The Thunder dropped to 11-18 with a solid wire to wire 98-85 loss to the Bucks in Milwaukee on Friday night. There was no real turning point in this game. The Thunder did what they should have been doing about two weeks ago and lost.
The Thunder at 11-18 which translates to a .379 winning perecenatge currently stands as the fifth worse team in the NBA and a team which just pissed away the 17th pick in this past summer’s NBA draft.
If I had to pick a Thunder player of the game…I’d probably go with the guys who I now are going to play hard every night at this point, that being Lu Dort, Isiah Roby, Mike Muscala, Diallo, and Kenrich. Pick one of these guys—they always play hard. SGA and Darius Bazely—step up and show me some professional toughness.
This is when you find out about character in certain guys because this won’t be pretty in Oklahoma City with 43 games still remaining on the 72 game schedule.
I’m okay as a blogger/fan because OU has an even deeper more talented team than they did with the Buddy Hield Final Four team and I’ve enjoyed following Cade Cunningham’s one and done season with O State. Plus, I love ice hockey and I enjoy watching other NBA teams beyond the Thunder.
So for me…the storyline with the Thunder is simply this—you can’t f–k this up and waste another draft pick this coming summer.
The storyline for me in Oklahoma City the next two season will be if the Thunder can economically survive as an NBA franchise in a predominantly white market where 75% of the ticketholders love Donald Trump and probably have little empathy for Black Lives Matter parades.
So…if I’m Sam Presti and I’ve just pissed away last year’s pick on a kid who looks like a refugee from the Bosnian War….what I’m going to do with this top five pick is pick a player who gives my team credibility, plus entertainment value to sell tickets and put people in the seats.
Here’s what I would do first…I’d scratch the center from USC–Evan Mobley from my top five because centers in the NBA are like running backs in the NFL valuewise. Namely, for what NBA teams ask out of the center position currently–I don’t think I’d use a top five pick on a center unless I was sure he was a not miss type of player… maybe even quasi generational.
Learn from the mistake you just made by overpaying Steven Adams in a big way.
Portland took Greg Oden, OKC took Kevin Durant. Know what I mean? How did that work out for Portland.
I’m not huge on Jalen Suggs from Gonzaga even though I think he’s a solid guard. I think Jerod Butler at Baylor in the mid first range could give you what Jalen Suggs is going to give you.
This leaves me with three players at the top of my list in no real specific order… Cade Cunningham, Jonathon Kuminga and Jalen Green. Two of these kids are in the G League’s Professional Pathway Program — which in retrospect is what Cade should have done as well.
What’s happening to Cade in some of these Big 12 games is that excellent coaches in the league like Bill Self, Lon Kruger, Chris Beard, Bob Huggins, Jaime Dixon, and maybe even Scott Drew for godssake are throwing two to three guys at Cade every time he gets near the lane. In the NBA’s flowing pick and roll game with space galore that won’t be as much of a concern for Cade.
BTW, the top five coaches I just named from the Big 12 are all more qualified as head coaches than the five guys coaching in the Northwest Diivison of the NBA in my opinion… minus Terry Stotts at Portland. Keep in mind with all due respect to Quin Snyder, the current head coach at Utah with the NBA’s best record this season so far, he got fired at Missouri when they were a Big 12 member. That’s not a diss at Coach Snyder…just an obeservation. It’s a tough league…much tougher than a Greek B League.
I haven’t featured Jalen Green on my blog yet. I’ll do that now. Then maybe later today after OU plays at Iowa State…I’ll post something on the G League’s Professional Pathway Program and why it should turn out to be a good thing for players like Cade Cunningham, Jonathon Kuminga, and Jalen Green in the future.
Clearly…I’m a hoops junkie and maybe now with the Trump Family mafia running a Palm Springs HOA…I can keep more of my attention on sports.
So here’s a look at the talented Jalen Green.
If you keep a close eye on the video you’ll see Jalen versus Poku in a recent G League game. Berry Tramel, who I like, can’t write fiduciary malpractice on Sam Presti for this pick because he wants to continue having off the record access — so I’ll write it for him–fiduciary malpractice. It’s kind of sad actually.