Clay Bennett and his team won’t rank high. Tanking in a big way and for very long will not play in a place like Oklahoma.
The Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis tank which put Clay Bennett in a position to tank for the rights to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden primarily took place while the franchise was still in Seattle in wait of being shipped to Oklahoma by the Thunder ownership group.
Only one season of tanking took place in Oklahoma and in that initial season in Oklahoma the Thunder went 23-59, but it was a fun mini-tank. Scott Brooks told the kids to run back faster and play harder. He screamed at them to play defense. Can anyone in their right mind a decade later imagine the expressions on the three faces of Durant, Westbrook and Harden now if a coach talked to them like Scott Brooks did back in the beginning?
They’d walk. Their agents would demand a trade. The hard core truth is Oklahoma isn’t much a place for an NBA star once they reach their third contract in the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement. The tenets of slavery per se are gone and a star is free to escape a place like Oklahoma which went almost seventy per cent for Donald Trump.
If I were a black star in the NBA would I play in Oklahoma if I didn’t have to?
Not a chance.
Can you imagine former Clay Bennett employee Berry Tramel or Little Nick Gallo or Low Energy Royce Young ever writing what I just wrote?
Not a chance.
But anyway, where will the Thunder rank if they go too far and too long into a tanking mode?
I’d say it would go something like this: 1 OU football, 2 O State football, 3 maybe the hoops program between OU and O State which emerges as the alpha dog this year after both have good recruiting classes in place, 4 the Cleveland Browns, and then maybe the Thunder if they tank beyond this one season.
Tanking will not play in Oklahoma. John Blake was not a tanking move, but rather just a horrific decision on a coaching hire. Travis Ford was not a tanking strategy either, but again it was just another bad coaching hire after Bill Self said ‘no thanks’.
OU didn’t stockpile draft picks during the John Blake Era in Norman. Rather it brought empty seats, apathy, and malaise.
This is just me thinking out loud, but if I were the Thunder ownership group I wouldn’t tank hard and I wouldn’t tank long.