Did OKC choose Westbrook over KD and Harden?

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Re: Did OKC choose Westbrook over KD and Harden? 

Post#61 » by michaelm » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:43 pm

bondom34 wrote:
michaelm wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
I don't see any reason to think that a Harden-Durant duo couldn't have led the best offense in the league, and I think both guys would have been happy to play like that, so I can't quite agree.

I do think though that Durant was and is socially awkward in problematic ways. I think Westbrook always had a clarity about who he was and how he went about things and I have a feeling that that's why Durant wasn't really sure what to do when he got frustrated with the wasted possessions. You know that Westbrook is working his ass off, you know that he's not refusing to pass you the ball, so what exactly is the thing that you want? I don't think Durant ever knew. (Heck, does he know now?)

Since we're talking personalities and I'm generally a Harden guy, I feel I should say: Harden's a serious mixed bag of a personality himself. It appears that this was part of the reason the team was so sold on Westbrook over Harden and I appreciate that as a real factor to consider. If you really feel like Harden's not going to be happy as 3rd banana going forward, and you're much more comfortable with Westbrook not just as a player but as a professional, it makes sense to plan an exit for Harden.

Harden is a better point guard than Westbrook imo, and he and Durant together in their prime would have been unstoppable again imo, but this was revealed by that most powerful of instruments, the retrospectoscope, I think the stuff about there being no game plan beyond dual iso for Westbrook and Durant rings true, but KD seems to have decided to return to that game plan in teaming up with Kyrie anyway.


And actually this is true...now. But from 2013-16, when they would have been together wasn't. Going through again:

2013: Injury and Westbrook was the better player and PG.

2014: Same injury

2015: Harden was better....but Durant was injured.

2016: Harden's worst season, disappointing in both RS and PS.

From 2018-now Harden has been the better player no doubt, but that's looking at their current level and projecting it back along with health. So basically assuming everything is not only perfect but that Harden is suddenly better than he was. The issue with those teams was a mix of health and running into the Warriors. Harden wasn't fixing that, and now Westbrook playing at a level that was a top 5 player and being better at the time than Harden is forgotten which is kind of amazing. To add, Harden's greatest success has been when he's been even more ball dominant than Westbrook in those days and the complaint seems to be Durant needed all the shots.

We saw the Warriors lose when Durant got injured. The same would happen if it were Curry. OKC had the equivalent of that twice in 4 years with far worsie depth.

That is the other thing which again became obvious retrospectively, Harden is nothing if not robust, pretty much LeBron level robust.

I found Dr MJ’s analysis interesting, the part about KD not really knowing what he wanted from Westbrook in particular rang true for me, and I was pretty much unaware of how Westbrook played in college, he has always looked to have the tools to be a highly elite defensive player. I guess even with his athleticism you can’t do everything, and to me him getting tired with all that he does do at the end of big games has been a problem.

I
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Re: Did OKC choose Westbrook over KD and Harden? 

Post#62 » by michaelm » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:45 pm

bondom34 wrote:
michaelm wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
I don't see any reason to think that a Harden-Durant duo couldn't have led the best offense in the league, and I think both guys would have been happy to play like that, so I can't quite agree.

I do think though that Durant was and is socially awkward in problematic ways. I think Westbrook always had a clarity about who he was and how he went about things and I have a feeling that that's why Durant wasn't really sure what to do when he got frustrated with the wasted possessions. You know that Westbrook is working his ass off, you know that he's not refusing to pass you the ball, so what exactly is the thing that you want? I don't think Durant ever knew. (Heck, does he know now?)

Since we're talking personalities and I'm generally a Harden guy, I feel I should say: Harden's a serious mixed bag of a personality himself. It appears that this was part of the reason the team was so sold on Westbrook over Harden and I appreciate that as a real factor to consider. If you really feel like Harden's not going to be happy as 3rd banana going forward, and you're much more comfortable with Westbrook not just as a player but as a professional, it makes sense to plan an exit for Harden.

Harden is a better point guard than Westbrook imo, and he and Durant together in their prime would have been unstoppable again imo, but this was revealed by that most powerful of instruments, the retrospectoscope, I think the stuff about there being no game plan beyond dual iso for Westbrook and Durant rings true, but KD seems to have decided to return to that game plan in teaming up with Kyrie anyway.


And actually this is true...now. But from 2013-16, when they would have been together wasn't. Going through again:

2013: Injury and Westbrook was the better player and PG.

2014: Same injury

2015: Harden was better....but Durant was injured.

2016: Harden's worst season, disappointing in both RS and PS.

From 2018-now Harden has been the better player no doubt, but that's looking at their current level and projecting it back along with health. So basically assuming everything is not only perfect but that Harden is suddenly better than he was. The issue with those teams was a mix of health and running into the Warriors. Harden wasn't fixing that, and now Westbrook playing at a level that was a top 5 player and being better at the time than Harden is forgotten which is kind of amazing. To add, Harden's greatest success has been when he's been even more ball dominant than Westbrook in those days and the complaint seems to be Durant needed all the shots.

We saw the Warriors lose when Durant got injured. The same would happen if it were Curry. OKC had the equivalent of that twice in 4 years with far worsie depth.

That is the other thing which again became obvious retrospectively, Harden is nothing if not robust, pretty much LeBron level robust.

I found Dr MJ’s analysis interesting, the part about KD not really knowing what he wanted from Westbrook in particular rang true for me, and I was pretty much unaware of how Westbrook played in college, he has always looked to have the tools to be a highly elite defensive player. I guess even with his athleticism you can’t do everything,though, and to me Him getting tired at the end of big games with all that he does do has been a problem.
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Re: Did OKC choose Westbrook over KD and Harden? 

Post#63 » by bondom34 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:47 pm

michaelm wrote:
bondom34 wrote:
michaelm wrote:Harden is a better point guard than Westbrook imo, and he and Durant together in their prime would have been unstoppable again imo, but this was revealed by that most powerful of instruments, the retrospectoscope, I think the stuff about there being no game plan beyond dual iso for Westbrook and Durant rings true, but KD seems to have decided to return to that game plan in teaming up with Kyrie anyway.


And actually this is true...now. But from 2013-16, when they would have been together wasn't. Going through again:

2013: Injury and Westbrook was the better player and PG.

2014: Same injury

2015: Harden was better....but Durant was injured.

2016: Harden's worst season, disappointing in both RS and PS.

From 2018-now Harden has been the better player no doubt, but that's looking at their current level and projecting it back along with health. So basically assuming everything is not only perfect but that Harden is suddenly better than he was. The issue with those teams was a mix of health and running into the Warriors. Harden wasn't fixing that, and now Westbrook playing at a level that was a top 5 player and being better at the time than Harden is forgotten which is kind of amazing. To add, Harden's greatest success has been when he's been even more ball dominant than Westbrook in those days and the complaint seems to be Durant needed all the shots.

We saw the Warriors lose when Durant got injured. The same would happen if it were Curry. OKC had the equivalent of that twice in 4 years with far worsie depth.

That is the other thing which again became obvious retrospectively, Harden is nothing if not robust, pretty much LeBron level robust.

I found Dr MJ’s analysis interesting, the part about KD not really knowing what he wanted from Westbrook in particular rang true for me, and I was pretty much unaware of how Westbrook played in college, he has always looked to have the tools to be a highly elite defensive player. I guess even with his athleticism you can’t do everything, and to me Him getting tired with all that he does do at the end of big games has been a problem.

I

I don't think it was anything about KD not knowing what he wanted . He played the same way in GSW as OKC, and Westbrook when paired with him was arguably the best duo in the league. To add to that Westbrook was robust, his injury was because he took a cheap shot to his knee, Harden's never had such an injury. Prior to that he'd never missed a game, and that's been his only real injury his whole career.

It's basically ignoring how good they were, that he was better than Harden those years, and that the thing that derailed them was injury. Heck in 2016 Harden had by far his worst year. The only single year Harden was a better player in that span was the one Durant missed.
FoundANewSlant wrote:it's really fundamental defensive flaws exhibited here by Westbrook, PG, and Adams that put Melo into vulnerable positions here yet you can't recognize or explain it.

So Paul George is the reason Carmelo Anthony struggled on defense all these years...
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Re: Did OKC choose Westbrook over KD and Harden? 

Post#64 » by michaelm » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:00 pm

bondom34 wrote:
michaelm wrote:
bondom34 wrote:
And actually this is true...now. But from 2013-16, when they would have been together wasn't. Going through again:

2013: Injury and Westbrook was the better player and PG.

2014: Same injury

2015: Harden was better....but Durant was injured.

2016: Harden's worst season, disappointing in both RS and PS.

From 2018-now Harden has been the better player no doubt, but that's looking at their current level and projecting it back along with health. So basically assuming everything is not only perfect but that Harden is suddenly better than he was. The issue with those teams was a mix of health and running into the Warriors. Harden wasn't fixing that, and now Westbrook playing at a level that was a top 5 player and being better at the time than Harden is forgotten which is kind of amazing. To add, Harden's greatest success has been when he's been even more ball dominant than Westbrook in those days and the complaint seems to be Durant needed all the shots.

We saw the Warriors lose when Durant got injured. The same would happen if it were Curry. OKC had the equivalent of that twice in 4 years with far worsie depth.

That is the other thing which again became obvious retrospectively, Harden is nothing if not robust, pretty much LeBron level robust.

I found Dr MJ’s analysis interesting, the part about KD not really knowing what he wanted from Westbrook in particular rang true for me, and I was pretty much unaware of how Westbrook played in college, he has always looked to have the tools to be a highly elite defensive player. I guess even with his athleticism you can’t do everything, and to me Him getting tired with all that he does do at the end of big games has been a problem.

I

I don't think it was anything about KD not knowing what he wanted . He played the same way in GSW as OKC, and Westbrook when paired with him was arguably the best duo in the league. To add to that Westbrook was robust, his injury was because he took a cheap shot to his knee, Harden's never had such an injury. Prior to that he'd never missed a game, and that's been his only real injury his whole career.

It's basically ignoring how good they were, that he was better than Harden those years, and that the thing that derailed them was injury. Heck in 2016 Harden had by far his worst year. The only single year Harden was a better player in that span was the one Durant missed.

Sure, i was going to say something along those lines in a further reply to Dr MJ, Westbrook and Durant was about as good as dual iso gets, up there with LeBron Kyrie dual iso, and peak Durant with peak Kyrie dual iso would be pretty good as well, but dual iso is very likely what it will be at the Nets imo.
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Re: Did OKC choose Westbrook over KD and Harden? 

Post#65 » by bondom34 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:15 pm

michaelm wrote:
bondom34 wrote:
michaelm wrote:That is the other thing which again became obvious retrospectively, Harden is nothing if not robust, pretty much LeBron level robust.

I found Dr MJ’s analysis interesting, the part about KD not really knowing what he wanted from Westbrook in particular rang true for me, and I was pretty much unaware of how Westbrook played in college, he has always looked to have the tools to be a highly elite defensive player. I guess even with his athleticism you can’t do everything, and to me Him getting tired with all that he does do at the end of big games has been a problem.

I

I don't think it was anything about KD not knowing what he wanted . He played the same way in GSW as OKC, and Westbrook when paired with him was arguably the best duo in the league. To add to that Westbrook was robust, his injury was because he took a cheap shot to his knee, Harden's never had such an injury. Prior to that he'd never missed a game, and that's been his only real injury his whole career.

It's basically ignoring how good they were, that he was better than Harden those years, and that the thing that derailed them was injury. Heck in 2016 Harden had by far his worst year. The only single year Harden was a better player in that span was the one Durant missed.

Sure, i was going to say something along those lines in a further reply to Dr MJ, Westbrook and Durant was about as good as dual iso gets, up there with LeBron Kyrie dual iso, and peak Durant with peak Kyrie dual iso would be pretty good as well, but dual iso is very likely what it will be at the Nets imo.

I'm not sure on the Nets tbh. And even doing what they did in OKC it was an elite offense and they fit pretty well despite claims to the contrary, the Nets I'm not sure what they do. Lots of rumors were coaches who weren't known for much of an offense.

Edited: Actually the more I think about it I doubt it. Durant did/does/will remain iso heavy, and Irving has as well. Just think they are who they are.

Just mostly big push back against the idea Harden has any more success those years given the injuries and that he just wasn't as good then. This isn't 2018 Harden, 2015 Harden was the only year he was that level and Durant was out. There's a strange revisionism with those teams where injuries don't happen in people's minds and shockingly it's blamed on the guy who got blamed for everything else. Durant was coddled for years in OKC and Westbrook took the blame, the fact people still continue it even after seeing historical points when Harden and Durant failed in the postseason and still blame it on him is to me blindly turning an eye.
FoundANewSlant wrote:it's really fundamental defensive flaws exhibited here by Westbrook, PG, and Adams that put Melo into vulnerable positions here yet you can't recognize or explain it.

So Paul George is the reason Carmelo Anthony struggled on defense all these years...
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Re: Did OKC choose Westbrook over KD and Harden? 

Post#66 » by dc » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:36 pm

OKC didn't "choose" Westbrook over the other 2. That's a ridiculous statement. They chose to save lux tax money over keeping Harden.

And given that they weren't going to pay the tax, you could argue that they "chose" Perkins over Harden, given that they extended Perkins when they knew full well Harden was up for a big extension and they were gonna be up against the tax.

When they extended Perkins, maybe they thought the tax threshold would be higher (though I doubt it). Maybe they thought there were other moves they could make in the year before. Maybe they just wanted to extend Perkins so that they wouldn't have to say that they lost Jeff Green (#5 pick in the draft just a few years prior and traded for Perkins) for nothing. Guys like Sam Presti don't like losing assets for nothing.

And perhaps a part of them thought they'd be a more "complete" team with Perkins defending at C than with a 3rd dominant scorer who needed the ball. Maybe they thought Kevin Martin would be able to duplicate Harden to a certain extent. Also, they knew Harden was good but probably never thought he'd be a 35ppg scorer and MVP.

Yeah, they screwed up majorly and probably missed out on 2-3 championships, but it wasn't because they chose Westbrook over the other 2 guys.
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Re: Did OKC choose Westbrook over KD and Harden? 

Post#67 » by meekrab » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:50 pm

dc wrote:They chose to save lux tax money over keeping Harden.

This, basically. Though Harden's salary was barely more than they ended up paying Ibaka who had like two good seasons and then got traded. And who knows if Harden flourishes in OKC the way he did in Houston with the whole team built around him.
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Re: Did OKC choose Westbrook over KD and Harden? 

Post#68 » by michaelm » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:03 am

Doctor MJ wrote:
michaelm wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
I don't see any reason to think that a Harden-Durant duo couldn't have led the best offense in the league, and I think both guys would have been happy to play like that, so I can't quite agree.

I do think though that Durant was and is socially awkward in problematic ways. I think Westbrook always had a clarity about who he was and how he went about things and I have a feeling that that's why Durant wasn't really sure what to do when he got frustrated with the wasted possessions. You know that Westbrook is working his ass off, you know that he's not refusing to pass you the ball, so what exactly is the thing that you want? I don't think Durant ever knew. (Heck, does he know now?)

Since we're talking personalities and I'm generally a Harden guy, I feel I should say: Harden's a serious mixed bag of a personality himself. It appears that this was part of the reason the team was so sold on Westbrook over Harden and I appreciate that as a real factor to consider. If you really feel like Harden's not going to be happy as 3rd banana going forward, and you're much more comfortable with Westbrook not just as a player but as a professional, it makes sense to plan an exit for Harden.

Harden is a better point guard than Westbrook imo, and he and Durant together in their prime would have been unstoppable again imo, but this was revealed by that most powerful of instruments, the retrospectoscope, I think the stuff about there being no game plan beyond dual iso for Westbrook and Durant rings true, but KD seems to have decided to return to that game plan in teaming up with Kyrie anyway.


Oh boy, don't get me started on KD choosing Kyrie as his next partner. The mean-spirited part of me would laugh if Kyrie continues to behave like he did in Boston and we see a "Who the hell did I get into bed with?" expression on KD's face.

But will see what happens. My guess is that Kyrie treats KD with a great deal of respect both on and off court, that the Nets are good, and that the tough part comes from the realization that they won't be good enough in the playoffs against tough competition. I'd imagine losing to the much younger decisively itself will present a "midlife crisis" moment for KD ("Uh, he's younger and better than me and no one is paying attention to me other than to point out I've been surpassed. Damn blogboys!"), but it will be worse if the Nets aren't even good enough to get to the Bucks. It's not hard to imagine a scenario where the Nets lose in the first round to Celtics/Raptors/76ers, and if the Nets are playing at their realistic ceiling when this happens, ouch!

I am sure there will be mutual respect, the question is whether duaL iso will work against teams with both talent and coherent team game plans, which now include the Lakers imo.
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Re: Did OKC choose Westbrook over KD and Harden? 

Post#69 » by Doctor MJ » Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:34 pm

michaelm wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
michaelm wrote:Harden is a better point guard than Westbrook imo, and he and Durant together in their prime would have been unstoppable again imo, but this was revealed by that most powerful of instruments, the retrospectoscope, I think the stuff about there being no game plan beyond dual iso for Westbrook and Durant rings true, but KD seems to have decided to return to that game plan in teaming up with Kyrie anyway.


Oh boy, don't get me started on KD choosing Kyrie as his next partner. The mean-spirited part of me would laugh if Kyrie continues to behave like he did in Boston and we see a "Who the hell did I get into bed with?" expression on KD's face.

But will see what happens. My guess is that Kyrie treats KD with a great deal of respect both on and off court, that the Nets are good, and that the tough part comes from the realization that they won't be good enough in the playoffs against tough competition. I'd imagine losing to the much younger decisively itself will present a "midlife crisis" moment for KD ("Uh, he's younger and better than me and no one is paying attention to me other than to point out I've been surpassed. Damn blogboys!"), but it will be worse if the Nets aren't even good enough to get to the Bucks. It's not hard to imagine a scenario where the Nets lose in the first round to Celtics/Raptors/76ers, and if the Nets are playing at their realistic ceiling when this happens, ouch!

I am sure there will be mutual respect, the question is whether duaL iso will work against teams with both talent and coherent team game plans, which now include the Lakers imo.


Respect is far from a certainty when dealing with someone like Kyrie. He treated his Celtic teammates with disrespect and he's trying to cast himself as MLK while making self-aggrandizing arguments for sabotaging the NBA and tweeting about the flat Earth. To me he seems like a guy who may well end up leaving the NBA while still in something close to his physical prime. I could easily see a moment where we see on Durant's face that he now realizes he's made the mistake we think he's making now.
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Re: Did OKC choose Westbrook over KD and Harden? 

Post#70 » by Moahst » Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:43 pm

I thought OKC essentially chose Ibaka/Perkins over Harden on a max contract. They were already paying Brodie & KD max money and Harden was up for an extension. In order to max all three they would have to offload Ibaka/Perkins and pay the luxury tax. So ultimately it was a cost savings move for a tax conscious team. Right?
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Re: Did OKC choose Westbrook over KD and Harden? 

Post#71 » by Clay Davis » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:26 pm

Moahst wrote:I thought OKC essentially chose Ibaka/Perkins over Harden on a max contract. They were already paying Brodie & KD max money and Harden was up for an extension. In order to max all three they would have to offload Ibaka/Perkins and pay the luxury tax. So ultimately it was a cost savings move for a tax conscious team. Right?
Yea I think this explains things well.

This was a decade where there were still threatening big men. Everyone assumed a team needed a rim protector for defense. It was understandable (though maybe not agreed with) at the time to not lose your interior defense for a perimeter player.

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Re: Did OKC choose Westbrook over KD and Harden? 

Post#72 » by michaelm » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:25 pm

Clay Davis wrote:
Moahst wrote:I thought OKC essentially chose Ibaka/Perkins over Harden on a max contract. They were already paying Brodie & KD max money and Harden was up for an extension. In order to max all three they would have to offload Ibaka/Perkins and pay the luxury tax. So ultimately it was a cost savings move for a tax conscious team. Right?
Yea I think this explains things well.

This was a decade where there were still threatening big men. Everyone assumed a team needed a rim protector for defense. It was understandable (though maybe not agreed with) at the time to not lose your interior defense for a perimeter player.

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Yes, particularly since they used the pick they received when they traded Harden to draft Steve Adams.
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Re: Did OKC choose Westbrook over KD and Harden? 

Post#73 » by red96 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:40 pm

OKC really just kept Perkins over Harden. If they just moved him, they could've kept their 3 MVP's.
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Re: Did OKC choose Westbrook over KD and Harden? 

Post#74 » by dc » Wed Jul 1, 2020 2:59 am

red96 wrote:OKC really just kept Perkins over Harden. If they just moved him, they could've kept their 3 MVP's.


Sure, there are several ways to look at it.

I mean, it was kind of curious that that they took Jeff Green at #5 in the same draft as Durant when everyone knew they played the same position. I guess it never hurts to take BPA, and the next 3 picks after Green stunk anyways. But long term, it was duplication and they wanted to get value for Green before he became a FA, so they traded for Perkins.

But unfortunately it was the post knee injury Perkins that they were getting. The guy just wasn't the same after that knee injury in the 2010 finals. Still, they gave him that extension despite not being same player and the game evolving in such a way that made Perkins a lot less valuable.

I think it was a combo of:
1. luxury tax savings
2. Perkins making the team more "balanced" instead of another dominant scorer on the roster. (also remember they got Steven Adams out of it in the very next draft).
3. Counting on a platoon of guys (Kevin Martin, Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb) to duplicate Harden's production

I mean, #1 was probably the main reason for it. Like 99% of the reason, and then they used reasons #2 and #3 to talk themselves into it so they could sleep better at night.

And let's be honest: for about 10 days in 2016, it looked like the plan succeeded. They worked over a 67 win (best in franchise history) Spurs team and completely ran the 73 win Warriors off the floor in games 3 and 4 in OKC. Then they just kind of ran out of gas and choked a bit. But damn if they didn't look like unstoppable world beaters from Game 2 of the 2nd round thru Game 4 of the WCF.
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