One of the excellent parts of Christmas is post-Christmas. You know, when you realize that you don't want half your gifts, return them, and get some sweet store credit to spend on what you really want.
That's what I'd like to celebrate with this post-Christmas post. There's no real way to draw a non-silly analogy to the Thunder, but there are some things that I'd like to see changed or adjusted on our team, especially given that the team is now on a two game losing streak. And if they were changed or adjusted, they'd make the perfect gift!
1. Playing time for Jeremy Lamb or Perry Jones III
I know, I know. Scott Brooks looks at these guys every day and should have a better idea of who's a good player than I do. But as a fan, it's really hard to see these dudes sit on the bench. With Thabeet getting little to no minutes, I'd love to see his minutes given to Perry Jones, while Nick Collison plays center. It would certainly give our bench more of a scoring punch. And in terms of Lamb, I don't see any harm in squeezing a few minutes for him and going to a 10 man rotation, kind of like we used to do with Daequan Cook. At the end of the day, I'd deal with the bumps in the road if I could see some truly excellent performances. And comeon, they can't hurt us any more than Thabeet or the backup point guards are right now.
2. A Change of Pace for Russell Westbrook
I know we've talked about Russell Westbrook ad nauseum on this blog, but I'd love for him to really work on adjusting his game to the post-Harden Thunder. Obviously, the Thunder are equally as good as (or possibly better than) they used to be, but their playing style has definitely changed. By changing a scorer for a shooter, the Thunder have become much more of a half-court team, and don't really get the open floor opportunities that they used to. But Westbrook still plays like the Thunder are running the floor. As a result, he misses open layups because of poor footwork, and he bricks the stop and pop jumper that was so successful for him last season. I'm not saying he needs to forget those moves entirely, but I'd love for him to work on more half-court plays beyond the usual pick and roll. Something like a two-man game with Perkins, isolations in the post, or better movement off the ball.
3. More Communication on Defense
I know this one is kind of a cop out, but after Bosh's clutch open dunk last night, I have to say it. Ibaka and Perkins have some of the best communication between them when it comes to how to lock down the paint, but the Thunder's rotations, particularly on the perimeter, are always a mess. They pressure all the time, despite hovering around 23rd place in terms of steals and forced turnovers. I feel like if we just focused on solid man to man coverage, we wouldn't be giving up so many open shots or cuts into the lane.
But hay, these are just my opinions. What do you guys think? What would you like to see the Thunder adjust after watching the first quarter of the season? Let us know in the comments below!