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The Other Side: Oklahoma City Thunder


No, this pouty face is not because I play for a bad team with bad uniforms. I just wish that I wasn't hurt. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

It's all about the future in Oklahoma City, where the Thunder's nucleus of second-year forwards Kevin Durant and Jeff Green and rookie point guard Russell Westbrook has given its fans something to be excited about. The Thunder almost made that Terrific Trio a Fearsome Foursome when it briefly acquired Tyson Chandler from New Orleans for the expiring contracts of Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox. But it backed out of the deal after Chandler flunked his physical over a turf toe injury that he's been playing with the past three seasons. The Thunder's team doctor essentially determined that the doctor who performed surgery on Chandler's big toe surgery two years ago did such a terrible job that the Thunder shouldn't go through with the trade. Ironic, given that the doctor who performed the physical and the surgery are the same dude. Still, the Thunder has the potential to be really good in two, three years, but right now ... well, the future is very promising.

The Thunder recently broke out of a seven-game losing streak with consecutive wins against Memphis and Dallas. The 96-87 win over the Mavericks on Monday was especially surprising, considering that it came without both Durant (sprained ankle) and Green (sore back). It also came a day after the Thunder negotiated a buyout with forward Joe Smith, who has agreed to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. No doubt, the loss really upset Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. But the Thunder came close to beating Dallas last Friday, when Durant sprained his ankle in the first quarter and the team blew a 12-point lead before losing, 110-108. The Thunder won the rematch as Westbrook recorded his first triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Interim Coach Scott Brooks has guided the Thunder to a 14-33 record since taking over for P.J. Carlesimo in late November. When the Thunder met the Wizards on Dec. 27, it lost 104-95 at Verizon Center and is trying to avoid being the only team to get swept in a season series against the Wizards this season. Here is what you should know about the Thunder as it prepares to host the Washington Wizards tonight at Ford Center:

1. Kevin Durant Had His Best. Month. Ever ... And Got Hurt
Before going down with an ankle injury on Friday, Kevin Durant was having the best month of his career. In his first 10 games in February, Durant averaged 33.1 points, shot 54.5 percent from the floor and shot up to fourth in the NBA in scoring. During all-star weekend, Durant scored a record 46 points in the Rookie Challenge and was the first winner in the G-E-I-C-O competition, receiving the corniest trophy ever. Durant, the 2007 college basketball player of the year, also had his No. 35 retired by the University of Texas. Durant is handling the pressures of being a superstar and face of a franchise. But the organization is being cautious with his injury. He isn't expected to return until Saturday at the earliest. Jeff Green is listed at day-to-day with a back injury.

2. Russell Westbrook Is Tightening the ROY Race
Remember when the Rookie of the Year was a two-man race between Derrick Rose and O.J. Mayo? That has changed in recent months with the rise of New Jersey's Brook Lopez and Russell Westbrook. Westbrook was named Western Conference rookie of the month for February after averaging 20.6 points, 5.9 assists and 6.1 rebounds, and recording two double-doubles. Westbrook scored 20 or more points six times and 30 or more points three times, including a career-high 34 points at Sacramento. ESPN's David Thorpe currently has him ranked second among rookies behind Lopez. After his triple-double against Dallas on Monday, Westbrook became the first rookie to earn a triple-double since Chris Paul had two in 2005-06. Westbrook should get a couple of ROY votes for this dunk alone:



3. Who Needs Tyson Chandler When You Have Nenad Krstic?
Center Nenad Krstic, who joined the Thunder in late December, had a season-high 26 points in the win against Dallas and has scored in double-figures in his past three games. Krstic will likely need to have a few more big games to make fans forget that the franchise rescinded a trade for New Orleans' pogo stick center Tyson Chandler over a turf toe injury. Chandler gave Thunder fans considerable optimism, but Oklahoma City will have to settle for three draft picks this summer -- and pray that homegrown Oklahoman Blake Griffin can land on the Thunder's laps at the NBA draft lottery. The one positive of the trade deadline was that the Thunder finally found a shooting guard in Thabo Sefolosha .

By Michael Lee  |  March 4, 2009; 8:02 AM ET
Categories:  The Other Side  
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Next: Wizards (14-46) at Oklahoma City (15-45)

Comments

Speaking of centers, McGee is the only one who makes the following Top 20 list and gets less than 23 minutes a game. He's gets a whopping 15 minutes a game.

http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/statistics?sort=per&qual=true&pos=c&seasonType=2&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnba%2fhollinger%2fstatistics%3fsort%3dper%26qual%3dtrue%26pos%3dc%26seasonType%3d2

And Tapscott thinks the fans are staying away because of lack of energy?

Posted by: Izman | March 4, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

izman: "peaking of centers, McGee is the only one who makes the following Top 20 list and gets less than 23 minutes a game. He's gets a whopping 15 minutes a game."

I think he should be averaging about 20 -- same for Young, Blatche, and Crittenton. I'm a McGee fan, think someday he could be great.

Or not. Jury's out.

Still, it illustrates the problem with relying on a particular stat. I recall watching Marc Gasol push Javale around the court. Gasol is more skilled, and has the advantage of those 5 seasons against older players in Europe. Gasol rates considerably below McGee on that list.

for me, the issue is that individual stats tend to measure players at a position head-to-head, as though they were facing one another every night, and not part of a unit, with different coaches and schemes. It's more useful to agents looking to bolster a case for a contract renegotiation than it is to somebody like me trying to better understand the game.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 4, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

By the way, before one of the nitpickers gets the author, it's Brook who plays for the Nets, not Robin. The one with the short hair, not the corkscrew 'do.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 4, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

USA Today (old)

Feb. 10, 2009 - 9:46 p.m. ET

JaVale McGee had 18 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks off the Wizards bench on Tuesday, his first game with double-digit rebounds since November 12th.

We expected McGee to have more games like this with Andray Blatche sidelined, but it hasn't happened. Unless he starts playing closer to 30 minutes per game his inconsistency will persist.

Posted by: Izman | March 4, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

On the RoY issue -- of course I haven't seen any of the candidates more than twice, but looks to me like the vote should go:

Mayo: he may not ever be a great PG, but he's just a remarkable athlete and a very intelligent player. Vince Carterish legs but far more coachable. And if you annoy him, he plays shutdown defense. Too bad nobody is in Memphis to watch him.

Rose: Bigger upside than Mayo. Started really strong in part because of the offense they ran. Tailed off somewhat as people realized he'd never learned to play defense. But what a first step. Only Devin Harris rivals it.

Lopez: not much upside but right now he's just very skilled. He'll struggle against the great athletes but excel against the others. He works hard on defense but his real value lies in those nifty interior moves and his concentration on offense.

Westbrook: reminds a little of Gary Payton in his younger days. If he gets the jump shot down, could be one of those four or five time All-Stars. I can see why they took him so early.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 4, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Before the season started I was predicting Beasley to win the ROY. He's been solid contributor with the Heat but less stellar compared to the other names here. I've been a fan of Blake Griffin and compared him with Beasley. If the wiz do get the number one pick, they will have some big decisions to make. Are they going with a sure bet with Blake or are they going to go with a high risk with major potential like Rubio, Hill or Thabeet?

Posted by: Dave381 | March 4, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

If the Wiz get the 1st pick, it's not a big decision to make, picking Blake Griffith is the only decision to make.

He's far more physical than Beasly and would be the best paint player day one on the Wiz. He's a rebounding machine who can score in every way.

I think the 2nd best player (if they all come out) is Harden at Arizona St. This kid is the complete package, a 6'7" athletic lefty big guard/small forward who can shoot, handle,rebound and pass with the best of them. If we don't get the #1 pick and were able to land Harden, I would be more than happy.

I'm not that impressed with Thabeet although I understand why others are, but I consider him a project.

Never seen Rubio play. I like Hill, has a lot of up-side and think he would do nice in a Wiz uniform.

Posted by: zxhoya | March 4, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure I agree that Blake is "far" more physical than Beasley. They are almost identical talent wise but Beasley had more buzz a year ago...don't know if that counts to something.

I agree Harden is good but I don't see him fitting in the Wiz unless they want to ship out their SF all-star.

Rubio, I've seen him twice. Very crafty but again can he bring it to the big league.

Thabeet - Big question mark. Can be the next Mourning or maybe the second coming of Mark Eaton.

Posted by: Dave381 | March 4, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Tyler Hansboro is the Wizards pick. If you don't know you better ask somebody.

I have no interest in who the "ROY" is, since my candidate Javal McGee is being mishandled and has no chance to win through no fault of his own.

Rookie of the Year, or any other award only floats my boat when their are Wizards being considered.

I can't wait till next year. The Wizards are down this year, but we got some players on this Squad.

Somes' of Yawls' rounds' here don' kno' dat'. Da' coach' be fust' en' line.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 4, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

The wiz have 5 chances to sweep a season series: Thunder, Clippers, Jazz, Kings, and Timberwolves. I think they'll probably win 3 of those games.

Posted by: rxs85 | March 4, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

If you think, for a second, that nobody in Oklahoma City would ever log onto the Internet and read a Washington Post column with your snarky comments about our best player, our fine city, and our team's uniforms, you've got another thinking spell coming to you...someday. In the meantime, no class!

Posted by: imgeorg | March 4, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

What if someone with these credentials was available to coach the Wizards?
NBA Rookie of the Year (1986)
All-NBA First Team (1990)
All-NBA Second Team (1988, ‘89, ‘91, ‘92, ‘93, ‘97)
NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1988, ‘89, ‘92)
11-time NBA All-Star
2-time Olympic gold medalist (1984, ‘92)
NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player (1984)
Naismith College Player of the Year in (1985).
Named as the 16th greatest college player of all time by ESPN.
Selected as one of the 50 Greatest Basketball Players of All Time.
Elected to the National Basketball Hall of Fame

He has a few years of experience as, and currently is, a NBA assistant coach.

He also graduated from a very respected university, and, I think, has an advanced degree…smart man. He has also been responsible for coaching probably the current best big man in the NBA.

…he is available, and he has expressed an interest in being a NBA head coach.

What if the Wiz had a local hero as the head coach, and a local hero as an assiatent coach? What if the Wiz had coaches who were so respected that every player paid attention to every word they spoke? What if the Wiz had coaches who could actually coach/teach?

Abe and Ernie, hire Patrick Ewing as head coach and Alonzo Mouring as his first assistant. Watch the intensity increase then. I believe that Gil would respect them enough to listen to them and they would both provide tremendous coaching to Blatche and McGee and every other Wizard player.

Get rid of the pretender coaches; hire some basketball MEN.


Posted by: getabigboyoffense | March 3, 2009 9:52 PM

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 4, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I always wonder when somebody has a blog name that is synonymous to current situations why they do that.

However, whomever you are GETABIGBOYOFFENSE, I like that article.

And contrare to popular opinion SAMSON151, past stars who become coaches can win championships.

Sure there results are mixed but that is no reason not to hire them. In fact some past stars are the most successful coaches in the League.

Can you name one? I can. "PHIL JACKSON."

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 4, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not sure I agree that Blake is "far" more physical than Beasley. They are almost identical talent wise but Beasley had more buzz a year ago...don't know if that counts to something.

I agree Harden is good but I don't see him fitting in the Wiz unless they want to ship out their SF all-star"
Posted by: Dave381
...........................................

Although Blake and Beasley resemble each other they totally different players They are both versatile but Beasley is really only about 6'7" and Blakeis a legit 6'10. Beasley has floated to the perimeter in the NBA were as Blake will be a post player and great rebounder in the league. (imo)

Butler and Harden could easily play together especially since Harden can play either big guard or small forward, he's able to guard both positions well.
I would play him at shooting guard because, really, that's our need as far as wing players go.

Posted by: zxhoya | March 4, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Harden is listed as 6'5 which means is he probably under 6'5. He is not an NBA SF and he is not super athletic. He is a good shooter but I don't think he is the answer for the Wiz. Trade the pick (unless it is #1 overall) along with Etan or Mike James for a veteran SG.

Posted by: Chad32 | March 4, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

OK, Harden is 6'5", strictly a SG. Why would you trade the pick for a veteran SG who is not going to be as talented as the person you could draft?

As far as "super athletic" goes, he is more athletic than any back-court player we presently have with the exeption of Arenas.

Posted by: zxhoya | March 4, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

We are on the cusp of going winless in our division which would be an NBA first,There is no one who can tell me that EJ would have allowed this to happen, no matter what, Eddie Jordan on the basis of his sheer will alone would have "coached" this squad to at least a few division wins, and their are some people who defend Ernie Grunfeld on this blog, WHAT? Grunfeld is a abject failure plain and to the point he ruined this season with his personel moves or lack there of and by showing poor judgement in letting his personal feelings get in the way of what would have been best for the team and the franchise with the Jordan situation then he compounds that mistake by hiring Tapscott a man who hadn't coached in twenty years!!! this team is like a rudderless ship,Grunfeld has made a mockerey of this season and this franchise, which under Jordan was at least headed in the right direction with four straight playoff appearances(some purist would complain about 1st round exits) well how far we will go this year? Fire Grunfeld Now!! and get a new Gm in place before the draft.

Posted by: dargregmag | March 4, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"Lopez: not much upside but right now he's just very skilled. He'll struggle against the great athletes but excel against the others. He works hard on defense but his real value lies in those nifty interior moves and his concentration on offense."

Samson151, I'm curious to hear why you think Lopez doesn't have much upside. I think he has plenty. As you say, he's a skilled player, and being a rookie there's no reason to think he won't get better as he gains experience. No, he's never going to be a guy who dazzles with his vertical leap or off the dribble speed, but then neither was Tim Duncan.

I think people too often tend to overvalue obvious physical attributes while not giving enough weight to the the importance of actual skill, ability, and knowledge. That's the kind of thinking that leads people to say crazy stuff like comparing Blatche and McGee to Dwight Howard

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 4, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"And contrare to popular opinion SAMSON151, past stars who become coaches can win championships."

Names, please.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 4, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Billy Cunningham, Lenny Wilkins, Bill Russell, Rudi Tomjanovic, KC Jones

Posted by: bford1kb | March 4, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Blake's a legit 6'10"?

I might of found my buyer for those Mortgage backed securties I've got to sell.

Blake's a very nice player, a legit 6'10"... The scouts are very split on that, some are saying he's 6'8" in socks.

I've watched a lot, he's not real tall.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | March 4, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Add Doc Rivers to the list. And if not for a player named Michael Jordan, Jerry Sloan could have 2 rings as well.

Posted by: Dave381 | March 4, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

kalorama: "Samson151, I'm curious to hear why you think Lopez doesn't have much upside. I think he has plenty. As you say, he's a skilled player, and being a rookie there's no reason to think he won't get better as he gains experience. No, he's never going to be a guy who dazzles with his vertical leap or off the dribble speed, but then neither was Tim Duncan."

Purely his lack of foot speed and jumping. I always thought he was less agile than his brother. Probably just a bias on my part -- he already seems so skilled, I assume he's not going to develop all that much.

But that's not necessarily the case, is it? in fact, a lot of the 'athletic' types never add the skills they need. They just look like antelopes on the court until one day, that goes. Stromile Swift comes to mind.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 4, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

kalorama: "Samson151, I'm curious to hear why you think Lopez doesn't have much upside. I think he has plenty. As you say, he's a skilled player, and being a rookie there's no reason to think he won't get better as he gains experience. No, he's never going to be a guy who dazzles with his vertical leap or off the dribble speed, but then neither was Tim Duncan."

Purely his lack of foot speed and jumping. I always thought he was less agile than his brother. Probably just a bias on my part -- he already seems so skilled, I assume he's not going to develop all that much.

But that's not necessarily the case, is it? in fact, a lot of the 'athletic' types never add the skills they need. They just look like antelopes on the court until one day, that goes. Stromile Swift comes to mind.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 4, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"Billy Cunningham, Lenny Wilkins, Bill Russell, Rudi Tomjanovic, KC Jones

Exactly my point. (A) There are only 5 names on the list. (B) The most recent of those happened 19 years ago, and the rest were 23, 27, 30, and 40 years ago. In a league that's been around for 60+ years, 5 names separated by decades is not exactly a high success rate. (And that's not even taking into account that Russell and Wilkens won theirs as player/coaches.)

Of all of the recent examples of stars as coaches (Bird, Thomas, Magic, McHale) only one made it as far as the Finals even once (Bird). The rest were pretty much abject failures.

Can it happen? Well, as they say, pretty much anything can happen. Do the odds favor it happening? Not even a little bit.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 4, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"Blake's a very nice player, a legit 6'10"... The scouts are very split on that, some are saying he's 6'8" in socks.

I go to school in Norman. Met Blake and Taylor Griffin the other day. He's 6'8". 6'9" tops. But still fantastic. And the nicest guy ever. i hope OKC gets him... the ford center would be sold out/at capacity every freaking game.

Posted by: asd87 | March 4, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

larryinclintoniowa: "In fact some past stars are the most successful coaches in the League. Can you name one? I can. "PHIL JACKSON."

Quick, somebody tell Phil. He thinks he was a journeyman.

That other list, with Wilkens, Billy Cunningham, Rudi Tomjanovic, KC Jones -- good point. Al Attles was pretty good too, although I don't know if you'd have called him a star as a player.

The other day somebody asked me what I thought was the greatest coaching job I'd ever seen, and I had to go with Attles and the Warriors the year they defeated the Bullets to win the NBA championship. Golden State was definitely the weakest title club I ever saw. Rick Barry was a terrific player but very limited for a superstar -- he could shoot and pass, but not much else.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 4, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"Add Doc Rivers to the list. And if not for a player named Michael Jordan, Jerry Sloan could have 2 rings as well."

Doc Rivers wasn't a star player. Yes, he made the All-Star team once, but that's not the same thing. If it were Jamaal Magloire and Brad Miller would be considers "stars" too.

As for Sloan: (A) He wasn't really a "star" in the traditional sense of a go-to guy who carried a team. He was a guy who made his living on defense and toughness. He was never a spotlight, glamour guy. (B) Last I checked, he hadn't actually won a title.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 4, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Just so we're clear: The kind of "stars" we're talking about here are guys who have made (or likely will make) it into the HoF as players. The elite, best of the best type.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 4, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Always love it when Kal sticks his foot in his mouth and then has to change the parameters of the debate without saying he was wrong....

Posted by: flohrtv | March 4, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Good one GM...that made me laugh.

By the way what's the percentage a player in the league will go to Naismith....I guess less than 1%. Bird, Magic, MJ...those are not "stars". They are Superstars! These people are 1 in a million.

"As for Sloan:) Last I checked, he hadn't actually won a title.

- Did I say he won a title?

Posted by: Dave381 | March 4, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

flohrtv: "Always love it when Kal sticks his foot in his mouth and then has to change the parameters of the debate without saying he was wrong...."

Nah, his point's still good. There have been darn few legit NBA superstars that made it as coaches. Lenny is one. KC is arguable. Billy Cunningham -- he was great as player and coach.

That's not many, when you think about it. Certainly no reason to suspect that Patrick and Alonzo would be the coaching comets that they were as players.

One thing I've noticed, and I'm not the first -- people who are really great at playing a sport seem easily frustrated when confronted with those who aren't. Maybe that's why the best coaches come from the ranks of the plodders and grunts of basketball -- the ones who had to learn it the hard way.

Just speculation, of course.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 4, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Quote: "That's the kind of thinking that leads people to say crazy stuff like comparing Blatche and McGee to Dwight Howard".

You've got to compare apples to apples. Despite playing 32.6 minutes a game in his rookie year, Howard was not the player he is today in his rookie season.

His PER was 17.2, his points per 40 minutes were 14.7, rebounds per 40 minutes were 12.7, and blocks per 40 minutes were 2.0.

McGee, despite playing only 15 minutes a game, has a PER of 16.9, points per 40 minutes of 16.8, boards per 40 per minutes of 12.3, and blocks per 40 minutes of 2.7.

Howard was better than McGee on D comparing rookie seasons, but McGee is better on O than Howard was.

Howard has received of lot of patience and developmental coaching, which has turned him into a superstar (along with hard work).

McGee ought to be getting the same treatment. He could and should be a star by his fifth season with development and minutes that Howard got.

Posted by: Izman | March 4, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

To my mind there are similarities between Howard & McGee and one overwhelming difference -- strength. Howard is so broad that players struggle to get around in front of him. McGee is, well, more like Marcus Camby. A wonderful player, Camby, who really fought to bulk up.

It's like they said about Shaq when he first came into the League. There'd been players bigger than Shaq, and players quicker than Shaq, but somebody that big AND that quick... nope.

Howard is as quick and athletic as McGee, and a whole lot sturdier. Now before they McGeediots begin dumping on me, I'm not saying he won't be a great player. I'm saying he won't be a great player in the mold of Dwight Howard.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 4, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"Always love it when Kal sticks his foot in his mouth and then has to change the parameters of the debate without saying he was wrong...."

Not as much as I love it when Mr. holier-than-thou, above-the-fray, soapbox rider starts taking personal potshots that have nothing to do with basketball.

And what was I "wrong" about? I never said star players couldn't be great coaches. My point all along was that the odds of it happening were long and that the occurrence was rare. The fact that he could only come up with 5 legit names in out of 60 years worth of NBA coaches certainly underscores that.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 4, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

"As for Sloan: (A) He wasn't really a "star" in the traditional sense of a go-to guy who carried a team. He was a guy who made his living on defense and toughness. He was never a spotlight, glamour guy."

So I guess a Non-traditional star isn't really a star....????

Spotlight/glamour guy....wait are we talking about sports or showbiz?

Posted by: Dave381 | March 4, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Javale is most certainly not the powerful force dwight howard is and in all likelihood never will be. javale is a guy who shot and made threes in college(.333), could you imagine dwight doing that? they are very different players, but I think his frame will allow him to get bigger than camby. either way he's got what you can't teach with his length and quickness, his strength needs to improve and all the things that can be taught need to be learned. from what I see, he is making strides despite his inconsistent minutes and hopefully the 32 minutes becomes a trend tonight.

Posted by: bford1kb | March 4, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"One thing I've noticed, and I'm not the first -- people who are really great at playing a sport seem easily frustrated when confronted with those who aren't. Maybe that's why the best coaches come from the ranks of the plodders and grunts of basketball -- the ones who had to learn it the hard way.

Just speculation, of course.

It's not speculation; it's pretty much time tested fact. It's esp. true in these days when the league is more star-driven than it ever was.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 4, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"So I guess a Non-traditional star isn't really a star....????

Sloan was not a dominating force that teams were built around, he wasn't a go-to guy, or a franchise centerpiece or a HOF caliber player. Unless you're lowering the bar to say that any player who makes an all-star team is a legit "star" then Sloan doesn't fit the bill. Sloan was a multiple all-star, but so were Brad Miller and Ben Wallace. Do you think people will be referring to them unconditionally as "stars" in 20 years? Doubt it.

"Spotlight/glamour guy....wait are we talking about sports or showbiz?"

If you don't think sports is showbiz, you should take a closer look.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 4, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

there were some other older coaches who were great players but they were people I'd never even heard of, played in the 40's and what not but it makes perfect sense that players who had to be the relentless worker on the floor end up making the best coaches

Posted by: bford1kb | March 4, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

None of which is to say Ewing can't or won't be a great coach, but history and the odds don't favor it. Given the Wizards' situation, they'd be much better off going for someone with a track record and experience than rolling the dice on someone who's unproven just because he was a HoF player and a "hometown guy."

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 4, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

"Do you think people will be referring to them unconditionally as "stars" in 20 years? Doubt it."

Well Sloan retired for more than 20 years but he's been considered as a "star" by a lot of knowledgeable people in the league.

Just in the last game, Phil Chenier mentioned Sloan and I forgot the other guys name who just died (RIP) as one of the best backcourt tandem the league has produce.

I guess it really depends on what criteria you're looking for. If you base them with a Bird and Magic then you'll have just a handful for many years.

Posted by: Dave381 | March 4, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of teams who are going to be really good in three more years - the WIZARDS. THABEET and HAYWOOD at center. McGEE and BLATCHE at power forwards both of whom can play 4 or 5. McGUIRE at #3, YOUNG at #2 and ARENAS and CRITTENTON at #1 plus seven potential draft picks for back-ups or trades, and we're out of the financial straight-jacket of JAMISON, THOMAS and SONGAILA's contracts. PECHEROV as a role player - maybe. BUTLER long gone for financial reasons in the short-run.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 4, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Sloan is widely considered to have been a great player, there's no question about that. But not all great players are automatically stars. Star status has as much to do with ego and personality as it does playing ability, which is one of the main reasons stars tend not to make great coaches.

"Well Sloan retired for more than 20 years but he's been considered as a "star" by a lot of knowledgeable people in the league."

Not really. He's regarded as having been a great player, but most knowledgeable NBA people regard him as an example (perhaps the prototypical example) of a guy who succeeded through his willingness to do the dirty work outside of the spotlight that most stars don't do.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 4, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Dwight Howard was 240 when he was drafted. He's put on 25 pounds of muscle (mostly in his upper body) since then.

McGee weighs 242 (although he's two inches taller than Howard).

McGee also has a good attitude and works at the game.

Where are the minutes and his big-man coach? The Wiz are being incredibly short-sighted.

Posted by: Izman | March 4, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

izman: "Dwight Howard was 240 when he was drafted. He's put on 25 pounds of muscle (mostly in his upper body) since then.McGee weighs 242 (although he's two inches taller than Howard)."

Well, at least you're not citing his PER LOL.

I'll just close by saying that if Howard looks like Superman, McGee must be... well... man.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 4, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

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