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The Other Side: Oklahoma City Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder had the makings of a disaster at the start of last season, when it won just three of its first 32 games. But the Thunder was a second-half surprise under Coach Scott Brooks, going 20-30 the rest of the way -- including an 88-83 win over the Wizards last March -- and has continued to improve. The Thunder is already 6-6, with wins over Orlando, Miami and San Antonio and it is coming off a 108-94 loss in Orlando on Wednesday. Here's what else you need to know about the Thunder:


We don't stink anymore! (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

1. Folks in Washington already know that Kevin Durant is a budding but low-key star, but few realize that he is also in pursuit of his college degree -- so are Russell Westbrook and fellow D.C. area native Jeff Green. He ranks sixth in the NBA in scoring at 27.1 points per game - with the help of his foul line shoulder shimmy -- but after being held to a season-low 12 points against Orlando, Durant said he doesn't think he can win the scoring title.

2. Etan Thomas is back home in Oklahoma, where as a high school star in Tulsa, he was known as "Derrick," even though his given first name is Dedrick. Thomas has a new book of poetry coming out next spring, but he already is expressing himself in his blog on Hoopshype.com. He touches a range of topics, including team trainers or doctors who "consistently misdiagnose numerous players." Who could he be talking about?

3. Second-year point guard Russell Westbrook is a feisty, athletic, combo guard who wears No. 0, but he's never had the chance to play against the man who helped inspire his jersey number choice. As a matter of fact, Durant and Green have never faced Gilbert Arenas, either.

By Michael Lee  |  November 20, 2009; 4:07 PM ET
 
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Next: Wizards (3-7) at Thunder (6-6)

Comments

give etan hell, brendan.

Posted by: tgif11 | November 20, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

"They don't or won't allow themselves to see that he is a "pure" point guard and a general on the floor. "

Unless you're taking heavy doses of hallucinogens, it's pretty hard to see something that isn't there. Boykins is not and never has been a "true" PG. More to the point, most of the PGs in the NBA are not "true" PGs, a state of affairs that's been in place for a long time now.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 20, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Dang. I knew I should have passed on those mushrooms in my salad.......I must have got some bad ones when I wrote that last post.......

Posted by: BulletsFever | November 20, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

This will not be easy, the Thunder will be ramped up after they were "beat down" in Orlando the other night, Durant poses a huge matchup problem whether Jamison or Butler cover him and then it's on to San Antonio where "Timmaayy" awaits, they will be lucky if they get a split.

Posted by: dargregmag | November 20, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

SDMDTSU - The reason why he is was on 9 teams is because most teams can't look past the fact the dude is 5 foot 5 and 135 pounds. They don't or won't allow themselves to see that he is a "pure" point guard and a general on the floor. Folks get hungup on the external instead of the internal.

They (past coaches and gm's) don't or won't allow themselves to see his heart, his quicks, his offensive game (nice "j" and can go to the hole), and the pure energy and change of tempo he is able to provide to a squad.

So what he can get posted up on the defensive end, big deal. Most teams will use that ploy about 3 times straight max and then go back to their regular offensive sets. Gilbert and Foye got posted up by Wade and others on the regular and they are both over 6 foot 4. NY at 6 foot 7 gets posted up. That kind of talk, saying Bokins is a liability on the defensive block, is overrated.

Boykins plus's outweigh his negatives by a double margin. What he brings to the floor is infectious energy and you can't teach that or put a price tag on it. Look at the team on how they react to his play. Bokins brings a "Rudy" affect to the squad and in my book "ain't" nothing wrong with that.

All that is well and good but Boykins hasn't been a true PG since in the 2 games he's been here. He's been a scorer. Like I said, in both games where his defender is physical with him bringing the ball up it's hard for him to get in position or where he needs to be. Delonte West did it and basically pinned him in the corner and Mike Miller had to come get the ball, and I know in the 3rd quarter of the Detroit game I was like why are they still letting him bring the ball up?!?! the 10+ seconds he takes sometimes disrupts the offensive flow.

He takes bad shots but in the 2 games he's played they've dropped. Cool. People won't feel the same way once his FG% falls from that 52% he's at now to his career average of about 41%. He's even been out of control sometimes for us but scores so it's okay...if some of those don't drop (as the eventually wont) the opinions will change.

You really think GM's are letting him go because he's 5'5''??? Yeah he's a great player that helps us win but he's 5'5''. Let's cut him. 9 different GM's that don't carry about winning?

On defense (which I didn't even mention) Delonte West has his way with him and scored. You can't give him help against Cleveland because of the 3pt shooters.

Like I said...he's a good sparkplug for some minutes...but please don't overestate his value after two games.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | November 20, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"This will not be easy, the Thunder will be ramped up after they were "beat down" in Orlando the other night, Durant poses a huge matchup problem whether Jamison or Butler cover him and then it's on to San Antonio where "Timmaayy" awaits, they will be lucky if they get a split."

I actually think they may have a better shot against the Spurs. They're banged up and playing shorthanded and have looked a step slow all season. I can see the quickness and athleticism of the Thunder giving the Wiz some problems.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 20, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

The Poet will slam in Brendan's face and Syracuse will handle North Carolina.

Go Cuse!

Posted by: elfreako | November 20, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

brendan will punch etan in the face and head to a neutral corner.

go wiz!

Posted by: tgif11 | November 20, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Brenda will try to pull hair like a female soccer player.

Etan will bust him in his noggin with a Shaka Zulu elbow.

Posted by: elfreako | November 20, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I actually think they may have a better shot against the Spurs. They're banged up and playing shorthanded and have looked a step slow all season. I can see the quickness and athleticism of the Thunder giving the Wiz some problems.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 20, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Texas trip, time change, second of back-to-back, third game in four nights, lacking in mental toughness in general. I give them two chances against SAS. Slim and none. Would LOVE for them to prove me wrong, though.

P.S. Thunder beat Magic by 28 a couple of weeks ago, so they're definitely capable. At 6-6 to start the season, they are a much improved team. Hope we don't sleep on them.

Posted by: bpybay | November 20, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

... Durant poses a huge matchup problem whether Jamison or Butler cover him ...

Posted by: dargregmag | November 20, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Bigger than LeBron?

Posted by: bpybay | November 20, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

no

Posted by: tgif11 | November 21, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

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