Whats Next In OKC ?

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By Stefan Anderson

After helping the Thunder to 338 wins that included a trip to the NBA Finals, 3 conferences championship appearances and winning the NBA’s Coach of the Year honor, Scott Brooks was dismissed as the Oklahoma City play caller this afternoon.

The Thunder are now faced with a dilemma on many ends including seeking their head coach. With Russell Westbrook showing that he can be a superstar, does OKC take their chance to fight with other teams for the services of the reigning MVP Kevin Durant. More importantly, “Loud City” has to figure who is going to make their team gel and help propel that talented roster to the next level.

Here are some coach choices Oklahoma City could choose from:

The first two choices put out there is Kevin Ollie of the University of Connecticut, who played for OKC in his final years in the NBA and built a great relationship with Kevin Durant and could relate well to the roster. Also, Billy Donavan of the University of Florida, who has shown his coaching ability with his back-to-back National Championship and has flirted with the thought of the NBA for the past seasons. Donavan could be a great fit but will be a hard transition to coaching a great amount of talent those OKC possesses in a tough Western Conference.

But there are some other coaches that could make things interesting for the Thunder:

Mark Jackson: The former Golden State Warrior coach, who has now reverted back into the broadcasting, would be a great leader for OKC. Jackson instilled that culture of Golden State and brought that roster together that has now transformed into the league’s best team. The ESPN analyst could help bring the Thunder to that next level similar to what Steve Kerr did with his Warriors roster.

Stan Van Gundy:  Another coach turned broadcaster, Stan Van Gundy would be ideal for OKC as he has the tough mindset that his teams have already displayed with his teams in prior years (New York Knicks and Houston Rockets).  SVG could help with the progression of big men like Ibaka, Adams and Kanter, while handling a proflic scorer like Durant or Westbrook and combine the talents to make the Thunder reign supreme again.

Mike” D’Antoni: The high pace scoring and offensive guru could really fit the Thunder’s needs to offensively, imagine Russell Westbrook having the keys to D’Antoni offense, scary if you ask me.  It gives Durant the space needed to score from wherever he wants offensively and helps guys like Anthony Morrow become a standout shooter and Serge Ibaka to become a ferocious finisher. OKC already plays great defense but if he had an offensive assault that D’Antoni’s offense provides that could be a hand and glove fit for them.

Other coaches that could fall in the job search would be Brian Shaw, Mike Woodson, P.J Carlesimo, Doug Collins and with the questioning of Tom Thibodeau in Chicago he could also end up in the search for OKC’s vacant spot. Regardless of who takes the position, they will inherit a team with two of the top ten players and an plenty of talent that could end up as a championship team.

What A Day? : 2015 NBA Trade Deadline

trade deadline

By Stefan Anderson

The 2015 NBA Trade Deadline was an eventful day as many teams made the necessary changes for a late push, some positioned themselves for the NBA Draft, while others did not panic and not trade at all. Let’s discuss the Winners and Losers of the 2015 Trade Deadline.

Winners:

Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder trade disgruntled guard Reggie Jackson and replaced him with Kevin Durant’s University of Texas teammate D.J. Augustin. Along with Augustin, the Thunder were able to address two of their biggest fears outside shooting and post scoring by adding Enes Kanter, Kyle Singler, and Steve Novak. OKC has put together a second unit that can help them produce points when Westbrook and Durant are not in the game and look to make that late playoff push with the roster additions.

Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks have overachieved this season with their team play under the leadership of Coach of the Year candidate Jason Kidd. While holding on to a 6th in the Eastern Conference, the Bucks made some changes to help their roster, replacing center Larry Sanders with Miles Plumlee, who brings a needed rim protector since Sanders departure.  Also trading their rising star in Brandon Knight for two Jason Kidd-esque point guards in Tyler Ennis and Michael Carter Williams, the Bucks look to shock the world if they can uphold their success.

Philadelphia 76ers: Despite trading for Javal McGee, a known headache to say the least, acquiring picks has been the best thing for the 76ers to secure the future. The 76ers add 2015 first-round pick (lottery protected) from Thunder and a 2015 first-round pick from Lakers to add to their roster of picks they already own, will be interested to see what happens in the draft.

The Losers:

Denver Nuggets: With an apparent rebuild to come in the near future, the Nuggets did not make any necessary moves to help their future. They were able to dump the hefty contract of McGee but gave away a 1st round to do so. With many expiring contracts, the Nuggets could watch their roster fall apart this off season.

Boston Celtics: Although they added Isiah Thomas, they add another guard to their overstocked position. With so many draft picks it gives the Celtics more to discuss with all the draft picks and expiring contracts they already possess. Boston has yet to add a player or players with draft picks and are stuck trying to find pieces through a bunch of draft picks and their makeshift roster.

Brooklyn Nets: The Nets traded away a great mentor in Kevin Garnett and added some length and defense with Thaddeus Young but failed to help shape their future. The Nets look to stick with roster despite the play of their aging and fragile stars, holding on to the large contracts of Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez.

Kudos to the Pistons and T-Wolves, bringing back pivotal pieces of their franchise, to help tutor and lead their respective teams with adding Kevin Garnett and Tayshaun Prince.

Serge Protector

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By Stefan Anderson

When the Western Conference Finals began, I believed that it would be highly competitive series with Oklahoma City and San Antonio. With the Spurs big 3 searching for the next title on their “closing” window, and the Thunder searching for their first title as a young core.  But after the first two games of the series, I was proved wrong after the Spurs came out looking the Spurs destroying the Thunder in a fashionable manner. Allowing an average of 117 points in the first two games, the Thunder looked out of sort and looked to see a similar fate as in years prior.

But their rim protector, 3rd option on offense and best defender was missing in action.

During a game 6 win versus the Clippers, Serge Ibaka had early exit due to a calf injury and was scheduled to miss the rest of postseason, which would put the Thunder in the same predicament as last season when they lost Westbrook to a freak knee injury.  But the first two games were finished; team doctors upgraded Ibaka’s status from out indefinitely to day to day, which changed a lot this series.

After watching the first two games of the series’ most believed whether Ibaka played or not that Spurs were in rare form and looked like a team determined to get their redemption and hoist up another championship trophy. But after game 3, the doubters were proved wrong after Ibaka’s return. In his return he gave his team that added scorer need after starters other than Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook only scored 9 points in two games, chipping in 15 points.

His offense was an addition to the Thunder’s game plan, but was obvious for the defensive end as well. Ibaka presence was felt as it always is it, providing consistent shot blocking (he has finished with the most blocks in the past 4 seasons in the NBA), brought the rim protection his team needed.  During the past 2 games, Ibaka has accounted for 7 of the 18 blocks his team has taken away from the Spurs hot offense. His presence in the post was well needed after witnessing the Spurs 66 and 54 of their points in the paint, exploiting the Thunder’s inferior front line, but when Ibaka returned he has cut those numbers down to 40 and 36 in the following games. With play like this that Ibaka was snubbed of the DPOY in the past two seasons, but his impact can be seen throughout the floor.

I don’t know what the outcome of the series is going to be but I am going to say if the past is anything like the present then the Spurs are in trouble. With the Thunder being the last Western Conference team to eliminate them in a playoff series (after erasing a 2-0 deficit ) and owning them in the season series ,without Russell Westbrook in two of those games, it appears the Thunder have the Spurs number. But u can never justify Pop’s willingness to have the other team in a chess match and just baiting them into a checkmate. I want to believe that the Spurs have one more legendary run in them before that window closes but the Thunder just don’t want any more breeze and have the opportunity to end one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history.

My Prediction: OKC in 6, I think that moment will allow them to steal one in San Antonio lead by monster game by the MVP Kevin Durant going for somewhere close to 45 and then they will close out the series at home in Oklahoma City, to set up a epic rematch for LeBron and Durant.