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Would the Thunder be even better if they had Harden?

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Post#1 Would the Thunder be even better if they had
Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:50 am by KingzAndQueenz

I say no. Unless Harden could be satisfied being a 3rd option, I don't see how he would really make them better. It seems Westbrook has finally relinquished control to Durant. End game, he gives the ball to Durant and gets out of the way. It seems the Thunder are even better this year than last.

Anyone think differently?
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Post#2 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:51 am by BBall Loyalty

Yes because Harden is better than Martin.

and he was okay with being the 3rd option
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Post#3 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:51 am by twinthunder3

Their bench would. Other than that, Kevin Martin is a suitable replacement, but he's no franchise player.
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Post#4 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:53 am by fallacy

yes, slightly. Just because Harden is better than Martin, but Harden can't be utilized in OKC. Martin fits better with the starters, but not the bench. OKC has one of the best offenses in the last 15 years, so I can't complain too much. Also the defense has been much better without Harden, whatever the reason.
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Post#5 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:53 am by TwentyOne920

Well, they'd be better, but would it allow Durant to try and work on being a playmaker?

Westbrook had fewer assists last season because he handled the ball less in crunch time.
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Post#6 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:56 am by SideshowBob

Posted this on the PC board a few days ago

SideshowBob wrote:2012 Regular Season

Durant + Westbrook (No Harden) - 103.4 ORTG in 1090.0 minutes

Harden + Westbrook (No Durant) - 108.7 ORTG in 64.1 minutes

Durant + Harden (No Westbrook) - 112.0 ORTG in 254.9 minutes

Durant + Westbrook + Harden - 117.5 ORTG in 1167.0 minutes (+12.9 League Average)


2012 Playoffs

Durant + Westbrook (No Harden) - 103.5 ORTG in 308.8 minutes

Harden + Westbrook (No Durant) - 121.4 ORTG in 28.4 minutes

Durant + Harden (No Westbrook) - 97.3 ORTG in 98.1 minutes

Durant + Westbrook + Harden - 119.4 ORTG in 430.0 minutes (+14.8 League Average)

They were destroying teams with all three of them on the floor last year. That's a nearly 120 ORTG lineup playing 21.5 minutes a game in the playoffs


I don't see any reason why they wouldn't have worked again this season. Considering all three have made improvements, they would've been even more dominant offensively than they are now.
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Post#7 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:06 am by spearsy23

Marginally at best and there wouldn't be near as much improvement from ibaka.
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Post#8 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:52 am by Doctor MJ

KingzAndQueenz wrote:I say no. Unless Harden could be satisfied being a 3rd option, I don't see how he would really make them better. It seems Westbrook has finally relinquished control to Durant. End game, he gives the ball to Durant and gets out of the way. It seems the Thunder are even better this year than last.

Anyone think differently?


They would absolutely be better. Don't overthink it. The issue with Harden was never that OKC couldn't seem to figure out how to benefit by his presence - the team played phenomenal whenever Harden was on the floor - it was simply that everyone knew he was capable of more.

OKC is better this year because the remaining Thunder players got better this year. First and foremost, Kevin Durant took one more step up in his progression.

Also, in case anyone thinks "Okay, but there's a limit to how good teams can get, they aren't far from the ceiling as it is.", I don't think anyone doubts that the Jordan-Pippen Bulls would smoke this team. This team is good enough to win a championship, but also mortal enough that they might not ever win a championship. They could have been even better.
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Post#9 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:05 am by carayip

Sometimes I think the case of having too much talent is true. Sacrificing talent for a better fit can actually allow more opportunities for the rest of players to shine and step up.
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Post#10 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:13 am by carayip

Doctor MJ wrote:
KingzAndQueenz wrote:I say no. Unless Harden could be satisfied being a 3rd option, I don't see how he would really make them better. It seems Westbrook has finally relinquished control to Durant. End game, he gives the ball to Durant and gets out of the way. It seems the Thunder are even better this year than last.

Anyone think differently?


They would absolutely be better. Don't overthink it. The issue with Harden was never that OKC couldn't seem to figure out how to benefit by his presence - the team played phenomenal whenever Harden was on the floor - it was simply that everyone knew he was capable of more.

OKC is better this year because the remaining Thunder players got better this year. First and foremost, Kevin Durant took one more step up in his progression.


I don't think with Harden, Durant and Westbrook would step up improving their playmaking or at least have as many chances as they currently enjoy to show off it. Ibaka also improves solely by being given more touches and shots without the presence of Harden. There is only one ball in a 5 men game, all 5 men can't really handle the ball and score at the same time.
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Post#11 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:57 am by BigLurch92

carayip wrote:Sometimes I think the case of having too much talent is true. Sacrificing talent for a better fit can actually allow more opportunities for the rest of players to shine and step up.


Totally agree with this.
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Post#12 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:57 am by Doctor MJ

carayip wrote:I don't think with Harden, Durant and Westbrook would step up improving their playmaking or at least have as many chances as they currently enjoy to show off it. Ibaka also improves solely by being given more touches and shots without the presence of Harden. There is only one ball in a 5 men game, all 5 men can't really handle the ball and score at the same time.


When you speak of chances, remember that Durant & Westbrook's volume remain roughly constant. I understand there's been some shift in playmaking, but the team isn't better because Durant & Westbrook have suddenly become much better playmakers than Harden was. While Ibaka's improvements are obvious and coarse due to how rough his game was, the improvements elsewhere are based on subtle improvements that just have a lot to do with players getting more experienced and more savvy.

I understand that OKC has been good now for years so we have a tendency to think we have a grasp of what they are, but the stars of the team are still in their early 20s. While continued improvement isn't a given, when we see it happen no one should find it hard to believe.

With all said, I'll grant you that the shift in responsibilities in the team this year could have pushed players in a slightly different direction with what has turned out to be a big payoff. In that sense it's possible that Harden's leaving could have helped accelerate some good things. I just object to anyone trying to merely take correlation for causation here. The team always played phenomenal when Harden was out there. There was never a time where people watched the Harden lineups and said "They look so good, but the data is telling us they aren't actually that effective". It was always the opposite, and it was always the case that the team had other lineups that were underwhelming. Additionally, basically the entire time Harden was there people praised both his IQ and his ability to blend with the other talents. He was the one who had to defer, and he was the one who was being clearly held back, not the other way around.
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Post#13 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:01 am by Doctor MJ

carayip wrote:Sometimes I think the case of having too much talent is true. Sacrificing talent for a better fit can actually allow more opportunities for the rest of players to shine and step up.


This is undoubtedly true, but it's not what OKC did with the trade. The issue with Harden was never that the team couldn't do phenomenal with him our there with Durant & Westbrook, it was that his talent level justified a salary that it's very hard to justify giving to a 6th man, along with the fact that Harden started getting really curious about what he could actually do if he were the Man.
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Post#14 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:04 am by Frank Mulely

Yes. Of COURSE.
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Post#15 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:07 am by Frank Mulely

BigLurch92 wrote:
carayip wrote:Sometimes I think the case of having too much talent is true. Sacrificing talent for a better fit can actually allow more opportunities for the rest of players to shine and step up.


Totally agree with this.


72 lakers
85 celtics
96 bulls

etc.

talent wins, period.
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Post#16 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:15 am by anish23

how many times will this get discussed?

seriously.
Hmm......
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Post#17 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:28 am by ferk

Maybe
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Post#18 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:36 am by branny

Of course they would
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Post#19 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:22 am by Durant 35

Harden is better than Martin but Martin is a perfect fit and has allowed Westbrook and Durant to grow more and take on more of a balling handling role. Ibaka has improved alot too offensively so it's all had it's positives.
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Post#20 Re: Would the Thunder be even better if they
Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:29 am by Dupp

KingzAndQueenz wrote:I say no. Unless Harden could be satisfied being a 3rd option, I don't see how he would really make them better. It seems Westbrook has finally relinquished control to Durant. End game, he gives the ball to Durant and gets out of the way. It seems the Thunder are even better this year than last.

Anyone think differently?



This doesnt make any sense. He was perfectly fine with his role there. Of course they'd be better.
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