Here is the question I am most concerned with today - have the Thunder already presumed too much?
Mayberry writes about the Thunder's struggles against teams who switch in and out of zone defenses. I actually grew up watching a team play zone defense. I lived near Syracuse, NY during my formative years, and those Syracuse Orangemen teams led by Jim Boeheim always employed a heavy dose of zone defense. While the teams SU played in-conference new how to handle his zone reasonably well, what was most remarkable was when SU played out of conference games. You could actually see uncertainty and confusion taking over the opposition as they simply had no idea what to do with this kind of defense. Given the youth of the Thunder, it is not surprising that they are struggling in the same way. They're pros, yes, but they still haven't been around long enough to recognize scenarios quickly enough to exploit them.
The DT crew snags Oklahoman Thunder reporter Darnell Mayberry to get his take on a myriad of issues.
Here is the reasonable question for the Denver Nuggets - are they a better playoff team before or after the Carmelo Anthony trade? Yes, they are tearing up teams as of late, and there isn't any reason to think they won't approach the playoffs with the same intensity. However, the playoffs are a different beast entirely. Those games rely more on making the game smaller and slower, not bigger and faster. Also, it probably needs to be said, George Karl has not exactly proven himself to be of high quality when playoff coaching is on the table.
Rohde offers some commentary on how banged up every team is by the time the playoffs roll around. This facet is probably my biggest concern for Kevin Durant - I don't think he is yet properly conditioned to be able to play his game well when he gets banged up.
More links after the jump.
I don't wish to alarm you, but the Nuggets just knocked off the Lakers in physical and convincing fashion.
Here is a nice little snapshot with how both the Nuggets and Thunder have fared before and after their major in-season trades. For the Thunder, almost everything has improved, with one small exception. I think you know what it is.
This is a Portland Trail Blazers perspective on who they might face in the playoffs, and what the Blazers' chances are of winning that kind of series. The writer gives them a 30% chance of knocking off the Thunder. Given the regular season series, should that not be 25%?