The sad day has come; the day all of us in Thunder Nation have dreaded and knew was going to come sooner than welcome, the end of the season. The Thunder lost the Western Conference Semi-Finals to the Memphis Grizzlies, exiting the playoffs. Six main players and Coach Scott Brooks have talked to the media in their "Exit Interviews." Daily Thunder picked it up here.
We start with our point guard, the one we missed so dearly, Russell Westbrook. Westbrook got asked questions like he was a coach, or an owner, not a player. He fielded questions like, "How close did you watch the officiating?" and "How do you feel like the team did this season?" Westbrook responded to both of those with great class; He feels like 60 wins is a hell of an accomplishment and a great season, he's just not happy how it ended. Are any of us? We hated seeing him go down, the court-general we needed so badly in the clutch situations. When it comes to officiating, Westbrook watched officiating a lot more closely. He said, "I yelled from the box like a crazy fan." He also added how he wasn't able to argue the calls, so he got a lot more worked up.
When asked about Kendrick Perkins, Westbrook came out with a bold statement, "Perk man, he's the best defensive post defender in the league." Is this true? The Perk we have seen lately has looked like a clueless wanderer on defense. He's good, but he hasn't been in his groove as of late, maybe. Time to put it to rest.
Moving on to shooting guard Kevin Martin, his exit interview began with the question, "How do you look at the experience?" Which he responded with, "It ended too soon. That's what I'm going to say about the whole experience. I think we set ourselves up to be Western Conference champions this year." More rambling, talks with reporters got interesting. One man put him in a pause when asking about the future. Martin seemed very positive, but also skeptical. "This is a place I'd love to be [pause] I'm going to have some options out there so I'm going to have to see how the process plays out." It didn't sound good right there, but then he came back with, "I'm at the point of my career where I don't need to get what I can get. It's more happiness." That put a smile on everybody's face. Is he telling the truth or shushing the media? You can't tell at this point. He talked to Sam Presti and Scott Brooks, but let's hope for the best.
Speaking of leaving, let's check in quickly with the oldest member on the team, Derek Fisher. Fisher said, "I definitely would love to play next season.. I've enjoyed my time here the last couple seasons." He's still confident he can contribute, so that's a good sign, right? The bad note, if Presti doesn't resign him, I guarantee he's done. He most likely will not relocate.
Kendrick Perkins was not open to sharing much with the press. He told media he left Sam [Presti's] office, and that's why he was sweating. "What'd Sam say?" asked one media member. "The usual Sam, ya know."
Later in the interview, Perkins talked about the possibility of being amnestied. He didn't count the idea out, saying, "Mark Cuban said they could amnesty Kobe Bryant, so anybody is capable of being amnestied." On a good note, Kendrick Perkins said, "I'm pretty sure I'll be back next year." I don't know how much confidence I have remaining in him, but I'd like to bring him back along with the help of Nick Collison.
Star Kevin Durant was probably the most disappointed in his game after losing the series to Memphis. Durant talked a lot about improving his game. He wants to improve how he shoots. He wants to improve his offensive boards. How can you change video game like performance? He's unbelievable and has great work ethic. I love it.
When Durant was asked about his teammates, he had nothing but positive comments. For example, when asked about Kevin Martin, KD said, "I love him as a teammate. But free agency and what he feels I have no control over. I would love for him to do whatever he thinks is right for himself." Agreed Kevin, agreed.
Last but not least, Coach Scott Brooks was not happy. He gave it straight about what happened. "We had a really good year." Sweet, but simple. The Thunder are a deep bench team, and Brooks isn't a bad coach despite the criticism he takes every single day. I support Brooks 110%, and he needs to keep doing what he does. A spice in the gameplan could be the key to a championship, but all-in for next season.