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Grantland: What if This is OKC's Last Shot?

S2J
S2J Members Posts: 28,476 ✭✭✭✭✭
Long, great read. A lot of the thoughts sound...familiar.

Here's some highlights:

-2002 Kings...They were saying all the right things about losing to the Lakers. It’s just the beginning. This is the start of something bigger. You can’t win the big one until you lose a few tough ones. Their boss overheard and went the other way, wondering aloud, What if that was it? What if that was our shot? That moment resonated for a simple reason: That WAS their shot. And that WAS it...Will we remember Oklahoma City that way someday?

-We overrate youth and potential with sports, movies, TV, music, art and even politics — it’s more enjoyable to imagine what something might become. We envision the Thunder overpowering LeBron’s Heat in Durant’s MVP season because that’s the age-old NBA formula, right? Young guys work their way up, learn a few lessons, suffer some pain, finally overpower the incumbents, battle all comers for the next few years … and then the cycle repeats. The Thunder could definitely topple San Antonio and Miami next month, but they’re just as likely to not win a single title with Durant and Westbrook.

-Every generation has its version of the ’62 Lakers and ’77 Blazers, contenders that fooled us into thinking their window would last longer than it did. The ’86 Rockets, ’88 Mavericks and ’96 Sonics were ravaged by drugs, injuries and/or money. An alpha-dog battle submarined the Shaq-Penny dynasty in Orlando and, later, a possible seven-title run for Shaq and Kobe in Los Angeles. Derrick Rose, C-Webband James Silas suffered untimely knee injuries that ruined legitimate title windows for the Bulls, Kings and Spurs. Steve Nash’s critically acclaimed Suns teams kept falling short in increasingly unfair ways.

-You’re more likely to bemoan the opportunities that slipped away. My father and I talk about the Celtics blowing the 2010 title waaaaaaaay more than we talk about the Celtics winning in 2008.

-We thought we were in the minority … until Doc Rivers told me about eating dinner with former assistant Tom Thibodeau last summer. For whatever reason, they spent an hour talking about Game 7. They rehashed everything — every decision, every play, every bad break, everything. They nearly broke Kobe and stole the title that year. Came within a couple of minutes, actually. They couldn’t get over it. They just sat there eating and drinking and making each other miserable. Only later did Doc realize that the 2008 Finals never came up.

-So what do you say when those opportunities haven’t slipped away yet, but you’re probably more likely to see that happen than anything else? Am I a sour pessimist for bringing this up? When should you start feeling real anxiety over something as simple as “We might have Durant and Westbrook for their entire careers … how could we NOT win a couple of titles?”

-The Thunder’s “journey” scenario looks so obvious. They were the Up-and-Coming Young Guys in 2010 and 2011, then barged into the 2012 Finals before losing to Miami. With their best four players younger than 25, they seemed like the safest bet for a multi-title dynasty since the 1995 Magic. (Zero titles for them, by the way.) Just four months later, they stunned the basketball world by dealing James Harden to Houston for financial reasons; even worse, they didn’t obtain a guaranteed blue-chipper in return. Cue up the “journey” music. Actually, let’s just cue up Journey.


-If Durant and Westbrook never win Oklahoma City a title, the Harden trade will forever be the first reason mentioned. We don’t need to rehash the gory details (I already did it here and here), other than to point out that — less than two years later — it’s clear that the Thunder never anticipated this particular post-lockout world. These days, the salary cap and luxury tax thresholds keep climbing, and the value of the league’s next media rights deal (still unsigned) is soaring to the point that afterthought franchises like the lowly Bucks are suddenly worth $550 million. The Thunder EASILY could have afforded Durant, Ibaka, Westbrook and Harden these next two seasons. Right now, they have Steven Adams and the 21st pick of next month’s draft to show for a first-team All-NBA guard. Can you ever recover from that?

-So was last night’s remarkable comeback something of a watershed moment for the Durant-Westbrook “journey”? Can they extend their window for 10 years, or 12, or maybe even 15? Or will some Thunder employee be wondering What if that was it? What if that was our shot? next month and end up looking like Nostradamus? I don’t know, I don’t know, and I don’t know. That’s the thing about the NBA: You NEVER know. Just remember to keep enjoying the ride. Even when it’s a roller coaster.


Full article http://grantland.com/features/simmons-oklahoma-city-thunder-nba-championship/
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Comments

  • S2J
    S2J Members Posts: 28,476 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2014
    http://community.allhiphop.com/discussion/514720/the-i-been-sayin-this-for-years-thread/p1
    S2J wrote: »

    2) KD escapes criticism b/c he's a nice guy. -Dont get me wrong, one of the best scorers ever and #2 in the league now, but the minute Bron won at Miami, I said be careful, b/c now KD is about to enter the category of 'best player to never win it all'...and here we are.

    2a) I also been sayin for years that since KD is slight of frame, come playoffs he gets bodied around and you can deny him the ball.

    3) With Jerey Lamb, Reggie Jackson, or Serge Ibaka as their 3rd option, OKC will NEVER win a title. I understood why OKC traded Harden for financial reasons, but i said that from day 1. Nggas tryied to say they had "potential"....and here we are.

  • O.G.
    O.G. GUILTY BY AFFILIATION. Members Posts: 7,555 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Star players are still under contract. Still got time to do big things.
  • detcatinva
    detcatinva Members Posts: 11,691 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The west is tough their window is closing.

    Portland
    golden state
    clippers
    houston

    All these teams can prevent pic from winning a championship and all those teams have cap space and flexibility to improve the roster.

    Okc needs to trade some of their young players for some veterans
  • greenwood1921
    greenwood1921 Members Posts: 47,115 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's been so much fun having a front office that's so dope that haters like Bill Simmons and the media have to manufacture "fake deadlines" on our success.

    I'll start worrying when they get rid of the draft and stop letting teams scout and develop talent. It's a wrap for us then.
  • ericb4prez
    ericb4prez Members Posts: 4,201 ✭✭✭✭✭
    It's been so much fun having a front office that's so dope that haters like Bill Simmons and the media have to manufacture "fake deadlines" on our success.

    I'll start worrying when they get rid of the draft and stop letting teams scout and develop talent. It's a wrap for us then.

    Lookin back on it do you think they should have kept harden and let Ibaka go and jus sign some quality vet bigs for the low cuz I feel u can replace his production and impact on a game, harden not so much
  • S2J
    S2J Members Posts: 28,476 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2014
    ericb4prez wrote: »
    It's been so much fun having a front office that's so dope that haters like Bill Simmons and the media have to manufacture "fake deadlines" on our success.

    I'll start worrying when they get rid of the draft and stop letting teams scout and develop talent. It's a wrap for us then.

    Lookin back on it do you think they should have kept harden and let Ibaka go and jus sign some quality vet bigs for the low cuz I feel u can replace his production and impact on a game, harden not so much

    I'll answer for him Lol Of course he does. Everybody does. That will go down as one of the most franchise-altering decisons in NBA history. He's just bein a 'company man' puttin up that 'okc got next' front. We been talkin 'OKC got next ' since Mumo X was postin. Enough.

    Why is Ibaka even still playing the 4? Why havent they added a true low post threat? Why is Kendrick Perkins still on the team? They been playin it safe and its gon hurt them
  • greenwood1921
    greenwood1921 Members Posts: 47,115 ✭✭✭✭✭
    ericb4prez wrote: »
    It's been so much fun having a front office that's so dope that haters like Bill Simmons and the media have to manufacture "fake deadlines" on our success.

    I'll start worrying when they get rid of the draft and stop letting teams scout and develop talent. It's a wrap for us then.

    Lookin back on it do you think they should have kept harden and let Ibaka go and jus sign some quality vet bigs for the low cuz I feel u can replace his production and impact on a game, harden not so much

    Get rid of our best defensive player (who isn't even a tru max player) to give a max deal to a streaky player that only plays on one end of the court.

    Yeah, that would've been dope.
  • Olorun22
    Olorun22 Members Posts: 5,696 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Harden wanted to be somewhere else. Point blank period
  • sillyrbbt_03
    sillyrbbt_03 Members Posts: 104
    think Westbrook gona leave eventually
  • ericb4prez
    ericb4prez Members Posts: 4,201 ✭✭✭✭✭
    ericb4prez wrote: »
    It's been so much fun having a front office that's so dope that haters like Bill Simmons and the media have to manufacture "fake deadlines" on our success.

    I'll start worrying when they get rid of the draft and stop letting teams scout and develop talent. It's a wrap for us then.

    Lookin back on it do you think they should have kept harden and let Ibaka go and jus sign some quality vet bigs for the low cuz I feel u can replace his production and impact on a game, harden not so much

    Get rid of our best defensive player (who isn't even a tru max player) to give a max deal to a streaky player that only plays on one end of the court.

    Yeah, that would've been dope.

    It ain't like Ibaka guards perimeter scorers even though I understand him being your best defensive player that 🤬 is mostly about effort and a good team defense can eliminate harden being 1 dimensional


  • greenwood1921
    greenwood1921 Members Posts: 47,115 ✭✭✭✭✭
    En-Fuego22 wrote: »
    Harden wanted to be somewhere else. Point blank period

    Nah, bruh.

    Presti 🤬 up.

    We went from a contender with a .664 winning percentage with Harden...


    ...To a contender with a .726 winning percentage without him.

    And look how we struggled against Memphis this year in the playoffs.

    When Harden was here, we breezed through a easy 7-game series against the Grizz.

    I thought Presti was the Gawd. Not no mo.

    #BillSimmons4GM

  • greenwood1921
    greenwood1921 Members Posts: 47,115 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Lettin Harden walk gotsta be the dumbest move since... Since...



    ...The Spurs let Beno Udrih walk.

    Oh, what u think the Spurs didn't miss him?

    They won a ring with Beno.

    They let him walk after that, and it took them SIX YEARS to get back to the finals. And they lawst.

    Beno would've 🤬 on the Heat.

    And look who discovered and scouted Beno...

    Sam "🤬 Nikka" Presti. smh.

    I bet he talked bad about Beno before he left the spurs and that's why they let him walk.

    Man, I want a fair one with Presti right now. Red head, nerd.
  • greenwood1921
    greenwood1921 Members Posts: 47,115 ✭✭✭✭✭
    O.G. wrote: »
    S2J wrote: »

    That will go down as one of the most franchise-altering decisons in NBA history.

    brooklyn-nets-paul-pierce-kevin-garnett-071813.jpg

    [img]http://cdn.fansided.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/229/files/2014/04/brooklyn-nets-bench-🤬 .gif[/img]

    Foh.

    Spending money deep into the luxury tax in the luxury tax era is the smartest thing for teams to do. Word to Dwight's Lakers.

    Smarten up.

  • S2J
    S2J Members Posts: 28,476 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2014
    O.G. wrote: »
    S2J wrote: »

    That will go down as one of the most franchise-altering decisons in NBA history.

    brooklyn-nets-paul-pierce-kevin-garnett-071813.jpg

    [img]http://cdn.fansided.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/229/files/2014/04/brooklyn-nets-bench-🤬 .gif[/img]

    Ehh, they went for the glory, gave their best shot at a title. Cant knock em.

    OKC gambled and may be remembered for 1) blowin a potential dynasty, and 2) tradin away a perrenial all star and maybe the best player at his position going forward
  • greenwood1921
    greenwood1921 Members Posts: 47,115 ✭✭✭✭✭
    A$AP_A$TON wrote: »
    I can't stand Kendrick Perkins.

    That's it.

    Perk hate u too, lil Nikka.
  • achewon87
    achewon87 Mash Out Posse Survivor Series '97Members Posts: 5,464 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Simmons out here trolling...
  • O.G.
    O.G. GUILTY BY AFFILIATION. Members Posts: 7,555 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2014
    S2J wrote: »
    O.G. wrote: »
    S2J wrote: »

    That will go down as one of the most franchise-altering decisons in NBA history.

    brooklyn-nets-paul-pierce-kevin-garnett-071813.jpg

    [img]http://cdn.fansided.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/229/files/2014/04/brooklyn-nets-bench-🤬 .gif[/img]

    Ehh, they went for the glory, gave their best shot at a title. Cant knock em.

    OKC gambled and may be remembered for 1) blowin a potential dynasty, and 2) tradin away a perrenial all star and maybe the best player at his position going forward

    But they are only 9 wins away from starting a new dynasty without Harden. Harden's playoff performances since the trade does not prove that OKC really needed him. Don't forget OKC was without Russ in the 'offs last year. Who knows how far they would have gone with him?
  • A$AP_A$TON
    A$AP_A$TON 30 Year Old Version Members Posts: 11,691 ✭✭✭✭✭
    A$AP_A$TON wrote: »
    I can't stand Kendrick Perkins.

    That's it.

    Perk hate u too, lil Nikka.

    You know you feel the same way I do. Could still have Jeff Green brah.

  • greenwood1921
    greenwood1921 Members Posts: 47,115 ✭✭✭✭✭
    A$AP_A$TON wrote: »
    A$AP_A$TON wrote: »
    I can't stand Kendrick Perkins.

    That's it.

    Perk hate u too, lil Nikka.

    You know you feel the same way I do. Could still have Jeff Green brah.

    Word. That Jeff Green trade was wack too. Jeff Green would've averaged at least 20-25 ppg had he stayed.

    Smh.

  • RiGGA
    RiGGA Members Posts: 3,219 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Greenwood: May the feels be with you
  • S2J
    S2J Members Posts: 28,476 ✭✭✭✭✭
    O.G. wrote: »
    S2J wrote: »
    O.G. wrote: »
    S2J wrote: »

    That will go down as one of the most franchise-altering decisons in NBA history.

    brooklyn-nets-paul-pierce-kevin-garnett-071813.jpg

    [img]http://cdn.fansided.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/229/files/2014/04/brooklyn-nets-bench-🤬 .gif[/img]

    Ehh, they went for the glory, gave their best shot at a title. Cant knock em.

    OKC gambled and may be remembered for 1) blowin a potential dynasty, and 2) tradin away a perrenial all star and maybe the best player at his position going forward

    But they are only 9 wins away from starting a new dynasty without Harden. Harden's playoff performances since the trade does not prove that OKC really needed him. Don't forget OKC was without Russ in the 'offs last year. Who knows how far they would have gone with him?

    Harden is a #1 option now. He would be their #3 option. Big difference.

    Think about that. James Harden is your THIRD best player.

    Harden's name now is kinda bein drug thru the mud, for whatever reason, but no matter what people say, he's arguably the best SG in the league. 25, 5, and 5. Unguardable...and that would be their THIRD best player.