Friday, October 24, 2008

Lakers Preparation

Dear readers of our blog,

First of all, I'd like to remind you to vote for our blog on LA Ball Talk. We're currently in 3rd place, and we'd really like to make a move for first. Even if it's not for us, go vote! We always like to see Thunder blog excitement.

Also, I'd like to inform you that we will NOT be posting a recap for the Thunder vs. Lakers game tonight. I and Okluschen are taking the ACT tomorrow, and we can't afford to stay up doing recaps at 1 AM. Tomorrow is jam-packed too, and so it goes.

In lieu of that, I'd like to run an interview with the Lakers Nation that never got around to being posted. Their "Pre-Season Prespective" column was unpopular, and so I assume they trashed it. If not and they still need to use it, please contact me ASAP.

Otherwise, here it is. Most of the Thunder stuff has been covered before, but there's some nice Lakers and all-around NBA perspective.

All questions were asked by Jonathan Somers-Harris of Lakers Nation.

1. Out on a limb, although backing it up with solid reasoning would be cool too, what do you think the ball park for the Magic's 08-09 regular season record will be, and how do you feel they will place in the Northwest/West?
We'd say it'd be between 10 and 25 wins. Almost every team in the West has improved since last season, and aside from a couple more rookies, Desmond Mason, and Joe Smith, we're not that much better.
As far as the Northwest division, it is split up into 2 sectors. The Trail Blazers, Jazz, and Nuggets are kind of in a league of their own, with the Nuggets being slightly lower. The Thunder and Timberwolves will be in an all-out slugfest for last place in the division, and probably last in the West too, to answer your other question. The only other teams that we'd see it possible for us to beat in the West would be Sacramento and Memphis. But, you should take all of this with a grain of salt, because we said the same about the 05-06 Hornets, and they almost made the playoffs.

2. Again, out on the said limb, what do you think the ball park for the Laker's 08-09 regular season record will be, and how do you feel they will place in the Pacific/West?
The Lakers are definately in the top tier of the West. But, they'll have their hands full with a trio of Southwestern challengers. The Spurs, Hornets, and Rockets could all fessibly challenge them for the West crown. But the Lakers are definately the best in their division, with the downfall of the Suns, the Point Guardless Warriors, and the incompletely talented Clippers not posing enough of a threat.
So, I'd say a record of 55-60 Games, with 1st in the West and Pacific. The Lakers have a life span of only 2-3 more years before Kobe the loser gets too old to be effective enough to stay in the league.
3. How do you feel the Thunder match up with the Lakers over a 7-game series?
Why would you ask such a question? Who would watch that series? When would it occur?
Let's say 0-4. The Thunder are too young to match up with the Lakers effectively. Bynum and Gasol would obliterate Petro and Collison. The only guy with the constitution to match up with them is Joe Smith, but he doesn't have the talent. Kobe would obliterate anybody at Shooting Guard. The only possible places we could beat out the Lakers would be at Small Forward and Point Guard. The Durant-Odom matchup is pretty even, with Durant maybe being slightly better, but I doubt that it would make a difference. Watson is probably better than Fisher simply because he has to distribute the ball, whereas Fisher just shoots and Kobe does all of the distributing. Still, not much of a difference here. A definate 4-0 loss of the Thunder.

4. Lakers fans are split down the middle on Odom; some love his versatility, others hate his inconsistency. As an opposing fan, how do you rate Odom?
Lamar Odom is the modern-day Antoine Walker. Back in the day, he could lead his own bad team, as Walker lead the Celtics and Odom lead the Clippers. But, later in their careers, they became injury-prone, inconsistent sand part of a larger championship puzzle, such as Walker with the Heat and Odom with the Lakers. He's starter-quality, and some days he'll be All-Star quality, but he won't get much better.

5. What do you think of Kobe's decisions to put-off surgery on his injured pinky?
It's a good decision. The pinky isn't an essential part of the basketball body, and he doesn't need time to ressessitate it. Also, this is one of his last years of SUPER stardom, before he kind of fades into general All-Stardom. Good decision for him and the Lakers.

6. What is your perception on Bynum? Lakers fans have him pegged as the next *insert hall-of-fame center*, yet the rest of the league doesn't seem to hold him in such a high regard.
Andrew Bynum is a little bit overhyped. We don't really think of him as Hall-of-Fame, but rather more of a borderline All-Star. When he's put next to Gasol, this will become a bit more obvious. If we had to give him a comparison, we'd have to say....Zyundras Ilgauskas, maybe a little bit better. But, who knows? This could be his breakout season.

7. Kevin Durant already has his starting spot pretty much guaranteed, yet Jeff Green will still have to fight for playing time. Do you feel he should be "baptized by fire" and given the starting role, or should he have to earn it?
Jeff Green should basically be our key sixth man. He's definately a good player, but his talent level at this point doesn't warrant playing him or somebody else out of the position to put him in the starting lineup. In the future he might be good enough, but right now he's just kind of between a rock and a hard place, especially with the coming of Mason. As the season progresses, we might change things up, but for now, he's a bencher.
8. The Thunder have a litany of project big men from a previous era. Do you feel any of them are worth keeping around, or are they a waste of space?
You have to take this individual by individual. But, you could put them in 2 groups. The first, "Like to Keep" consists of Collison and Wilcox, while the second, "Show me something or we'll cut you" consists of Sene, Swift, and Petro. Joe Smith doesn't count, since he's new.
Nick Collison is definately a starter to borderline starter, with Wilcox being a bit worse. They both are unlikely to improve, but both are known quantities and valuable to the team. While it may be impossible to keep both, ideally you like to try to hang onto them. They could be good trade bait.
Sene, Swift, and Petro, on the other hand, have virtually no trade value but filler. Sene looks really offensively horrible. Swift might've been good, but his bum knee will likely keep him from going far. Petro looks hopelessly average. Not average in the Ilgauskas sense, but average in the NBA bench center sense. Since big men generally command a lot of dollars, unless these guys improve a significant amount, we'd let them walk after one season.

9. What are your thoughts on the "player exodus" from the NBA to Europe? Do you think a Kobe or a Lebron would ever seriously consider leaving the NBA?
We think that it will be a small trickle every year. There won't be a "mass exodus" like some people are predicting. Next year, we'll probably see someone like Lamar ODom or Antoine Walker leave, along with various other smaller stars.
A uperstar player probably won't leave the NBA in the foreseeable future. The only way I could see it happening is if a superstar was clearly at the end of his prime. For example, an old shaq going to the Euroleague at 38 or 9 years old is not entirely unfeesible. They'd either do it for money, or pure love of the game.
Down the road, if transportation allows, it's easy to see a joint NBA-Euroleague. It would be easy to say probably not in the next 20 years, and definately not in the next 10. It will be a hard transition though, as there are key rule differences, and the Sponsorship is a lot more prevalent in Europe (think Armani Jeans). It could be kind of like the AL and NL in the MLB. They both play by the rules according to which stadium they're in. They could also have specific times when NBA teams play European teams and when they play domesitcally. But that's all probably very far off.
10. What got you into blogging? How do you feel about it as a news medium?
We both originally got into blogging last year. Ben had looked at CBS Sportsline and other prevalent journalism sources previously, whereas Zeb had been reading the likes of Golden State of Mind and Sports Media Watch. Our original blog, Adonal Obsessed (named after Adonal Foyle, Zebs favourite NBA player) blogged about everything and was a dismal failure. We eventually tired of it and realised that we would need a narrower focus in order to succeed. When the Tuhnder came to town officially, we saw our shot. There were no established blogs yet , and almost 0 Oklahoma City bloggers. We've been going 3 months strong now, and we're enjoying every minute of it.
As a news medium, it stinks. If you want to get the full, unslanted story, you should go to Yahoo, CBS Sportsline, or your local paper (just not ESPN, please). But, blogs are there so you can see what your buddy at the bar thinks. You know, just seeing what they think. Each blog usually caters to different tastes of people. For example, in the Thunder blogosphere alone, you have different personalities. Bend it Like Bennett is there for the Thunder haters. Sonics Central and Supersonic soul are there for Sonics missers. Thunderguru is there for stat freaks. Thunderworld is there for people looking for a bit of professionalism. Blue Blitz is there for a bit of humor and honest opinions. But, this doesn't speak for everybody, and it's entirely possible that bloggers are qualified to be professional sports reporters. That's just how we see blogs. As bar buddies. People you go to see to get their opinion.
11. Is Russell Westbrook the answer to the Starting Point Guard problem for this year, or is he one for the future?
This is an issue where we differ in opinion. Zeb thinks that he is a good future 2 guard, but that you really need someone to distribute the ball to these guys, as Kevin Durant is too big to handle the ball most of the time on a winning team. For now, we should stick with Watson and look for more options via the draft or trade in the future. On another hand, Ben thinks that Westbrook could defintely be the point guard of the future, though not this year. It would be importnat to have a solid defensive point guard like Westbrook in the future, because young point guards (Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Mike Conley) ared dominating the west.

Last Note: Just for the record, I hate the Lakers. As a long-time Warriors fan, I'm sick and tired of them trouncing us every year.


Jonny said...

Hey guys,

Jonny from TLN here.

sorry about the interview never getting posted. you were spot on about it being unpopular. the concept was cool, but the process was a little unrefined and it ultimately got scrapped.

I'm going to give it another shot next year though

I appreciated your insight thought, I especially thought the Walker-Odom connection was spot on.. which kind of sucked since i was always a little high on Odom.

best of luck to you guys (and the Thunder by extension) for the rest of the season!

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