3 min read

Some first-hand notes from Thunder-Grizzlies

Reader “Thunder Tim” was at last night’s preseason game in Tulsa and kindly sent in some observations he took from the game, as well as experiences. Obviously the Thunder didn’t put on much of a show for Tulsa folks, but still, at least people got a look at the team. Tim mentions that if you want to get up close and personal with the players and other people, a preseason game in Tulsa is the place to be.

  • Marc Gasol killed us from the floor.  But not from the line, thanks to me.  I was sitting on the baseline on the Grizzlies side and, after he hit his first free-throw, I yelled “How’d Spain do this summer!?!?” and he missed his next 5 free throws.  Ha.  Too bad we didn’t win by 4…
  • …instead, we got our Thunder butts handed to us.
  • The Grizzlies hit just about everything they threw at the basket (66% from the field!).
  • The Thunder, not so much (43%).
  • Overall, the Thunder were just oFf (like an out of place capital letter) tonight.  Open shots weren’t working, rebounds were bouncing their way, waaaay too many turnovers, and the Grizzlies were on fire.  To be somewhat fair, that was Memphis’ 4th game (they’re 4-0) and obviously have things clicking a little better than do we so far.  But still, to lose by 20 (and be down by 39 at one point, was poo-poo).
  • KD couldn’t hit anything and finished with 9 points in 17 minutes.  Yikes.  He did run point one possession but, as a microcosm of the game, he made a nice move, got to the lane, put up a little floater, rejected by Thabeet and they scored on a fast break.  One of those nights.  The rest of the starters were about as awful.  This game ended up being about the bench/role/bubble guys…
  • Royal Ivey is quite a tenacious on-the-ball defender.  He ran point quite a few minutes tonight but it just wasn’t really working.  Eric Maynor had the night off, but watching Ivey try and run the offense made me appreciate how effortlessly Maynor seems to do it.  I guess Ivey will make the team but his value is surely only for defense.
  • Daequan Cook, on the other hand, is a cold-blooded, extremely confident sharp-shooter with a quick release.  He’s not the defender Ivey is, but he’s certainly not a defensive liability, either.  Judging by the fact that Mo Pete isn’t getting any burn, I’m guessing Cook is in the driver’s seat as the 3-5 min per game 3-point guy.  That is definitely an upgrade from last year.
  • Mullens and Green (and Ibaka) got killed by Gasol and Z-Bo.  Man, that was brutal.  Gasol has move after move after move after move and we just couldn’t do anything to contain him.  I would have liked to see Cole on him who…
  • Speaking of Aldrich, he looked pretty good for the 9 minutes he was in the game and for the 5 minutes he wasn’t fouling somebody.  To foul out in 9 mins is pretty impressive (in a bad way).  Hopefully he can put his skills together quickly because we’re going to need some front-court help with Krstic out for a little bit.  He’s got a wide body though, boxes out really well and does a good job of going after the ball.
  • Serge looked solid but if he’s going to have a break-out year and unseed J. Green, he’s going to have to keep working at.  He’s out of place too much (which is a risk/reward thing going for blocks) and he commits too many fouls (5 tonight).  He has definitely been working on his offensive game and had a couple of moves that were fantastic, including one jab step, turn around, fade shot from the baseline that he nailed.  More of that, please!
  • James Harden is going to be a difference maker for us this year.  If Brooks decides to use him off the bench to be the scoring leader of the second unit, he’s liable to be the 6th man of the year.  He looks so much more confident this year and, while still learning defensively, seemed to hold his own.
  • DJ looked alright but I think his days as a Thunder are numbered.  He’s not big or tough enough to be a strong defender, doesn’t work for rebounds and doesn’t seem to make any hustle plays.  He’s got a nice mid-range game, but I don’t think that’s going to cut it.
  • Longar Longar looked somewhat awkward in college but was a good player.  Watching him out there tonight, he is not an NBA player.
  • Jerome Dyson looked alright.  He might get a 66ers invitation or something.
  • I was hoping to see more of Millsap but I didn’t really notice him out there.  He played 10 minutes but he didn’t really stand out.

And so sum up the evening and NBA knowledge in Tulsa: As I was walking  out, I overheard a guy ask his buddy “so, are the Thunder not very good  this year?”  Based on tonight’s performance, I can’t blame him for  making that assessment.  Looks like the boys need to spend a little more  time in class at Thunder U.