Dearest Kevin Wayne Durant,
Hey Kev, I just wanted to reach out and get in touch with you. I know times have been tough these past couple weeks. You've lost five of your last eight games, your team is no longer atop the West, the team's defense is non-existent and your chemistry with Russell seems to be a little off since his return.
I guess the real reason I'm writing you is because I'm a little concerned. I want to help you through this because you've helped me in so many ways with your friendship.
We've been best bros since the fourth grade when you were just 6'1. We used to hang out by the jungle gym at recess and pretend we were Power Rangers. You always insisted I should be the White Ranger, even though I thought that was a little stereotypical or racist. But you saw past all that. You're an incredible person man, and I think you deserve the world.
But this recent loss to the Lakers has my heart churning. When the final buzzer went off with our team down four, my toes went numb. I did everything I could to get momentum on our side during the game. At one point I was naked in the fetal position for more than five minutes. I know it's a weird superstition, but it seemed to be working for a while until Russell air-balled that three that would have tied the game with less than two minutes in the game.
I know you, Kev. I know that loss hurt you just as much as it hurt me. I know you want to get the team back on track in time for the playoffs. I know you want the MVP. I know you want that ring.
I'm just here to tell you that I know you can do it. I don't know how much that means coming from me, but I hope you believe it. You SHOULD believe it.
You're the best, and I'm just here to remind you of that. It's the least I can do after everything you've done for me. Remember that time you loaned me some cash to start that moon-bounce business? YOU believed in me, and look at me now! I own 12 different businesses across three states. The moon-bounce business is thriving, and I couldn't have done it without you, man.
It's just like that time in junior high when your mom made you wear those rain boots to school. Those things weighed like 20 pounds! And whenever we played our usual game of pick-up basketball that day, the kids said you couldn't dunk with the shoes you were wearing. I stood in your corner, though. I bet $1.50 (money I typically spend on hot Cheetos) that you could still dunk in those shoes. And guess what? You did it, against all odds.
I hope you take this letter to heart. Keep doin' you, and all the rest will take care of itself.
I won't get the opportunity to see you for the next few months because I'm planning on expanding the moon-bounce business in Iran. Yeah, it sounds a little dumb, I know. After all, it's so hot there! Why would those kids want to bounce up and down on an inflated, scorching-hot bubble? They love it though! Them European kids are crazy!
I want to see that ring the next time I see you. Stay true, bro. Love ya.
Jared "J-Dawg" Porter
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Monday, March 18, 2013
But in order for a deep playoff run and eventual NBA championship, Kevin Martin will have to find a way to break out of his mini-slump that he has been in since the All-Star break.
Martin's pre All-Star break numbers: 15 ppg on 43 percent shooting.
Post All-Star break numbers: 11 ppg on 36 percent shooting.
The 'slump' that Martin has been in since the All-Star break has not been that devastating. He is still shooting 41 percent on the year, which is a pretty impressive statistic. But once the playoffs begin, Martin's offensive contribution will have to increase.
Westbrook and Durant more than likely will not have great games in every game down the stretch. Bench players for OKC will have to pick up the slack whenever their two premier scorers are not hitting.
Scott Brooks has made clear that Martin will have to be the guy to take over the second team. Which means offensive plays will be set up for him during games.
It will be detrimental that Martin is able to produce whenever those plays are ran. Martin is not the type of player that can make his own shots like James Harden did for OKC last year. But he is just as good of a shooter as Harden, if not better.
Plus, Kevin Martin has been one of the players to stay in the game down the stretch of games. Late in fourth quarters you will see Martin strolling the perimeter waiting for a kick-out three-pointer.
Kevin Durant will likely be doubled late in games due to his reputation of being a clutch player. When he is doubled, it leaves Martin wide open on the three-point line.
Will Kevin Martin be able to produce when the ball is thrown to him in clutch situations? I guess we will find out.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
I was able to think a little bit last night after the Thunder was man-handled for three straight quarters, and the thinking just brought up more questions in my head.
What is up with the lack of consistency in our bench players? Why is Russell Westbrook doubling Kevin Durant's shot attempts? Are we starting to miss James Harden even more? Is this loss something to concern Thunder fans?
Here is last nights plus/minus statistics for both team's bench players...
Thunder - Nick Collison: -24, Reggie Jackson: -15, Derek Fisher: -21, Kevin Martin: -21
Spurs - Stephen Jackson: +15, Nando de Colo: +20
The inconsistent play of the Thunder's bench is starting to become A THING. This was a question mark from the start of the season once James Harden was traded. Thunder fans have worried if the trade would come back and bite them down the road, and unfortunately that is what we are starting to see.
The Thunder's bench players started off hot last night in the first quarter. But after a coach Popovich timeout at about the eight minute mark in the second quarter with the Thunder up 11, the Thunder's second team squad went cold. The Spurs quickly went on a 9-0 run, changing the entire outlook of the game.
Kevin Martin started off hot firing the deep ball, going 3-3 in the first quarter. But he did not score for the rest of the game after that point. In fact, he only attempted two more shots in the 4th quarter.
The Thunder's bench players just looked slow. They could not defend the Spurs when they moved the ball around the court. Plus there was not a go-to man for offensive scoring. This is troubling because we relied on that bearded guy so much last year, and now we can not find the answer for who will fill in his role to lead the second team.
Martin could be the guy, and Scott Brooks has tried to make him into that guy. But he just has not been able to make big shots in games. At least I can not remember very many...
We can all agree that Westbrook has played great basketball in the past month. He is arguably having the best season in his career. He is becoming a more efficient player and more willing to pass the ball to his teammates, which is why his assist numbers have gone up.
But last night, Westbrook took 27 shots.
Durant took 13.
When I first saw this stat I had to rub my eyes to make sure I was reading correctly. I find it a little odd that the three time scoring champion is getting half the amount of shots as his point guard. Now granted, Durant did go to the line 11 times, but it is still unacceptable.
I am not saying that this is Westbrook's fault. Durant has been passing up too many opportunities. We all know that when Durant is not taking his shots, Westbrook will go haywire to get his attempts.
It is not like Westbrook was taking low percentage shots either. Most of them were at the rim or non-contested jumpers. When those shots fall, we praise Westbrook. When they miss, we criticize his game.
Let me say this. We would not be the high-caliber team we are now if Westbrook was a complacent player. He only looks like the bad guy in this situation because he happens to have the purest scorer in the league on his team. Unfortunately, Durant lacks that 'take over' attitude that Westbrook plays with.
It is mid-March
My twitter feed and Facebook wall has been covered in pessimistic Thunder fans since last night's loss. It seems this sense of panic happens every year around this time.
Yes, last night's loss was not a confidence builder, especially with the Spurs not having Tony Parker on the court. But we have to remember that none of this matters until the playoffs arrive. Last season in the Western Conference Finals, the Spurs took a commanding 2-0 series lead over the Thunder. All of OKC was in peril. We all know what happened the next four games.
Yes, the Thunder will more than likely have to take a road game from the Spurs if they are to reach the WCF. Some people are acting as if this is an impossible task. It will be harder this year without Harden sinking a three-point dagger in the closing seconds. Like I alluded to before, bench players have to step up. Kevin Martin, I am calling you out.
Yes, last night's game was the fourth in five nights for the Thunder. The Spurs were coming off two days rest. No excuse, but it is a variable.
And yes, it is March people. The Thunder still have another game against the Spurs in the beginning of April. We will see how that goes then discuss this again.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Via @NBAstats, over each team's last 10 games, Russell Westbrook leads the league in scoring with 29.3 points per game.
Via @ThunderStats, Rusell Westbrook has recorded 16 career games with at least 25 points, 10 assist, and 5 rebounds. Since 2009, only LeBron has more.
Westbrook’s numbers post-meltdown: 26.0 points, 6.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 51.9 percent shooting and 45 percent from 3.
Tony Parker: 21 ppg, 3.1 rpg and 7.6 apg. Wesbrook: 23.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 7.9 apg. Parker was in MVP conversation a couple weeks ago.
With all of these numbers brought to attention, is it a good argument to say Westbrook deserves to be in the MVP discussion? It is hard to argue with numbers, since they never lie.
Spoiler Alert: Russell Westbrook will never be in the MVP conversation due to his reputation of being selfish and inconsistent. Which is disappointing, because he is far from selfish and inconsistent this year.
I am not saying that Westbrook should be the leader in the MVP race, that definitely is most deserving for LeBron or Durant. But I do believe that Westbrook's name should be mentioned. He DESERVES at least that.
Where would the Thunder be without the likes of Russell Westbrook? Would they be second in the West? Would they be title contenders? Would they be a deep playoff threat? I would answer all of these questions with a "NO."
Without Westbrook, Reggie Jackson would be the starting point guard. Do not get me wrong, Jackson has developed leaps and bounds this year and has proven to be the go-to guy when Westbrook needs a break. But he can not and will not ever contribute as much as what Westbrook does for the Thunder.
Yet, the media still does whatever it can to criticize Westbrook's game. None more than the likes of Skip Bayless, who seems to be Westbrook's biggest critic.
Is Westbrook selfish? Well, he averages almost 8 assists per game. Seems pretty unselfish to me.
Is Westbrook inconsistent? In the past month, he has averaged 51.9 percent from the field. I will take those numbers.
Is Westbrook's temper something to worry about? Westbrook’s numbers post-meltdown: 26.0 points, 6.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 51.9 percent shooting and 45 percent from 3.
Perhaps Westbrook's development this year is the answer to replacing the loss of James Haden's contribution in the playoffs.
When Westbrook is on his game, he is close to unstoppable. He very well might be the catalyst to the Thunder's hopes of winning the NBA championship.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
According to Royce Young on dailythunder.com, Fisher is going to have a bigger role on the court than people think.
When asked if Fisher will have much playing time in the second half of the season, Coach Scott Brooks said, "Definitely, he will play."
Brooks was not willing to elaborate on the amount of minutes that Fisher would get, but he was certainly adamant that Fisher will be more than a player collecting splinters on the bench.
So how does this effect the Thunder's rotation? If Fisher does in fact get a bigger role than expected, minutes will have to be taken away from other players, specifically from current backup point guard Reggie Jackson.
Last year the Thunder went after Fisher due to Eric Maynor's ACL injury and the lack of experience that Jackson had as a rookie. But this year was supposed to be different. In coach Brook's eyes, Jackson won the backup point guard role over Maynor earlier this season with his solid play.
If Jackson in fact earned his minutes this year, then why would Brooks make a point that Fisher would play a big role? There is a sense that Brooks does not quite have enough confidence in Jackson yet.
Fisher undoubtedly can knock down the three, but other than that Fisher was less that spectacular for Oklahoma City last season, averaging just 4.9 ppg and 20 mpg.
Fisher says that this year he has a lot more in the tank and thinks he can contribute more to the Thunder.
"My tank is much more full showing up this year than it was last year," Fisher said. "So I plan on being more impactful and more effective than I was for them last year."
When asked why he chose no. 6 for his jersey number this year, Fisher replied, “For sure, kind of symbolizing and serving as motivation for myself that winning at the end of the day, is what this all about. It symbolizes for me in terms of No. 6, but it also symbolizes for me the reason why I’m here to be part of this team and that’s to get No. 1.”
Monday, February 25, 2013
The following is a message from the Thunder HomeCourt Support Group.
Friends and Family,
We need you! Spring is near and it is time to start cleaning out your closets and garages!
Please join us in donating your used clothing and household items to benefit Special Olympics Oklahoma, Make A Wish Foundation of Oklahoma and Children’s Hospital Foundation.
WHO: HomeCourt Support (Family and Friends of Thunder Players, Coaches and Basketball Operations Staff) and The Thunder Cares Foundation
WHAT: Second Hand Sale
WHEN: Friday, March 8th, 2013, noon - 6:00 pm & Saturday, March 9th, 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
WHERE: Thunder Community Events Center, 14701 N. Lincoln Blvd, Edmond, OK, 73103
WHY: Please join the Home Court Support's first ever second hand sale by donating your clothing and household items to benefit Children’s Hospital Foundation, Make A Wish Foundation of Oklahoma and Special Olympics Oklahoma. All proceeds from the sale will be split evenly among those three charities. Any remaining items will be donated to a local charity.
We are accepting items such as clothing, furniture and home decor. All clothing must clean, in great shape and on hangers ready to fill up our racks.
Tax receipts will be provided by The Thunder Cares Foundation.
We will start accepting donations on February 1st through March 1st. , Drop off times are Monday- Friday, 12 pm-7pm, or Saturday’s 8-10am. Only HomeCurt Support Members or Thunder staff can drop off directly at the event center. For other donations, please contact a member of the Home Court Support or Denoya Crawford at 405-229-5833 to make arrangements for your items to be picked up directly from your home.
Have questions? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you in advance,
Thunder HomeCourt Support
After departing from the Thunder just last season after a deep run to the NBA Finals, Derek Fisher returns to Oklahoma City for what seems to be one last hoorah.
Fisher signed with the Dallas Mavericks at the beginning of the season but quickly parted ways after nine games due to a knee injury. While he was with the Mavericks he averaged a little more than 8 ppg, if that means anything.
A lot of Thunder fans are probably going to get a little more excited than they should over this acquisition. Do not get me wrong, excitement is good. But a so-so 38-year-old point guard probably is not going to lock the Thunder in for a NBA Finals return.
So why did Sam Presti get Fisher?
Well, the Thunder were a little short on point guards since they only had Westbrook and Jackson. Going into the playoffs with only two point guards is a very scary thing since you never know when somebody could go on a cold streak or get hurt.
Fisher is familiar with the offense from his time with them last season, so it was not a bad idea to bring him on for what seems to be his final NBA season. Plus, last year Fisher said he wanted to end his career with an NBA title, and since the Thunder is one of the few teams considered to be title contenders, it just seems to be a perfect fit.
Fisher will more than likely not have as big of a role as he had last year. Last year, Fisher was the guy to come in for Westbrook and lead the second team while the starters got a rest. I do not see that job being taken away from Reggie Jackson this year.
If anything though, Fisher will be a great asset to have leadership wise. His veteran experience is always helpful in keeping a sometimes immature Thunder team on track.