Blog Entry

I beg the OKC coach to change his lineup

Posted on: May 23, 2011 7:51 pm
Edited on: May 23, 2011 8:08 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Three games in a row, Oklahoma City has fallen rather significantly behind the Mavericks in the first quarter of these Western Conference Finals. No surprise, really, given that three of the Thunder's five starters are on the court for their defensive prowess. Other than Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the bulk of the Thunder's offensive firepower -- mostly James Harden, with sprinkles of Eric Maynor and Daequan Cook -- comes off the bench.

So it's a no-brainer move -- right? -- for the Thunder to replace a defensive-minded starter for someone off the bench who can score. Say, Harden (12.7 ppg in the playoffs) for Thabo Sefolosha (4.5 ppg).


No, says OKC coach Scott Brooks.

"We've won a lot of games with what we have," Brooks said. "I know there's a lot of talk out there about [changing our lineup], but I feel we're pretty good. We've won 55 games this year, won a lot of games in the playoffs."

Look, I like Brooks and think he's really good at his job. But to see the results of the first three games -- all started by large Dallas runs -- and to dismiss outright a change to the starting lineup? That's dumb. That puts the "no" in no-brainer.

Especially since the Mavericks' starter at shooting guard is DeShawn Stevenson. If James Harden doesn't start because he can't defend anybody, well, there you go. Stevenson can't score. Harden can't defend? Match made in heaven, sounds to me.

But not to Brooks. And he explains it in a way that makes sense. I'll give him that. Here's what he said when someone in the media -- OK, it was me -- basically begged him before the game to replace Sefolosha with Harden.

"I just feel that's not the right thing to do," he said. "We've had a lot of success with what we've done building our team. ... One of the things you want your team to do is practice good habits every day and be consistent with those habits. They get that from me -- they know where I stand. I hate to talk about this, but we're a young team. If you give a young team instability, you're going to get very inconsistent results. Everything we do or I do, they know where I'm coming from."

Makes sense, it really does.

But so does replacing a starter who can't score with a guy who can, especially after watching his team struggle to score in the first quarter three games in a row.

Category: NBA

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: May 24, 2011 2:11 pm

I beg the OKC coach to change his lineup

i have to agree with an earlier post. the problem has less to do with the starting five, and more to do with how broken-up their offense has become. westbrook is very talented. durant is very talented. i'm just not sold that these two know how to work together very well. they're both scorers that don't show any ability to work with each othe ron the offensive end. it's all isolation, and pick and rolls with others on the floor.

if you ask my opinion, i'd move westbrook. durant is the kind of superstar you never give up. westbrook is a hybrid scoring point guard. i like his game, but i don't think it's working well with durant. perhaps through a couple of years of working together, they can make it work, but i'm not sure i'd take a chance. perhaps moving westbrook to the two would help, but there is little to no real offensive chemistry with these two.

down 3-1 you might jump the shark with a lineup, but going into game 4, i'd have to agree with brooks. they had a chance to even the series, and rocking the boat wasn't really the best idea. then again, i still don't agree about changing the starting five, as much as simply getting the playing time for his shooters. then again, they're tired from memphis taking them five, and they're not savvy enough yet.

i wouldn't count them out of winning game five. i bet you see no quit in these kids. i just think dallas is a little better this year.

Since: Oct 21, 2006
Posted on: May 24, 2011 12:31 am

I beg the OKC coach to change his lineup

so doyel might be on to something

Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: May 24, 2011 12:16 am

I beg the OKC coach to change his lineup

really blt?  Wow, what a monumental choke. The kind of choke a team doesnt come back from sometimes. NINE turnovers on KD......six on RW. This is a big problem. The chemistry was obscured during the regular season, but in the playoffs we see it. Durant and Westbrook dont work as a tandem. If i were oKC Id find a customer for westbrook, honestly (or durant maybe, take your pick). You can get huge value for either. Durant though, is not a go-to guy yet. Will be ever be? I dont know. But not with this point guard.

Since: Jun 6, 2009
Posted on: May 23, 2011 9:37 pm

I beg the OKC coach to change his lineup

31 points in the first quarter of game 4 with the same lineup. Hmm.. Maybe the coach is smarter than you.

Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: May 23, 2011 8:07 pm

I beg the OKC coach to change his lineup

Gregg Doyel, what is the score now? 2-1 Mavs, as expected. I take it that you're an OKC fan? What if after changing the line up and it it still doesn't work, what than? I'm sorry but I agree with the coach. Gregg, let the coach do the coaching and you stick to your writing. Would you change your writing ways if someone tells you that your writing sometimes sucks? That's what I thought.

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