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spreadeagle
11-05-2012, 03:16 PM
It has been a strange thing to see — barking and bickering among the tight chemistry of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

It’s come up every game so far this season, Darnell Maryberry of the Oklahoman described Sunday’s incident in a loss to the Hawks.

At the end of the first quarter, Thabo Sefolosha and Russell Westbrook had to be separated from exchanging words as they walked to the bench. It was a show of anger that surprisingly was also seen from the same two as they walked off the court at halftime Friday night.

In other moments Kevin Durant has barked at Serge Ibaka, and Kendrick Perkins and Ibaka have pointed fingers.

It’s odd because it wasn’t something we saw the past few years as this team made its runs, eventually all the way to the NBA finals. Not that everything was puppy dogs and rainbows around the Thunder, but there was not a lot of public tension.

This isn’t just about James Harden being traded, although that certainly is part of it because it was a big change to the chemistry of the team. Harden had grown up with the Thunder. It was a blow to Durant and Westbrook.

But you can add to that change the strain of expectations. Oklahoma City is no longer the young underdogs everyone wants to see succeed — they are a team that has been to the NBA finals, a team people expect to return to the biggest NBA dance and win it this time.

A team that expects itself to succeed.

All that has led to some tension, some strain on the family feelings around the team.

But don’t expect this to be a long-term concern. Not with Durant and Westbrook in charge — there is no doubt whose team this is (and was even before Harden was sent away). That super duo is going to figure it out, the team will get over this bump.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks and the players there told Royce Young of Eye on Basketball not to worry.

“I’ve never once went into a practice or a game thinking ‘Oh my gosh, I’m really worried about our chemistry tonight,” Brooks said. “[Chemistry] was never a question. It really wasn’t. I think when you talk about chemistry with our group and if you question it, I don’t think you’ve been around our group as long as I have.”

“You can’t duplicate it,” Westbrook said of chemistry, “but we have a group of guys that have been here for a while. We’re switching the team up a little bit but every year we’ve had a different team and we’ve found a way to incorporate guys and make sure everybody knows what it takes for us to win. So I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.”

It’s not. Perceived problems (or success) gets overblown the first couple weeks of a season (see Lakers for more info). Things find their level and even out, as will happen with the chemistry of the Thunder. They are figuring it out. They will get there and be who we expect as the season moves on.

http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/11/05/strain-of-change-leading-to-concerns-about-thunder-chemistry/

Baller1
11-05-2012, 03:23 PM
Shouldn't have traded Harden. Bottom line.

SINCESTARBURY25
11-05-2012, 03:44 PM
Harden was a big piece. To take that away and add K.Mart it may not work out well.

topdog
11-05-2012, 04:00 PM
Are we really going to ignore all the stories from the last few years about Durant and Westbrook arguing on the sidelines? This isn't exactly new, but it is a good way for a columnist to make the news.

deaner
11-05-2012, 04:07 PM
How long before KD asks for a trade to his favourite team?

: )

He will be welcome in Toronto. Haha

torocan
11-05-2012, 04:10 PM
How long before KD asks for a trade to his favourite team?

: )

He will be welcome in Toronto. Haha

Ya, I just don't see that happening.

If KD went anywhere, it would probably be either a top contender, or possibly even to reunite with Harden. At a minimum, he would get more touches.

If I were KD, I would find some of Westbrook's decisions maddening... as good as Westbrook is, some nights he really does try to shoot too much. It makes me shake my head some nights when you have arguably the best scorer in the NBA playing beside you and still decide to take a severely contested shot...

deaner
11-05-2012, 04:18 PM
Ya, I just don't see that happening.

If KD went anywhere, it would probably be either a top contender, or possibly even to reunite with Harden. At a minimum, he would get more touches.

If I were KD, I would find some of Westbrook's decisions maddening... as good as Westbrook is, some nights he really does try to shoot too much. It makes me shake my head some nights when you have arguably the best scorer in the NBA playing beside you and still decide to take a severely contested shot...

It was said tongue in check.... But KD inserted into the raptors starting 5 makes them legit wouldn't it?

torocan
11-05-2012, 04:41 PM
It was said tongue in check.... But KD inserted into the raptors starting 5 makes them legit wouldn't it?

KD makes just about any team in the league a contender for a playoff spot...

CityofTreez
11-05-2012, 04:46 PM
Are we really going to ignore all the stories from the last few years about Durant and Westbrook arguing on the sidelines? This isn't exactly new, but it is a good way for a columnist to make the news.

Agreed. Media has been concerned with Westbrook & Durant for 2 years now.

Losing Harden is a big hit, but in reality, there's always been a concern in chemistry.

Bruno
11-05-2012, 04:50 PM
Shouldn't have traded Harden. Bottom line.

huge mistake. dont care what they got in return. he should have been the guy right behind durant on their untouchable list.

JasonJohnHorn
11-05-2012, 04:57 PM
K-Mart has been shooting the lights out and pouring is as many points if not more than Harden did (though he doesn't provide the ball handling Harden did).

The chemistry issues... I think, are a result of Westbrook jacking up shots when he should be passing. Durnat has be facilitating more, Martin is playing very well off the bench... it's Westbrook that is shooting below 40% from the floor right now.

I haven't watched any Thunder games yet this season, so I may not be best suited to comment, but looking at the stat lines, Westbrook is the biggest problem the Thunder have right now. Of course, I'm not a big fan of score-first PGs....

lakers4sho
11-05-2012, 05:00 PM
Durant to lakers get it done mitch

deaner
11-05-2012, 05:01 PM
Durant to lakers get it done mitch

KD to the lakers might even make them an above 500 team

Baller1
11-05-2012, 05:05 PM
huge mistake. dont care what they got in return. he should have been the guy right behind durant on their untouchable list.

Yup. Presti hasn't messed up much as a GM, but he is going to seriously regret that move.

I'm super curious would he could've gotten for Westbrook.

I Rock Shaqs
11-05-2012, 05:25 PM
Ya, I just don't see that happening.

If KD went anywhere, it would probably be either a top contender, or possibly even to reunite with Harden. At a minimum, he would get more touches.

If I were KD, I would find some of Westbrook's decisions maddening... as good as Westbrook is, some nights he really does try to shoot too much. It makes me shake my head some nights when you have arguably the best scorer in the NBA playing beside you and still decide to take a severely contested shot...

It's called a joke sir, try for once in your life smiling or having fun... It's a good feeling.

AddiX
11-05-2012, 05:28 PM
I don't think they ever had great chemistry, Good, not great though.

They just had incredible talent.

TheSource
11-05-2012, 06:11 PM
What Harden gave to the team was more than just scoring, and that's why I just laughed when people said K-Mart could replace just because he averaged around the same points.

Harden's points came by carrying the offensive load while Kevin Durant and Westbrook were resting, and did it effectively by also setting up his teammates, better than their starting PG at that.

Then add to the fact that James Harden was alongside the 2 for a long time, playoff runs, and winning the Olympic gold medal together would've definitely increased their chemistry. K-Mart might be able to get the same points on the board as Harden would've, but what Harden did was much more than that.

torocan
11-05-2012, 06:34 PM
I haven't watched any Thunder games yet this season, so I may not be best suited to comment, but looking at the stat lines, Westbrook is the biggest problem the Thunder have right now. Of course, I'm not a big fan of score-first PGs....

I'm fine with score first PG's... as long as they're AS efficient when they shoot as other scorers if they had Passed the ball.

I've always believed that the pure "volume" scorers are over-rated. Sure, it's great to put up 30 points, but if you need to take 28 shots to do it wouldn't it make more sense to Spread out that scoring so you get 30 points on 20 shots? After all, a possession is a possession, right?

I dunno, it just seems like a very poor use of a possession to me if you're taking low percentage shots when there are better options on the floor (like KD). Similarly, I hate it when Great shooters decide NOT to pass when it's clear that their shot is going to be highly difficult and there are viable shooters with a better shot open...