Did OKC make a mistake?
OKC is still the best team in the West in my opinion, but did they make a mistake by signing Ibaka before Harden?
Which would you have rather had?
IMO, I'd take the Durant,Harden,Westbrook trio, I could find a serviceable big, but the 2nd best SF, the 2nd best SG and the 2nd best PG(With Rose and Rondo out) in the NBA, IDK if ANYONE has ever had an lineup like that.
Hindsight is 20/20. While we all knew Harden would be good as the number one option on a team, did anybody think he would be THIS good?
Funny thing is my brother would always say "he'd be a 25, 5 and 5 guy as a teams first option". I would always say he was being generous because hes a huge OKC and Durant fan.
Your right, but at the same time, with an line up adjustment(Starting Harden over Thabo) who knows how he would have exploded? Do I think he would have been playing like he is now? No, because e still had 2 other superstars on his team, but he would have had his nights.
I still think OKC made the right decision. Did we think he would be this good? No. What you have to realize is...it took him leaving the Thunder to be this good though. He wouldve never been this productive had he stayed there. Sometimes you have too many stars on one team. Kevin Martin and Serge are great role players and complimentary pieces. Harden is a star who clearly flourishes as being a #1 or 2 option. He was just too good to continue to be a 3rd option.
But you guys are looking at it, from the Harden statistical point and him building his own legacy.
I'm looking at it from the Dynasty part, Harden would have never put the numbers up in OKC he's putting up now, but with multiple championships(possibly) and with averages of maybe 20 6 and 4 in OKC his legacy might have ended up better than averages of 28,5,5 with no rings and possibly not making the playoffs sometimes in Houston.
I'm not saying Harden should have stayed, I'm happy he went to the Rockets and is finally showing his full arsonal, I'm just thinking about in the long run for Harden.
I think those projected numbers are too high if he remained in OKC. if ever, a 20-6-4 stat line would happen in a career year, not what he would average of his career. i think a more realistic projection would be 16-5-4. playing his role with OKC and being part of a perenial contender would allow him those numbers. some seasons they would spike, others dip, but i believe at the end of the day, it'll play-out that way forming a big three with Westbrook and Durant while being the off the bench guy. nothing wrong with that so long as youre contending season after season. Manu did just that and has had a great career so far.
Most people would go with Durant, Westbrook and Harden. But the West has always had dominant bigs. At the end of the day defense wins games so thats probably why they went with Ibaka. You need a guy that can defend Duncan, Gasol, Griffin, Randolph, Love, I could go on and on with all the bigs in the west. Ibaka is one of the best defenders in the league and is consitently getting better offensively. I wish the Thunder could have kept all of them. But i think because they already had Durant and Westbrook, they went with defense over offense.
Yes, there are those of us who thought he would be this good. And we have been railing on this trade from the start.
The question isn't really a fair question. You need a third option, keep all four players. OKC could easily have had all four of those guys. Harden is only making $5 million this year. And this is a legit title contention year. OKC shouldn't be planning for the future. They should be going all in this year to win this year and Harden is better than KMart. The $6 million extra they are paying KMart this season would cover at least a year of the luxury tax hit that Harden might have ended up costing them. Probably two years. So they really aren't saving a ton of money. And if these prime years of Durant and Westbrook are your money saving years, then you are a poor owner who is not doing right by his fans. This is championship time.
Of course Harden wouldn't average 26 points per game playing with Durant and Westbrook. But his efficiency would probably have stayed at the ultra high level it was the last two seasons and OKC would be a better team. They would be scary good.
Houston is probably making playoffs. Now they will probably be 8th seed and lose to Spurs. But if Warriors fall off, they could make 7th seed to face OKC. Are we going to get a whole playoff series of FU games from Harden? I guarantee OKC's management is hoping that doesn't happen.
I think the thunder should focus on sustaining their greatness like the spurs. Because Miami only 2 or 3 years left max to win championships. So if thunder can outlast them they should have a great chance to win 3 or 4 championships. The thunder are serious contenders this year for a championship. The move was made to sustain their success. Lamb should develop into a pretty good sixth man. They will probably draft a center like Len or WCS or plumlee. To replace Perkins when he leaves. Reggie jackson should be a solid back up point guard. They also have PJ3. They are pretty young and will have a decent amount of young players going forward. Ibaka is still developing his offensive game. I really like what the thunder have done.
I just think Harden had it real good in OKC, I can't sit here and say if I was in Harden shoes I would have stayed in OKC, because I probably wouldn't have, but Harden and HOU are in the eighth spot in the West right now, the Lakers will probably end up taking that and Harden is on vacation in April.
As opposed to him possibly winning a ring this year and making his mark on NBA history.
And HOU would not want to see OKC in the playoffs, in a 7 game series OKC would dominate HOU.
I wonder the same thing from time to time about signing Ibaka before Harden. Ibaka has made solid progress this season, but obviously not as much as Harden. The only thing that I can think is that its easier to replace a guard than a big guy, that's why even mediocre big men often get paid well. My other thought is that without Harden and his play making abilities Durant and Westbrook will be forced to get better in that area which will be a benefit in the long run.
Even with all that keeping Ibaka and losing Harden will be talked about until the Thunder win a championship with Ibaka being a pivotal contributor or Ibaka really becomes a dominant big man near all star level at both ends of the floor.
i think OKC made the right decision. harden is really good, a top scorer in the league, but OKC has already the best scorer in durant and one of the best in westbrook. but how many ibakas are there in the league?
True the Rockets are far from having the playoffs locked up. I'm not counting out the Lakers until they are mathematically eliminated or one of their big four goes down for the season. Utah has a fairly easy schedule remaining and they protect their home court so nicely. Really the only West team that looks shaky is the Warriors. They could fall apart. But that is really the only way making the playoffs becomes easy for the Rockets. Otherwise the Rockets have to continue to play very nice ball to make the playoffs. This win over OKC was a steal so it will help.
And if the Rockets make the playoffs, this baby team of 23-year olds with basically no playoff experience except Harden should be expected to be crushed by either OKC or the Spurs. I could easily see the Rockets going cold from three and getting swept. That should kind of be expected considering their lack of experience. I'm just saying that if it becomes a Rockets/OKC matchup, then this trade is going to be back in the national spotlight for a whole bunch of games. And really there is no upside for OKC's management. If OKC dominates (which is likely) they will have beaten a team of basically rookies and sophmores. And if Harden goes off, or the Rockets win a few games (I'd say it will only take two wins or split on OKCs home court to start the series) and management is going to feel the hot seat. National opinion and the announcers on TV will drop the whole "Both teams won." view of the trade. But there should really be no chance of the Rockets actually prevailing over seven games.
Also, Rockets just traded the two PFs they have played so far this season. They now have to give 30 minutes a night to either TRob, Terrence Jones or Montiejunas. Jones and Monti have a combined 165 minutes of play time this season. They could easily be a disaster. And TRob has been playing a very underwhelming 15 minutes per game for the Kings. I guess he will be the starter in a week or so. This is a big shakeup for a playoff team to do. So the team is in flux and Harden isn't often going to 7 for 8 from three. So no guarantees.
Well "hypothetically speaking" what if OKC kept their team together and decided this year to trade Westbrook? I mean hes always had trouble deferring to Durant at times (which is fine cause he wants to be the man too and gotta love his fiestyness) But almost everyteam would want Westbrook (maybe not Bulls, Clips, Nets) Harden has shown he can create and handle the ball and pressure just as good if not better then Westbrook. But OKC would have definately got a better package for an established star then an up and coming "6th man".... this is all "what if tho"
Obviously now people will say Harden but even before these explosions I said Harden and the answer is obvious.
#1. Harden is simply the better player. I understand Ibaka provides value to a basketball team in that he blocks shots. But at 6'10-6'11 he has no post moves and is basically a jump shooter offensively. Defensively his value is as a weakside shot blocker. If you ask me (and no one has) I value Collison's defense over Ibaka's because he is always in the right spot, takes charges, hedges on screens, and makes the offensive player he is defending take tough shots. In this generation blocked shots are sometimes over valued (as well as steals) when I would prefer to have someone who takes away the opportunity to be open in the first place.
#2. Harden is a better player for HOW they play. Let's face it; OKC is not a lock down defensive team. They are an offensive juggernaut. Their strength is in their ability to score in an explosive way. Harden compliments that. He is/was an explosive scorer who could play multiple positions and therefore make OKC that much tougher to defend. He also was a player who could spell Westbrook and is probably a better PG than Westbrook is.
In short; I think Ibaka has been over-valued. I value 6'11 shot blockers but I don't value them over guards like Harden who scores while not excluding teammates and without taking 30 shots. Ibaka is basically a weakside shot blocker who makes a few spot up jump shots a game.
Against Miami (a week or so ago) Battier was placed on Ibaka....and not once did OKC run a play for the very well paid Ibaka to score on the 6'7-6'8 SF Battier. His value is there but not in place of Harden.
They don't run plays for him....his value is being a weakside defender...
Harden all day long...especially in the league today where the game is going more and more to smaller skilled players who can score and play multiple positions.
I think one of the mistakes some of you guys are making is...you are comparing Harden's superstar status/ability to that of Ibaka's. Its not about that but about what you need on your team to be successful. Guys like Ibaka, Chandler, etc...are not really guys you build your team around, however if the team is already in contender status, these are the types of players you need to be serious contenders.
Tallman is right, the correct answer is to keep Harden and Ibaka...but when it comes down to choice...I think with their team concept, it was easier to "replace" Harden with an efficient scorer like Martin than to find a replacement for Ibaka. We know that OKC didnt want to get rid of either.
Yes they made a mistake, you don't need hindsight to know that James Harden was an all star caliber player and Ibaka isn't. I think it's ridiculous what they paid Ibaka, let alone that they chose him over Harden.
First Harden wanted what Westbrook got 5 years 80 million. So it wasn't about Ibaka ( 4 for 48 Million ) or Harden, this was going to be a Westbrook vs Harden. I said when the trade went down that think in 3 years OKC would be thinking they traded the wrong player. So in the end OKC wanted to keep Westbrook. But OKC was never going to be able to sign all three to 80 million dollar deals
I love Harden as a player and as a friend.... But Serge was the obvious pick here. Harden can do some of what Westbrook does and some of what Durant does. So they kind of off-set... Westbrook and Durant can score enough and handle the ball enough to make up for Harden's lost. But none of them can do what Serge does. He brings an element to the team that no one else does. He was the most irreplaceable piece. Eventhough the trio with Harden was so dynamic, it was only dynamic on offense. With Serge in the trio, it's still dynamic on offense, but it gives a defensive flavor to the trio also. I hope this iis good enough. I cant really put it into the words I want to say, but hopefully I broke it down enough.
You have one player possibly embarking on a HOF career....(The Beard)
I knew the Brandon Roy comparisons weren't too far off, but he's looking even better... A star is being born right in front of our eyes... Think when T-Mac went to Orlando...
You have another player who has an outside shot to crack the top 10 at his position... (Ibaka)
I personally just don't ever see Ibaka being better than J-Smoove, Aldridge, Cousins, Greg Monroe, Kenneth Faried, or Anthony Davis... Then you have the young bigs still developing such as Drummond, Favors, Kanter, Tristan Thompson and Valanciunas... Don't forget you still have vet guys like Timmy, Dirk, David Lee, Z-Bo, and Pau... Not to mention you have players like Julius Randle on the horizon..
I love Ibaka's intensity, but what more does he bring your team than say a Taj Gibson?? It can even be argued that Ersan Illyasova would fit even better with the Thunder right now with his ability to stretch the floor, or even a guy like Larry Sanders who is blocking over 3 shots a game in less than 30 mins...
My point is you can find players to replace Ibaka... Who can you find to replace Harden not named Kobe, D-Wade, or Andrew Wiggins?
Oh yeah, and James young and the Harrison Twins...Those guys are beast!!!
Im probably going to get a lot of negs for this but just want to throw it out there. The real mistake they made wasn't deciding between Harden and Ibaka but rather choosing Harden over Kendrick Perkins. They could have amnestied perkins and been able to keep Harden (not to a max deal i believe but enough so he probably would've stayed given their potential). Although im pretty sure they would've been screwed eventually by the new cap rules they could've gave this a go for a few years and i think it would've paid off. Presti obviously has an eye for talent to they could find a young big body to replace Perkins through the draft. But mainly i think a core group of Durant/Westbrook/Harden/Ibaka would've been too big to pass up, especially since it seems the chemistry between these guys clicked right away. And lastly to NYFLAVA, replacing a guy who immediately leads the league in blocks like Serge and still has much to learn about the game is not easy. Larry Sanders is a decent argument but he's hasn't even done it for a whole season yet so give it another year at least. Serge is borderline 6'11 and 7' and an amazingly underrated athlete in general view i think so although he doesn't have the basketball instincts like some of the players your listed, he certainly seems more than willing to be coached and therefore has an endless ceiling.
Good point on Perkins! That guy is a waste of space... I'd rather have Samuel Dalembert than that guy... and that's not a compliment by any means to Dalembert.. o_0
Very good point, though Harden is only making $5 million this year, so you wouldn't have to amnesty Perkins until next year. There was still time to make one more run at the title with this core group. Then amnesty Perkins and you can still stay not to far over the cap, just a little luxury tax.