy is to always tell it like it is. When this team is playing great, I write it. When it is playing poorly, I write that, too.
Guest 12:20 p.m. If the beat writers and other writers don't write about the ills of the team, they would think everything is honky dory, any comment?
Darnell Mayberry 12:21 p.m. I don't agree with that. They know when they're not playing well. But that doesn't mean they don't want to hear and read about it. I can understand that. But if it weren't for beat writers and others in the media, nobody outside of the team would ever confront them with it, especially a team like this where traditional media members are often outnumbered by company-line toting employee media.
Darnell Mayberry 12:22 p.m. That's plenty for today folks. Enjoy the game tonight. Should be a good one.
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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