Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Brief Rant on Scott Brooks and Poor Decision-Making


Brooks should be on the hot seat if Thunder lose in the first round. I understand I'm speaking off emotion from last night's loss, but I've felt the Thunder offense gets too stagnant too often for the past two seasons. For a coach that brings no offensive identity to the table, he has been lucky to have kept his job this long. 
In my opinion, Brooks is a subpar coach on a team with two superstars. His record is very misleading in that aspect. What would his record be if he never had KD? 
Time after time, Brooks has been stubborn in his decision making. He refuses to play young, capable players like Lamb and PJIII  that could be the future of the organization. Instead, he gives minutes to Old Man Fisher in the playoffs. 
Don't get me wrong. I have the upmost respect for Fisher and all that he has done in his career. But if I see his high, protruding butt hoist up one more 3-pointer from 27 feet as the quarter ends, I'm going to chuck my television out the window. 
Lamb averaged 8.5 ppg on 43-percent shooting in the regular season. Fisher averaged 5.2 on 39-percent shooting. Yet, Fisher gets 12 and 17 minutes in the first two games of the playoffs while Lamb gets just one minute of garbage time during Game 1. 
If we're taking a defensive standpoint, Fisher is old, slow and too short to even be considered an average defender. Sure, he gets in his low stance and looks good. And he does hustle. But still, Lamb has more potential to be a decent defender in the league with his length and quickness. It's just about getting him the time needed to improve. 
I just don't understand Brooks thought process. Wouldn't it be smart to give Lamb some playing time in the postseason for added experience? And don't try to tell me that playing Fisher and sitting Lamb betters the Thunder's chances of winning. 
To Brooks' credit, he has the fifth-highest career win percentage (.614) of any active head coach. The question that lingers: Would the same be true without him having two top-10 players on his roster?
It would be interesting to see how the Thunder would fare with another coach currently on the market like, say, George Karl. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Day in the Life of Derek Fisher

What's happenin' y'all? This is your guy, D-Fish. Jared asked me to take you guys through one of my typical days. I figured it's the least I could do for my Main Man since he once performed the Heimlich maneuver on my son when he was choking on a Wheat Thin. 

So, I hope you all enjoy it! 

I start my day off waking up precisely five minutes before dawn. To make sure that happens, I keep a book on my nightstand called "Sunrises with Morgan Freeman." On page 256, there is a calendar that reveals the exact time for the sunrise of each day in Oklahoma City.

Once I'm up, I immediately de-clothe myself and walk out on my backyard deck that overlooks Draper Lake. It's true paradise, I must say. Once the first ray of sunlight beams over the horizon, I start my yoga regiment. I pride myself on my bubble butt. It symbolizes all of the work I put in during my yoga sessions. My high, protruding rear end is the result of me performing over 500 squat thrusts each day.

After yoga, I make breakfast: 16 ounces of Fiji water, a 20-ounce protein shake, four scrambled eggs, five NightCrawler gummy worms and a shot of Tequila.

After nourishing my body with all of the nutrients I need, I get in my Prius and head to the Chesapeake Area to get on my daily grind. I'm well aware that I am a gnome compared to most players in the NBA. That's why 90 percent of my workout consists of high arching shots from the three-point line.

There are basically two things I do in basketball games. I either swish deep threes and make the crowd go wild, or I air ball. But don't make the assumption that this is merely coincidental. I'm so in tune with my own body that I know if I'm going to miss a shot attempt by the time my feet leave the floor on a jump shot. I figure that if I'm going to miss, I might as well air ball so that my teammates might make it look like it was a planned alley-oop attempt. Some people don't understand my thought process, but as Oprah once told me in an Alcoholics Anonymous seminar, "Haters are gonna hate."

As soon as I'm done with my workout, I spend precisely 25 minutes flexing in front of a mirror in the locker room. My chiseled body is considered to be the eighth wonder of the world. It's truly the work of God, and I believe I owe it to myself and my faith that I should habitually visualize God's work by studying my own body.

By this point, I've spent about four hours at the arena, and it's time for me to leave. I head over to my favorite restaurant in town, the Olive Garden.

Once I start my feast of bottomless salad and breadsticks, I call up my homie, Kobe. I like to remind him every day of that game winner I hit against the Spurs with just 0.4 seconds on the clock. He tells me to stop living in the past. I think he's jealous of greatness. Everyone knows who the true superstar was on that Lakers team. It certainly wasn't no Black Mamba, or whatever that fool calls himself—LOL.

After finishing my Olive Garden feast, I head home. I spend about an hour polishing my championship rings. That's rings, plural.

Once it's 9:55 at night, I put on my onesie with the clutch butt flap and head to the master bedroom. I watch a highlight film that I made of myself draining threes. I watch the balls fly through the air in slow motion, and try to digest the pure perfection that encompasses the flight pattern of my shots. It's truly extraordinary, the things I can do with a basketball in my hands.

Life is great. I'm truly fortunate to have the opportunity to live my life to the fullest. I will ultimately go down in history as the greatest shooter with a rear end that is more than one foot in diameter.

After all, my life is directly related to my jump shot. I'm either going to swish, or I'm going to air ball. Either way, I'm going to give it my all. When you get down to it, that's all that really matters in this life.

Yours Truly,

Derek "D-Fish" Fisher






Sunday, March 9, 2014

Open letter to my dear friend, Kevin Durant

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.

Sincerely,

Jared "J-Dawg" Porter


Monday, March 18, 2013

K-Mart has to produce in playoffs


The Thunder undoubtedly have two go-to scores on the team in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Serge Ibaka can contribute as well on a nightly basis. 

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

Takeaways from Spurs loss


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? 

Bench Beatdown

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...

Russel Westbrook



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

Westbrook in MVP conversation?


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

Brooks says Fisher's 'Minutes are going to be had'


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.”