The OKC Thunder six game road trip had its share of ups and downs to say the least and we learned a lot about the kids from Loud City in the process as well. I am going to add a few new bells and whistles to this week's post and to posts moving forward. The most notable will be an edition of a new weekly award (more on that in a minute) and I am going to add a few awards/notes that will be more fluid then the staple four I will be handing out.
I figure it would be best to give you a little warning so you are not completely shocked when this post goes from three awards to five or six plus per week. I tend to live my live by the mindset that you should always be progressing and never regress and try to avoid staying idle as much as possible. That is what I am hoping to do with this weekly post. To always be progressing and trying to find ways to improve giving you entertaining content on the Thunder. So enough with the chit chat and lets get on with award season.
The Buffy Summers Award (Team MVP for the week)
Well, we finally have someone not named Kevin Durant winning this award. Now I know you might be thinking how can Westbrook get the nod over KD after the horrible shooting performances he put up in the two losses this past week? Well here is how I do it. Westbrook gets the award this week because of his shooting performance in those two losses this past week. For me that added more solidification to what Westbrook's ability to shoot and score the ball means to the Thunder's success.
A lot and I mean A LOT gets made about the shot volume and shot selection of Westbrook and that it is a hindrance to the team's success. That is the biggest knock on Westbrook game. The narrative has been that he needs to be traditional point guard and just pass the damn ball to Durant. It is clear that not only the Thunder go as far as Durant is going to take them. They are also only going to go as far as Westbrook's scoring can take them.
13 assists vs. The Lakers was nice and all but instead of going 6-22 from the floor if he went 9-27 and scoring more than 17 points would have been a lot nicer. I am a huge Westbrook fan and I love the type of point guard he is. He is the perfect point guard for the Thunder. He is what this team needs to reach their ultimate goal of a title. When Westbrook is the scorer he was game vs. the Clippers is when this team is at its best and most dangerous.
The Tom Haverford Award (Best Supporting Player)
The numbers are not overly impressive and do not jump off the page when it comes to what Jackson has done in his last few games. The reason Jackson nabs this week's award over the likes of Kevin Martin is because we now learned why Eric Maynor has buried on the bench. Jackson has been and is proving to be better than Maynor. Jackson has also proven to be the back-up point that the Thunder need and can trust to run the second unit. James Harden is long gone and balling down in Clutch City. So the idea of the Thunder second unit ever resembling what it has been the past two seasons are long gone. That offense is akin to a character who has been bitten by a walker onThe Walking Dead. Dead and gone and no point in trying to resurrect it.
So this is where the Thunder second unit is now. They are now a second unit that can't rely on giving a ball to a play making All-Star guard and letting him take over while everyone else plays tight defense and crashes the board. The second unit now needs to work a little harder on truly being a unit and that is why the progression of Reggie Jackson is so important. I had a fear that the Thunder were going to try to have Kevin Martin fill the role of bench scoring spark plug in the same way Harden played that role for the team. Thankfully they have not done that for the most part. Harden and Martin and two totally different scorers and get their shots in different ways. Jackson's understanding of that and being able to make sure to run the offense in the way that best suits Martin is a big reason why the drop off between Harden and Martin has been minimal.
Here is another reason why Jackson gets this week's award
Quickest to turn off the TV when watching LeBron James hang with President Obama:
I would almost bet money that KD threw his remote and backpack at the TV when he saw LeBron and the rest of the Miami Heat yukking it up with POTUS Obama at the White House on Monday. You know he sat there pissed as all get out that it wasn't him and his teammates standing there. It is easy to look at great athletes and wonder how they stay motivated year after year when they are as great as they are and have achieved as much as they have. Well, If you ever wonder what is motivating the Durantula this season you just need to look at a smiling LeBron hanging with the President.
Prometheus Award (Disappointment of the week)
I figured I need to add some contrast to awards we had out here on Beyond The Arc so I figured finding the most disappointing player/moment from the past week is a great place to start. A little bit behind the naming of this award. I do not know if there was a more disappointing movie in recent history based on the hype than Ridley Scott's prequel to Alien that wasn't really a prequel to Alien. Let me say for the record I like Prometheus. It had its flaws but it also had a lot of really good moments. And it had Charlize Theron in it doing push ups in a towel. Not mention it was just so damn beautiful to look at and watch on screen. Also, I am a sucker for an trailer/movie that has that BRAAAAHM sound in it. Being subtle is a nice feature but you know when you don't need to be subtle? When it is an action or sci-fi movie. Give me loud noises everyday. But as a whole the movie did not reach the grand levels set before it. You could almost call this the Damon Lindelof award based on how many of the projects he is behind tend to leave audiences unfulfilled. See LOST. Once again this is coming from someone who really like Prometheus and loved the show LOST and liked the ending as well.
Anyway...We are getting off track a little bit. See what happens when you get me talking about movies and such. For me the most disappointing moment of the week for the Thunder was the loss to the Lakers on Sunday afternoon. This is the same Lakers team the Thunder just got done whooping up on two weeks ago. The Thunder had many chances to win the game and poor defense along with poor shooting lead to a Thunder loss. The worst part is now we get to hear about how the Lakers are maybe, finally, possibly back on track to being a contender this season. We to hear about Kobe Bryant being the greatest passer in the history of ever and blah blah blah. Thunder had a chance to further bury the Lake Show and they blew it.
Plus, the game wasn't overly entertaining. There were entertaining moments in the game but overall it lacked the excitement I expected to see in that match up. It could have had something to do with that I was recovering from my 30 birthday celebration the night before but I tend to blame it more on the fact that the Lakers won.
Which brings us to our final award this week.
Walter White Empire Scale: 8 (Last Week: 8)
The loss to the Warriors is understandable to an extent. Second night of a back-to-back with Westbrook having an off night and Steph Curry having an awesome night. All things that are completely understandable and legitimate reasons and factors in losing that game. It would have been damn impressive if the Thunder would have won that game but no one is calling it a bad loss. The bad loss was the game mentioned in the previous award section. I mean the Lakers aren't a good team are they? They're record sure says they aren't a good team. To be a great team you need to keep losing teams losing and the Thunder failed to do that on Sunday. A win against the Grizzlies on Thursday would be a great way to help wash taste of the crap sandwich that was the loss to the Lakers.
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