2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread

Moderators: Andre Roberstan, ThunderBolt

slick_watts
Retired Mod
Retired Mod
Posts: 14,013
And1: 3,323
Joined: Jan 03, 2005
Location: Miami, FL

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#201 » by slick_watts » Tue Apr 23, 2019 5:11 pm

Pillendreher wrote:is simply untrue. Westbrook has of course changed his game and has changed it significantly this season. He's on pace to have the lowest USG% of his postseason career since 2010 and is also averaging way more assists than last season when he had the highest USG% in the league in the postseason (despite his teammates missing close to everything in the first two games).


er, i mean, we can make all sorts of claims if we're using four games of evidence as the basis for those claims. westbrook's usage was lower this year than it has been since kd left, but still 30%+. most of his peripheral stats are in-line with what he's done before he's just been far less efficient.

for some reason he decided to stop chasing offensive rebounds so much, so i guess that's a change.

Pillendreher wrote:Contrary to what pundits say, this isn't Westbrook shooting the Thunder out of the series because of some feud with another player (funnily enough, Portland talks just as much ****, but lo and behold, they are suddenly the mature ones while the narrative of the childish Thunder gets driven down our throats). Yes, in game 4 he took some very questionable shots at the end of the 2nd quarter and two or three in the 2nd half, but other than that, he has had two great games (1 and 3) and two bad games (2 and 4). More often than not he has been setting up his teammates for good shots this series. His shooting performance overall leaves a lot to be desired, but I guess that has been the norm for him this season. Him attacking the paint less than he did last postseason against Gobert (!) even though he has nobody infront of him that can actually defend him is really hurting his overall performance. But then again: Is that Westbrook or Donovan? Who is responsible for gameplanning and adjustments?


i don't really disagree with any of this but i don't see how it's pertinent either. westbrook's inability to make jump shots has certainly made its mark on the series as it did last year against utah, and we even have quotations from the portland bench insinuating as much. he's been fine as a play maker, sure. the team's inability to make shots he sets up is a problem, sure. but again, what's the relevance here?

i think the statement that westbrook cannot deviate means he needs the ball in his hands to be effective and needs a certain structure around him for the offense to be consistent in the half court and it's a structure that we lack for sure in personnel and perhaps in coaching aptitude. swap westbrook for a top 20 guard who can shoot and we open up a lot of possibilities. do you disagree?

Pillendreher wrote:And finally: What does deviate even mean in this context? No, you won't turn him into a completely different player. You can't do that with any guy in this league. They are who they are. What it comes to is: Can you get him to adapt a little bit more and put an offense and a roster around him that fits his strengths and his shortcomings? And since the Thunder haven't tried either, you simply can't call it on Westbrook's ability/willingness to change.


yes i can. sam presti said in the exit interview that westbrook would work on his three point shooting. it was a unusual 'loud' comment from presti on an individual player working on such a specific thing. westbrook failed. not only that, he got worse from the line and at other things that are usually associated with practice and work and focus.

the thunder lack an optimal structure around him but that optimal structure for westbrook is narrower than other players of his caliber in the nba right now. i cannot say what erik horne means for sure when he says 'cannot deviate', but that's what i mean. there's a reason we get players into certain archetypes regardless of their skill-sets and whatnot. we'll probably disagree on the reason.
User avatar
Pillendreher
RealGM
Posts: 14,027
And1: 9,729
Joined: Jan 25, 2015
 

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#202 » by Pillendreher » Tue Apr 23, 2019 5:43 pm

slick_watts wrote:i think the statement that westbrook cannot deviate means he needs the ball in his hands to be effective and needs a certain structure around him for the offense to be consistent in the half court and it's a structure that we lack for sure in personnel and perhaps in coaching aptitude. swap westbrook for a top 20 guard who can shoot and we open up a lot of possibilities. do you disagree?


Nope. But then again what is Horne trying to say here? If Russell Westbrook "cannot deviate" and we're both insofar agreeing that the Thunder need to adjust around him as a player (again: You do that with every NBA star. You don't surround LeBron James with Lance Stephenson et all just like you don't surround Curry with terrible defenders and then act surprised when the defense craters), isn't Horne just trying to piggyback the popular criticism of Westbrook that he "won't change" and that "you can't win" with him?

I don't think anybody disagrees with me when I say that Westbrook's performance as a jumpshooter and a FT shooter has been flat out unacceptable this season and that he has certain flaws as a player that you just have to accept, no? Unless you subscribe to the theory that it is flat out impossible to play well/succeed with Westbrook, the ball is in both his court and the court of the franchise. You can't have the worst of both worlds, Westbrook having one of the worst volume shooting seasons of all time while being surrounded by a bunch of non-shooters and still having to do most of the heavy lifting because we are still not moving and still not passing.

And finally: Even if we were to assume that there is a certain cap on the team because of Westbrook - so what? I highly doubt he's the one holding them back from being a good offensive team. This iteration of the Thunder is most likely never going to reach the heights of +7/8 SRS teams (for various reasons), but hell, I'd be happy with just playing good all around basketball and beating other teams in the postseason. You can't do that if you do the opposite of what you should be doing with the kind of player Westbrook is.

But hell, I feel like I have spent days arguing the same point over and over and over again over the last few years only to watch the franchise make the same mistakes each year and deteriorate further from an offensive standpoint. The franchise is spending 200 million dollars overall, has two All NBA players on the roster and can't even achieve league average offensive output. How do they justify that kind of investment when the Charlotte "They have Kemba Walker and I guess...Jeremy Lamb?" Hornets and the Washington "Their franchise player might be done" Wizards outperform their as an offensive team? I know certain things have happened that nobody could anticipate, but hell, it's not like one could expect Grant to make almost 40 % of his 3s or for Ferguson to turn into a guy who never missed for two months. Right from the start, a lot of our shooting issues were riding on just getting lucky (Presti basically admitted that btw). And then they went and aquired another non-shooter in Schröder, promising minutes.

Westbrook has his flaws and their impact is not negligible, but we can't properly assess him until the franchise has actually done its part in providing him with the surroundings that he needs due to his skillset.
"I don't know of any player that, when the shot goes up, he doesn't want it to go in," Donovan said
slick_watts
Retired Mod
Retired Mod
Posts: 14,013
And1: 3,323
Joined: Jan 03, 2005
Location: Miami, FL

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#203 » by slick_watts » Tue Apr 23, 2019 5:58 pm

Pillendreher wrote:Nope. But then again what is Horne trying to say here? If Russell Westbrook "cannot deviate" and we're both insofar agreeing that the Thunder need to adjust around him as a player (again: You do that with every NBA star. You don't surround LeBron James with Lance Stephenson et all just like you don't surround Curry with terrible defenders and then act surprised when the defense craters), isn't Horne just trying to piggyback the popular criticism of Westbrook that he "won't change" and that "you can't win" with him?


this is my speculation. but i suspect horne may have an additional reason to make a statement like this that we are not privy to; really, i don't think he'd make it otherwise unless as someone else said it's an unfounded statement made to back-up berry trammel.

there are degrees to this, also. lebron and steph are best with certain kinds of teammates but lebron in his prime could drag a squad of nobodies to a finals and steph, while untested in that sort of environment, has shown flexibility in how he operates in the golden state offense while accommodating another high usage scorer. both these guys are a lot more flexible in this way than westbrook, in my opinion.

Pillendreher wrote:I don't think anybody disagrees with me when I say that Westbrook's performance as a jumpshooter and a FT shooter has been flat out unacceptable this season and that he has certain flaws as a player that you just have to accept, no? Unless you subscribe to the theory that it is flat out impossible to play well/succeed with Westbrook, the ball is in both his court and the court of the franchise. You can't have the worst of both worlds, Westbrook having one of the worst volume shooting seasons of all time while being surrounded by a bunch of non-shooters and still having to do most of the heavy lifting because we are still not moving and still not passing.


i think the crux of this is whether or not your statement still not moving and still not passing is westbrook-derived, and to what extent. again, we might disagree on that one.

as far as accepting his flaws, that's fine. but we can't do that without also acknowledging the difference between him and his peers in terms of flexibility. and when i say peers i mean the upper echelon of nba talent. it's just a difficult thing to find a way to have westbrook impact the game in the half court in ways other than play making when he can't make jump shots. westbrook isn't ben simmons but, really, it's a similar kind of problem philadephia occasionally has with him. and like simmons if we had embiid, redick, butler next to him i don't think we'd be having this conversation.

Pillendreher wrote:And finally: Even if we were to assume that there is a certain cap on the team because of Westbrook - so what? I highly doubt he's the one holding them back from being a good offensive team. This iteration of the Thunder is most likely never going to reach the heights of +7/8 SRS teams (for various reasons), but hell, I'd be happy with just playing good all around basketball and beating other teams in the postseason. You can't do that if you do the opposite of what you should be doing with the kind of player Westbrook is.


he does hold them back in certain ways especially if we're limiting ourselves to this season. i mean-- the treatment of him by portland and utah in the half court the last two playoff series proves this. and this is a strategy opponents have deployed against westbrook increasingly the past two seasons. the thunder could in principle construct a roster to get around those limitations but there's no route to that construction anymore from a feasibility standpoint.

westbrook is still dynamite in transition and is an elite play maker. in the half court it's just.. what do we do? we're so limited with the players we have, if terrance ferguson and jerami grant and paul george aren't making threes we're toast in the half court against the team that's willing to leave westbrook alone like portland has done. is there another superstar player in the nba with those sorts of limitations? a primary ball handler at all? i'm just not seeing it.

Pillendreher wrote:Westbrook has his flaws and their impact is not negligible, but we can't properly assess him until the franchise has actually done its part in providing him with the surroundings that he needs due to his skillset.


there's plenty of evidence over the years to suggest that westbrook is inherently more difficult to build around than his peers due to his limitations off the ball. this wasn't so much of an issue when kevin durant was around or when westbrook was beasting on the offensive rebounds and could make free throws. it's exacerbated by several things that appear to be happening simultaneously: the league as a whole getting better at shooting, the league as a whole getting better at defending non-shooting ball handlers, and what appears to be age-related decline on westbrook's part. it's a triple whammy that imo no coaching change or philosophy change will fix, and for which a roster construction solution is no longer feasible considering the thunder's resources.
Dadouv47
Lead Assistant
Posts: 5,121
And1: 2,344
Joined: Mar 22, 2015
   

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#204 » by Dadouv47 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:38 pm

"This team has no quit in it. I definitely think we're built for this. If there's a team that can be down 3-1 and come back from it, I think we're the team to do it."

Ok Paul George you had a great season before your injury but stop with your bull*** talk
User avatar
Pillendreher
RealGM
Posts: 14,027
And1: 9,729
Joined: Jan 25, 2015
 

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#205 » by Pillendreher » Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:40 pm

Dadouv47 wrote:"This team has no quit in it. I definitely think we're built for this. If there's a team that can be down 3-1 and come back from it, I think we're the team to do it."

Ok Paul George you had a great season before your injury but stop with your bull*** talk


They should look to be ahead, not talk about being built for fighting their way back in.
"I don't know of any player that, when the shot goes up, he doesn't want it to go in," Donovan said
User avatar
Pillendreher
RealGM
Posts: 14,027
And1: 9,729
Joined: Jan 25, 2015
 

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#206 » by Pillendreher » Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:41 pm

Read on Twitter
"I don't know of any player that, when the shot goes up, he doesn't want it to go in," Donovan said
Andre Roberstan
Forum Mod - Thunder
Forum Mod - Thunder
Posts: 9,697
And1: 6,245
Joined: Jun 23, 2015
Contact:
   

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#207 » by Andre Roberstan » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:15 pm

Pillendreher wrote:You really can't make this **** up. We can spend 100 pages talking about alleged advantages only to watch the team go out there and do the complete opposite of what they should be doing. We're taking less shots at the rim and more shots from 3 relative to our total attempts in the postseason compared to the regular season. Who comes up with that kind of strategy against a squad like Portland? Among all postseason teams, 538 ranks them 15th defensively at -1.6 (only Brooklyn is worse at -1.7). They were below average in the regular season with Nurkic playing and lost their best defender. And we. can't. score.


They didn't come up with that kind of strategy. It's what Portland is making them do because they're playing Kanter in a drop coverage and he's juuuuuuuust good enough defensively to cover the rim there now.

When they play drop, the guys running the pick and roll have to shoot to break the coverage. So they shoot. And miss.
Image
Andre Roberstan
Forum Mod - Thunder
Forum Mod - Thunder
Posts: 9,697
And1: 6,245
Joined: Jun 23, 2015
Contact:
   

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#208 » by Andre Roberstan » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:17 pm

slick_watts wrote:is there another superstar player in the nba with those sorts of limitations? a primary ball handler at all? i'm just not seeing it.


Wall's the closest, and he's been running into some of the same things as Westbrook lately.
Image
Dadouv47
Lead Assistant
Posts: 5,121
And1: 2,344
Joined: Mar 22, 2015
   

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#209 » by Dadouv47 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:32 pm

Problem with Westbrook isn't only his shooting decline. 2 years ago he was able to drive and attack the paint like nobody (except Lebron) and was going to score/going to the line a lot even when having a bad shooting night. That's what worries me the most about Russ decline tbh
slick_watts
Retired Mod
Retired Mod
Posts: 14,013
And1: 3,323
Joined: Jan 03, 2005
Location: Miami, FL

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#210 » by slick_watts » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:36 pm

Dadouv47 wrote:Problem with Westbrook isn't only his shooting decline. 2 years ago he was able to drive and attack the paint like nobody (except Lebron) and was going to score/going to the line a lot even when even a bad shooting night. That's what worries me the most about Russ decline tbh


for sure. career low FTr i believe, made even worse by cratering FT%. if he even just got his foul drawing and free throw shooting right he wouldn't be 'back to normal' but it'd be a major improvement.
User avatar
NaturalThunder
General Manager
Posts: 7,971
And1: 3,342
Joined: Jun 13, 2012
     

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#211 » by NaturalThunder » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:59 pm

Maybe/hopefully Portland will put us out of our misery so I can stop trying to care about this miserable team anymore.
Said in a thread about which point guards would make OKC better if they replaced Westbrook:
Coxy wrote:I think with a PG like George Hill, they'd be better than current.
User avatar
Pillendreher
RealGM
Posts: 14,027
And1: 9,729
Joined: Jan 25, 2015
 

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#212 » by Pillendreher » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:00 pm

Andre Roberstan wrote:It's what Portland is making them do because they're playing Kanter in a drop coverage and he's juuuuuuuust good enough defensively to cover the rim there now.


Sorry man, but that's just making excuses. Portland isn't re-inventing the wheel here with this strategy. Giving Westbrook space on drives isn't some foreign concept nobody has ever heard of. Utah took it to the extreme last postseason and we still managed to attack the rim more against the best defensive Center in the league than what we're doing against the worst defensive Center in the league. And hell, in the end this is what teams have to do in the Playoffs: They counter whatever the opposing team is doing to the best of their abilities.

Miky Berra was right when he pointed this out: Portland is giving Westbrook space on the drive and we start setting screens at the FT line, shrinking the floor even more.

https://streamable.com/t9bjo

Are they serious? If all this team can come up with is just shrugging its collective shoulders and take whatever shot Portland wants them to take, then the whole coaching staff is really as useless as I always thought.
"I don't know of any player that, when the shot goes up, he doesn't want it to go in," Donovan said
User avatar
ThunderBolt
Forum Mod - Thunder
Forum Mod - Thunder
Posts: 11,987
And1: 9,263
Joined: Dec 29, 2016
Location: Bentonville, AR
 

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#213 » by ThunderBolt » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:29 pm

We don’t just have to roll over and take whatever the other teams throws at us. The fact that we are unable to exploit Enes Kanter on defense is one of the worst collective performances of the thunder I’ve ever seen.
User avatar
ThunderBolt
Forum Mod - Thunder
Forum Mod - Thunder
Posts: 11,987
And1: 9,263
Joined: Dec 29, 2016
Location: Bentonville, AR
 

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#214 » by ThunderBolt » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:33 pm

Brett Dawson wrote that Abrines watched the game from the stands. This is so weird.
User avatar
SecondTake
Rookie
Posts: 1,100
And1: 380
Joined: Jun 03, 2017

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#215 » by SecondTake » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:54 pm

Pillendreher wrote:
Revived wrote:
Read on Twitter


I never wanted a random tweet to be true as much as this one.

:o

Can you imagine how bad this team would have been if it hadn't had Presti for its history? The smallest market has been one of the best teams in the NBA over the past 10 seasons...

I'm all for getting rid of Donovan, but Presti - heck no, unless I want to tank. Forever.
Dadouv47
Lead Assistant
Posts: 5,121
And1: 2,344
Joined: Mar 22, 2015
   

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#216 » by Dadouv47 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:29 pm

SecondTake wrote:
Pillendreher wrote:
Revived wrote:
Read on Twitter


I never wanted a random tweet to be true as much as this one.

:o

Can you imagine how bad this team would have been if it hadn't had Presti for its history? The smallest market has been one of the best teams in the NBA over the past 10 seasons...

I'm all for getting rid of Donovan, but Presti - heck no, unless I want to tank. Forever.


You will have to threat Presti in order to fire Donovan.
Kizz Fastfists
Assistant Coach
Posts: 4,366
And1: 1,310
Joined: Jun 05, 2014
   

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#217 » by Kizz Fastfists » Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:19 am

SecondTake wrote:Can you imagine how bad this team would have been if it hadn't had Presti for its history? The smallest market has been one of the best teams in the NBA over the past 10 seasons...

I'm all for getting rid of Donovan, but Presti - heck no, unless I want to tank. Forever.


Let's play the game. Presti's first pick was kd. Is there anyone on the planet that was going to pass on kd on draft night? Nope. In 2008 Presti took Russ at #4. I'm going to use Chad Ford's board here simply because it is the easiest one for me to find. He had Russ #4, but Kevin Love was #3 and on the board so we'll say the random GM went with Kevin Love. In 2009 it was James Harden who was also #3 on Chris Ford's big board with both #1 and #2 off the board we'll give random GM Harden.

I'm not including the trade of Ray Allen, which yielded Jeff Green and later Perkins, or the Ibaka pick. So the random GM would have had more assets to play with. I believe that kd, Harden and Love would have been better than kd, Russ and Ibaka was. Do you disagree? What do you think Presti did that a random GM couldn't have done? Presti pretty much stuck to the draft boards. Random GM also might have hired a better coach than Brooks. He couldn't have done much worse. Random GM also might not have traded up for Aldrich and just took Eric Bledsoe.

Random GM also could have been like Presti is now and just drafted kd then kept Allen, Lewis, etc and had Seattle/OKC as first round exits for a while.
hardenASG13
Sixth Man
Posts: 1,680
And1: 323
Joined: Mar 03, 2012

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#218 » by hardenASG13 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:06 am

Anyone have any ideas for tonight, aside from shooting better?

They may have to try more of a grant/Morris frontline, and sit adams if things aren't working. Similarly, they need to explore even less Ferguson, more Schroeder. Ferguson is maybe average defensively, he hasn't been a threat and has no business playing heavy playoff minutes. Just a shame.

Gotta get one game at a time. In all honesty I had no idea McCollum was this good.
Dadouv47
Lead Assistant
Posts: 5,121
And1: 2,344
Joined: Mar 22, 2015
   

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#219 » by Dadouv47 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:41 am

hardenASG13 wrote:Anyone have any ideas for tonight, aside from shooting better?

They may have to try more of a grant/Morris frontline, and sit adams if things aren't working. Similarly, they need to explore even less Ferguson, more Schroeder. Ferguson is maybe average defensively, he hasn't been a threat and has no business playing heavy playoff minutes. Just a shame.

Gotta get one game at a time. In all honesty I had no idea McCollum was this good.


Less Ferguson for sure. I would still try to attack the paint as much as possible. If Westbrook has enough gas to keep attacking the paint, he should do it. It's not like we are playing against Gobert. They may defend well the paint but WB should be able to attack the paint and go to the free throw line (and making plays for Adams/Grant).
Kizz Fastfists
Assistant Coach
Posts: 4,366
And1: 1,310
Joined: Jun 05, 2014
   

Re: 2018–2019 OKC Thunder Playoffs General Thread 

Post#220 » by Kizz Fastfists » Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:00 am

hardenASG13 wrote:Anyone have any ideas for tonight, aside from shooting better?


Enjoy the last game of the season from OKC. They aren't going to do anything different and they aren't going to shoot 50% from 3 so it is going to end tonight. Donovan could have thrown a lot of stuff against the wall in games 1 and 2 to see what would stick and he didn't.

They could try going big. Portland is going to pack the paint and give open looks to 3 point shooters so throw a Adams, Noel, Grant, PG and Schroder lineup out there. Have PG and Grant jack up 3s with Noel and Adams down low to rebound and kick it back out for another 3 point shot. I'd suggest Ferguson instead of Schroder, but I'm not sure PG as the primary ball handler would work, although it wouldn't hurt to try it.

They could try going small with Schroder, Ferguson, PG, Morris and Grant with the same idea of throwing up a lot of 3s with their best shooters on the floor and hope Grant and Morris can handle the paint.

Attacking the paint is useless because Portland is just going to pack the paint on them and give them good looks from 3 and long range twos. They could, theoretically, exploit that by having their 3 decent shooters, Grant, PG and Ferguson, taking all those shots.

Return to Oklahoma City Thunder