Category Archives: Oklahoma City Thunder

Can Troy Murphy fill that Kendrick Perkins-shaped void for the Celtics?

Last week’s trade between the Boston Celtics and the Oklahoma City Thunder, which saw Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson go to OKC in exchange for Jeff Green and Nenad Kristic, was a big shock to everyone.

I’ll admit it, I wasn’t a fan of this trade. Perkins is one of the best big defenders in the NBA and can cope with the likes of Dwight Howard on his own. Especially at a time when the Celtics are leading the East and primed for a title run.

The Thunder definitely got better, there’s no doubt about that, as they got the big man they have coveted for so long in Perkins. The Celtics? Not so much.

I can understand that the Celtics and Danny Ainge didn’t want to have to pay Perkins in the summer, as he was going to become an unrestricted free agent (the Thunder signed Perkins to a four-year, $34.5 million deal this week), and if he had a good playoff series, Perkins could be looking at getting $10 million a year (which is a lot for a center with no offensive game) and have left for nothing anyway.

The Celtics got Jeff Green, who can fill in for Paul Pierce at small forward and will provide some scoring and energy off the bench. Green is averaging 18 minutes a night since the trade, getting you 6 ppg, and is a building block for the Celtics, along with Rondo, when the “Big Three” of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen retire.

The Celtics signed Troy Murphy yesterday after agreeing a buyout with Golden State Warriors, on a one year deal. The 6 foot 10’ forward will provide cover for KG and is another big body in the paint against the likes of the Lakers.

Is Murphy a good replacement for Perkins? He won’t provide the toughness and defence of Perkins, he’s basically a short-term rental for the Celtics. Murphy will be a good enough buy if the likes of Shaq can stay healthy and Jermaine O’Neal find form and remember he used to play at an All-Star level.

The Celtics are still strong and, if healthy, I can see them coming out of the East, I just think it would have been beneficial to keep the roster intact. Because if the Celtics don’t win it all in June, then the “What If’s” will certainly be coming.

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Are the Thunder (and Kevin Durant) in danger of becoming overrated?

The Oklahoma City Thunder are on the way up, there’s no doubt about that. Fresh from a 50 win season and a trip to the playoffs, where they ran eventual champions Los Angeles Lakers close before succumbing in 6 games, expectations have increased considerably. Kevin Durant has come off a summer as the star of Team USA’s run to a gold medal and Russell Westbrook could be set for a breakout season as an All-Star, but how far can this Thunder team go this season?

Let’s start with Durant. Last year’s scoring champ is a sensational player that can score from anywhere and after Kobe retires, could very well take up the crown of the NBA’s best player. But claims that he will run away with the MVP and is the best small forward in the NBA (ahead of Lebron) are completely exaggerated. For the record, I think Durant will win the MVP award this season but I don’t think he’s better than Lebron at the moment, or even Melo at the moment (at least not offensively, as he lacks the post game of Anthony).

Then there’s the Thunder. Durant is a superstar, Westbrook in my opinion, can be an All-Star this season, and then you have a set of one-dimensional role players in Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka and Nenad Kristic, with young players like James Harden, Cole Aldrich and Eric Maynor yet to show their full potential. The problem though for OKC is their frontcourt, which has been well documented as a problem area. They just don’t have the size that the Lakers, Blazers or Mavs and lack the experience of a Spurs. Nenad Kristic, Cole Aldrich and Jeff Green, no matter how you put it, don’t match up to the likes of Dirk, Tim Duncan and Gasol and the various other 7-footers in the West.

I do like the Thunder and believe in a few years, when Durant begins to hit his peak, that they could take over the Lakers when Kobe begins to decline. But reports that the Thunder will be the second seed in the West automatically and get to the Western Conference finals are exaggerated, especially as they lack the playoff experience of a team like the Spurs.