With the abundance of great writers, thinkers, and analysts out there that cover the NBA, it says something when you can actually rise above it all and make a name for yourself. One of the guys who has done just that is known by his Twitter handle Snottie Drippen, "the nicest guy you follow," AKA Tweetgood Mac, on Twitter. Here are a few questions we posed to him, so check out his answers and predictions for the remainder of the season.
1. The Thunder have obviously had a plethora of injuries this year. Can you remember a team having this bad of luck with medical problems?
I've watched a lot of basketball for a lot of years, and I don't think I've ever seen such devastating injuries; and They. Just. Kept. Coming. It was RIDICULOUS.The Knicks last season had some doozies. This year's Blazers and Heat were injury bitten. But I can't remember a genuine contender scrabbling and praying for an 8th seed because of so many injuries. It's been insane.
2. Should OKC fans want the team to make the playoffs?
OKC has some of the best fans ever. With Durant projected to come back next year, the Thunder look to be legitimate contenders, so the lottery means very little to them. I imagine snagging the 8th seed will be bittersweet for OKC supporters- you want the honor of earning a spot in the playoffs, but halfway through a slaughtering by the Warriors, if you're in an 0-2 hole and down 26 in the 2nd quarter of game 3, how excited are you?
3. If they do get into the postseason, how many games do you see a Warriors series going?
Russ goes "Berserker Wolverine" in the 1st Thunder home game while Morrow erupts for 23, OKC jumps out to an early 18 point league, Curry and Klay just "don't have it" that night? I can see OKC stealing one game. But with Serge Ibaka in limbo, the defense being abysmal since the All Star game, and the Warriors peaking, this looks to be a swift 4-0 killing.
4. If Oklahoma City can't get in, what do you think they do with the pick? Trade up, trade down, trade out, or stay where they are? Do you like any players in that range that they could potentially select?
So let's say they get the 14th pick...They're already loaded at every position except shooting guard. They need some size and legitimacy on the wing opposite of Durant and off the bench. Waiters has been a wreck, in my opinion. And even without the pick, I believe OKC's roster will be chock-full. Even if (I'm assuming) Lamb and Perry Jones III are sent packing this summer, and with Josh Huestis, Semaj Christon, and even Alex Abrines overseas all in the pipeline, where does a pick fit?
If they keep the pick, I guess take a flyer on RJ Hunter, Sam Dekker, maybe Kris Dunn, stash them in the D-League for a while. Jerian Grant? Devin Booker? Cross your fingers and pray that Kevon Looney falls into your lap?
5. How much should Enes Kanter be paid this summer?
The stock of Enes Kanter has been all over the place. He was throw-away scrap in Utah, played like a world eater for a while in OKC, then we all realized that he can't stop a nose bleed. Now the narrative is, "anyone who overpays him will rue the day!" The reality: Kanter is a young (22) big man with legitimate size, nice offensive skills, and terrible defense. He's had some gigantic scoring first quarters. A full training camp and playing alongside Serge Ibaka can help the defense out a lot. $12-$14 million seems like a lot, but if OKC is serious about showing Durant that they need business, overpaying a bit to keep a legit interior scorer is a good start.
6. Should OKC be the favorite going into next year?
ONE OF the favorites, sure. The Warriors will still be in the mix. The Cavs will still have LeBron, Kyrie, and (hopefully) Kevin Love. San Antonio still will have Coach Popovich, Tony Parker, the surging Kawhi Leonard (and maybe 49 year old Tim Duncan and the vampire Manu Ginobili). Daryl Morey will tinker this summer, aiming to add pieces to James Harden and a rested Dwight Howard. Atlanta's 4 All Stars will be a year more experienced and in tune with each other. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul will be another year battle tested.
But none of those teams have 2 players of the caliber of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, and the Thunder look to be dangerously deep. Add the sting of this season and they're definitely a threat to win it all.
7. Who's your MVP this season?
My personal MVP? Russell Westbrook had 36-11-7-2 steals last night and no one batted an eye, numbers like that have become routine from the guy. Russ is the biggest reason that OKC has gone a very respectable 41-25 (61% winning percentage) since. Now, in the real MVP race, I think Harden has done the most with the lesser roster, but the scintillating record (only 4 losses in the last 28 games that Curry's played), the eye popping 3 point shooting since the All Star break (51.7% on an absurd 8.5 attempts a night) give Stephen Curry the edge.
8. Who will be in the finals, and who wins it all?
I'm really pulling for the Hawks to re-calibrate and rip through the east, but I have a sinking feeling that the LeBron Train is rolling and no one can stop them. And I'm pulling for the Warriors to give the Spurs a proverbial wedgie in the West. In a Cavs-Warriors finals, Iguodala and Draymond slow LeBron juuuuust enough and no guard on the Cleveland roster can do a thing with Curry, Warriors win it in 6.
Many thanks to our friend, and be sure to follow him @snottiedrippen on Twitter.