Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Thunder Threat: The San Antonio Spurs

I wrote an article a couple of months ago about how the NBA 2K15 #yourtimeisnow theme could end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy once the 2014-2015 season is all said and done. In the article, I noted how all of the Thunder’s roadblocks from last season are being lifted. Well, it turns out I spoke a little too soon in regards to the roadblocks. They actually were lifted, but they were lifted only to be completely jumbled up and rearranged.

Now the path to an NBA Championship isn’t quite as familiar as it once was. The constant threat of LeBron that once loomed in Miami now looms in Cleveland, as the Cavaliers set LeBron alongside Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, turning them into instant Eastern Conference Championship contenders. The Heat still have Bosh and Wade, but their stock drops significantly without LeBron in their fold.

Although one threat looms as large as they ever have, and that would be the San Antonio Spurs. What makes them so dangerous to the Thunder’s NBA Championship dreams?

Experience: The Perfect Counter To Athleticism

Now, while everyone on the San Antonio Spurs just got a little bit older, it doesn’t mean a thing to them. They know their athleticism isn’t anywhere near the caliber of the players on the Thunder roster, but they have a knowledge of the fundamentals that more than makes up for their athletic decline.

Have you ever noticed how Tim Duncan loves to regularly “bank in” his shots by utilizing the backboard? That’s why his field goal percentage is at a sky-high 49% over the course of his entire career. It may not have the “swish” sound of a KD 3-ball draining all-net, but it chalks up points regardless.

Superior Coaching

As many times as I’ve made comparisons between Scott Brooks and Gregg Popovich, it’s readily obvious who I would rather have as the Head Coach for the Thunder. I believe Durant has even made comments in the past about how he wishes Brooks were a little more strict at times. He basically defers to Durant and Westbrook whenever he’s out of answers, much in the same way Spoelstra deferred to LeBron every time he was stuck for an answer. The reason that the Spurs are the current defending NBA Champions is because Popovich had a blueprint for how he wanted his team to run, and did not let any of his players ever get out of line, or try to “take the game over”.

This is why you see Westbrook “try to take over” at times. Once Brooks’ so-called “game plan” fails to pan out, he’s paralyzed in terms of what to do next. These are the points where even Durant himself is probably wishing someone would come up with any type of counter-plan to stop the bleeding. Westbrook usually only “takes over” when everyone else is out of answers. His answer to coaching cluelessness is simply putting forth more effort, because at least he’s trying to counter with something.

That’s why Brooks is officially on the coaching hot seat this year. He’s out of excuses. If he fails to win it all this year, he won’t get another chance with this organization. The only way he could fall short and keep his job would be if key injuries were to blame for the failure. Because if Durant, Westbrook, or Ibaka hit the deck next postseason, not even Popovich’s coaching would save them at that point.

Keys To Passing San Antonio:

Have a solid gameplan, and have backup plans in case your first one fails. Popovich used a solid gameplan to counter “The Ibaka Effect” from Games 3 and 4 to move on to the 2014 NBA Finals. Brooks, in contrast, had nothing when Popovich countered with “The Kawhi Leonard Effect”. That’s the reason the Spurs are enjoying their 5th NBA Championship: Proper gameplanning.

Therefore, either gameplan, and have backup plans for the first plan’s failure, or plan on falling short once again. It’s all up to you now, Brooks! You now know exactly what needs to be done. Now it’s all about getting it done. Get in that war room and start brainstorming!

Tags: Oklahoma City Thunder

comments powered by Disqus