Two thoughts about this dunk, neither of which mentions Serge Ibaka’s role (mostly because that was pretty self-explanatory).
First, Eric Maynor. I’m in love with his game. He’s not a great point guard, or even a starter. His stats don’t scream “star,” nor do they even scream “average.” But Maynor plays with a certain pace to his game that makes him the envy of my adolescent fantasies. And no, not like that you sickos. I wanted to learn to play like him. I wanted to somehow learn to lull my defender to sleep, then burst by. I wanted to dribble one way, slowly, and then cross over and — BAM! — be gone on my way to the hoop.
Will Maynor ever develop into a star? Or even a starter? Probably not. But his style still pleases me. Aesthetically, there aren’t too many other players I’d rather watch.
Second, the Thunder have been a disappointing 5-4 to start the season. But is that really disappointing? Kelly Dwyer examined the problems today for Ball Don’t Lie, terming the Thunder’s start a “self-induced holding pattern.” In other words, they made no additions this offseason. They shouldn’t have really been expected to take the proverbial leap.
I wrote the following words in an email to a few of my buddies, before the Celtics played the Thunder the first time.
“In regards to the Thunder being underrated or overrated, they’re the classic ‘underrated until overrated’ team. They were the 8th seed last year, people! They signed nobody of importance this summer! That does not mean they will be title contenders!
“I suspect they will be a little better than last year, mostly due to their youth improving. But people jumped on the bandwagon too early. This isn’t a contending team, yet.”
I stand by my statement. The Thunder shouldn’t be expected to contend this year. While most of the NBA contenders reloaded this offseason, the Thunder stayed pat. And maybe that’s the right move for the long haul (in Sam Presti We Trust), but for this year alone it doesn’t bode well. This is a young team, still, even if it’s also a very talented one. They will suffer speed bumps along the way to greatness, especially since the roster as presently constructed is inherently flawed.