The more players we sign the more we are looking like a very rushed and badly built Thunder team. We are almost identical to the point that its scary and funny at the same time. But unlike the Thunder we were never together our whole basketball careers and we don't have that same chemistry and friendship that those 4 have. In terms of the talent, personnel and play style we are the same team. Both have arguably the best scorer, both have an exciting point guard that has flaws that needs improving, both have a defensive stopper, explosive 6th man, dominant post defender, Veteran Leadership, Hustle guy/ Help defender off of the bench...and so on and so forth. The Thunder slowly crafted their team into championship contenders by drafting well, signing the right veterans and developing and keeping their young talent. We all know we have done none of those things except a few good signings (Kidd) and draft picks. But NY management seems to want to SELL NOW instead of WIN NOW. The Thunder have paid their dues and their patience and proper management have them as the favorite to come out of the west for at least another 2 years and if Harden and Ibaka stays they can become a dynasty long after the Heat.
Lin Like Westbrook is capable of putting on a show at any given night. Both have great scoring instincts and both are great slashers at the rim. Now Lin is NOWHERE near as athletic but he more then well makes up for it with his craftyness and deceptive quickness. But both share the same problems, Turnovers. The thing that takes away from their exciting plays are the possessions they give up from turnovers. They are both upward of 3 TO's per game and are very erratic and careless with the ball at times. Both can dominate a game and can light up a crowd but their mistakes are often unforced and very careless. If these two improve on their decision making we have a top 10 PG in Lin and maybe the best PG in the NBA in Westbrook.
Whether or not we want to admit it, Carmelo Anthony is going to lead this team for better or worse for the next 5 years. Just Like Durant, Melo can drop 30 points with ease on any given night and can dominate on both sides of the ball when they put the effort forth. These are the two top scorers in our league, none better at that aspect then these two. Both are premier clutch players who gets the job done when the games on the line. Melo is not however, the second best player in the game. Melo falls behind Durant in scoring because of his inefficiency and lack of Off-Ball movement. When Durant doesnt have the ball he is still a threat to score because you know he is constantly moving to get open off screens, But Melo on the other hand is a non factor unless spotting up when he doesnt have the ball in his hands. Melo is the more TALENTED scorer but he refuses to use screens and Off-Ball movement to get wide open shots, instead opting to ISO and break his man down every play. Both are the premier scorers in our league and no one can play them 1 on 1 and win the battle.
Lock Down Defender:
This is our Sefelosha, this is our Dwyane Wade stopper, This is the guy we put on the teams best Point guard or shooting guard every night and expect marginal impact from that teams player. Iman Shumpert to me will become the best perimeter defender in the NBA in 2 years. He has all the physical tools and athletic ability combined with his already incredible anticipation and solid technique to become one of the best defenders of the 2010's era. Sefelosha Is starting for the Thunder simply because he is that dominant of a defender, He doesnt let you get easy looks and is like a mirror to every move you make. Both of these guys can guard 2 positions and there are few you trust more to defend the opposing teams stars than these two. Both are top 10 perimeter defenders and in time Shumpert will be top 3. The only person that could potentially become better then the Shump is Avery Bradley on the Celtics. But Avery can't guard multiple positions with the same efficiency that Shump can and it will be interesting to see who becomes more dominant in the future.
The James Harden of our team, the guy who can shoot us into or out of a game and a guy who never remembers his last miss. Now i know Jr is not on the same level as Harden, but these are the 2 most explosive bench scorers in the league. When either one heats up it seems they cant miss. James Harden is the X-Factor for the Thunder much like JR is for us. Each team needs their extraordinary deep shooting to space the floor for their stars and both teams need their play making in order to add a new face to their offense. Now Jr is not as valuable as Harden since we have plenty of scorers, but he is still a great asset to have coming off of the bench since he can drop 20 points in a 5 minute stretch. These 2 guys are one of the best sixth men in the past 3 years and any team would want either to come off the bench for some explosive shooting.
Low Post Enforcer:
The reigning Defensive Player Of The Year and the anchor of our vastly improved defense. Him and Ibaka were the #1 and #2 DPOTY vote getters simply because they dominate and change the game on that end of the floor. Now both change the game in different ways, Tyson is a Help defender and a great communicator while Ibaka is just a shot eraser and intimidating force in the paint. Chandler is more of how KG is in Boston in terms of making sure you know where cutters are, calling out picks, switching and guarding driving lanes. Ibaka is like a score board eraser, points that should count dont because he just gets an insane block and also makes slashers think twice about ever driving the lane again. Bottom line is that without these two players, each teams defense would be like a freeway of layups and dunks and none can replace their impact on their teams.
Jason Kidd will serve the same role Derek Fisher served in OKC. He will mentor an unstable PG and reign him in on how to play the position. Now there is no doubt Jason Kidd is billions of times better than Fisher, but both have been around the game for so long and both have championship pedigrees. Fisher helped limit Russell Westbrooks turnover problem in the playoffs and helped his erratic play in spurts. Now imagine what Kidd can do with Lin and how much more respect Kidd gets then Fisher knowing that you are getting taught the game the right way since Kidd is a lock for the Hall Of Fame and he is a Top 50 player and Top 10 PG to ever lace them up? Kidd obviously wont be telling Lin new drills to do and how to pass the right way but he will guide him along with things like "What to do if they double on a pick?" or " If my big gets doubled in the post, where should i be positioned at?". Little things like that can be the difference between 7 assists and 11 or 15 points and 20. Lin Can learn the underlining things you have to do as a point guard that aren't taught but that comes from instincts, but instead of going threw them trials he can learn them from the greatest PG of this Era.
This is the Nick Collison of team, he makes the plays that the other stars wouldnt make and he adds a new type of defensive presence to our team when our best post player goes to the bench. Jef is an offensive nightmare but his defensive versatility is superb and very valuable. If Lebron gets switched onto him you wont be as scared as Tyson Chandler or Ibaka guarding him and unlike those 2 he can keep up with Lebron if he chooses to drive straight to the basket. Collison gives you the same things Jeffries does except more reliable finisher and shooter but defensively and hustle wise, these 2 are irreplaceable.
If this man gets his act together we can have a dimension to our team that the Thunder won't have. If all works out well with A'keem and he improves like Kobe and Lebron has under his tutelage then we can get over the Miami Hump and give them a legit battle for a full 7 games. He is our most important player for next year because he can either be a boom or a bust. We know what he is capable of and the dominance he showed just 14 months ago, but in order for us to even began talking championships, Amare has got to produce at a steady and consistent rate. He was once considered the best finisher in the NBA, can he return to that level? We will all find out soon enough.
If we can dump the ball down to Amare or Chandler consistently and they can score down low when we are going through droughts or our shots are not falling and the pick and roll game isnt clicking, would be great and we could have something the Thunder don't have. The thing that lets the Thunder escape this dilemma is the fact that they have 3 explosive scorers who gives you big games every night. The Knicks only have Melo and Chandler, Melo will get 25 at any cost and Chandler is reliable every night. But Amare is inconsistent and Lin is unproven so far and Jr is hit or miss every night.
Too many times last year we kept shooting ourselves in the leg trying to score because we had no other options. When Iso ball or PnR weren't working we had no other means of scoring and had no back up plan. Imagine how bad the Celtics would be if Kevin Garnett was ineffective in the low post? Garnett bailed the eltics our numerous times in the playoffs because of his dominance on the block. If Amare had a post game to fall back to we would be legit, but instead we are like a poor mans OKC, except our stars don't dominate on both sides of the ball enough and our identity is not set. Maybe with a full camp and preseason all of these issues can be addressed and we can elevate into a top 3 team in the east, but if not what excuses are we going to use? We got the coach we wanted, we had a full camp under our belt, we have a point guard AND a mentor for him. I say this year is 2nd round or bust and if we don't go seven games or make it to the second round we need to think about blowing this ship up, because there is only one goal: