Have you voted in the Pat Jones-Matt Pinto matchup? No? Well, go vote now!
As the Summer winds down and the amount of Thunder news slows down to a trickle, we as bloggers need to do something to fill in the time. DaddyDai has done a great job linking everyone up with the news, and OKLuschen has done a great job battling out the Oklahoma Sports Personalities. But, seeing as this is a Thunder Blog, some analysis needs to go on. And, seeing as how I'm the lead blogger here, I need to get off my butt and do some work.
Thus, before the Summer Championships begin, I'm going to be answering what I consider to be the 10 most burning Thunder questions. You can feel free to chime in with your own opinion in the comments, as I'm always up for a good debate.
So, without further ado, here's the #10 question....
#10: Why did we sign Royal Ivey and cut Kyle Weaver?
Okay, so this isn't exactly a burning question in many people's minds. But, the 10 questions have to start somewhere, and I had to do something to appease myself in this list. I do wear an autographed Kyle Weaver jersey to every game, after all.
This call was questionable, at best. But I do understand the reasoning behind it. We've seen Kyle Weaver play over the past 2 years, and while he's exceeded all expectations of someone taken that deep in the second round, he hasn't really improved a whole lot. His game has pretty much developed into what it is out of a 4 year stint in college, so you can't expect a lot of improvement. But when you look at his game, you see the same mistakes being made over and over.
His offense is practically non-existant. Often, he'll get the ball in the corner, and look to shoot, but already be covered. Then, he'll dribble down to the post, but can't shoot there either because he'd just get blocked. So he'd just end up having to pass it back off to the perimeter, and would have wasted 7 seconds (or more) of the precious shot clock. Other times, he'd get the ball on the perimeter, but he can't create any offense, and he can't act as a point guard without the ball getting stolen most of the time. Thus, the best place for him on offense is staying out of the way and drawing a defender away from the actual play.
But, he makes up for it in defensive acumen. He knows exactly the right place to be to steal the ball at any time, and can put a stop to most offensive weapons. If this sounds like Thabo Sefolosha, it should. Because they're very similar players. The main downside to Kyle Weaver is that he can't rebound. And, believe me, it's a huge downside if you've got something like Krstic and Durant in the post at the time.
And thus, you know why Kyle Weaver is third in the depth chart, and why Thunder management is fed up with his mistakes. Another reason for his departure is the emergence of Mustafa Shakur. If you look at Shakur and Weaver comparatively in the D-League, Shakur is better on every level, even defensively. This could simply be because he had played with the 66ers longer, but most would agree that Shakur is the better player. Along with that, Shakur can play third-string point guard, something Kyle Weaver could never do.
And this explains why Kyle Weaver is, essentially, 4th string on the team and the first man to be cut should a better opportunity come along. But, why was Royal Ivey a better opportunity?
The short answer is, he's not. Ivey might be an above-average defender. But, that's about it. He's started only on horrible teams. As a backup, he reached the playoffs only twice, and even then as a first round knockout. He's also had horrible shooting percentages that have gotten worse as his career goes on. None of his stats jump out at you. Heck, Kyle Weaver has had better numbers (especially defensively) in the past two years than Ivey has in his whole career, even when Ivey was a starter.
So then, what's the reason that Ivey was signed in favor of Weaver? Well, experience. You see, Sam Presti, while being a great GM, has some flaws. And one of those flaws is the belief that you've gotta have some veteran guys on a team to give the younger one's some advice on how to play in the NBA. Etan Thomas and Kevin Ollie last year? Yup. Malik Rose, Joe Smith, and Chucky Atkins the year before that? Yup. Hell, even Kurt Thomas and Donyell Marshall during the last year of the SuperSonics? Affirmative again.
So, if Sam Presti had kept the better player in Kyle Weaver at a cheaper salary, nobody would be able to tell Mustafa Shakur how to play! So now we have Royal Ivey, who has the experience of playing for several losing and mediocre teams. Awesome.
Alright, so it's not the biggest mistake in the world. And who knows, maybe Kyle Weaver wanted to go to Israel and play for Maccabi Tel-Aviv. But it is a mistake, and that's my stance on the first question of 10 to come in the heat of August.
Have an opinion? Vote in the poll, write a comment! I promise these questions will get more and more relevant as we move forward.