First post/thread here, don't hate. The Thunder have become a surprising contender as such a youthful team. They undoubtedly could use more experience in themselves and in veteran help. What they need to be looking for though is an emotional leader. Someone with a lot of heart that will push his teammates, yell at them if he needs to. Not to say they need someone with a bad attitude, but someone who wants to win more than anything. KD is a great player, but just too soft spoken. RW seems to be blooming, and as a PG he should be a leader. But he still tries to do too much sometimes and is not a great motivator. I'm not very familiar with the players in this years draft, but if not through free agency or trade, which potential draftee do you guys say has the talent AND attitude which the Thunder can really use?
Nick Collinson seems to be the consensus senior pro on the team and Perkins was supposed to have gathered all the players together after losing one of the Memphis play off games and had them watch the game back and learn from ther mistakes so they have got senior pros on the team.
They could always look for a veteran FA or two this summer but whether they would give them extra leadership I don't know, you hear lots about a good locker room presence for example Grant Hill but sometimes the emotional leader could be more an anti hero type player like Detroit had Rasheed Wallace for a number of years.
Grant Hill is an FA but might prefer to remain in Phoenix, Tayshaun Prince has championshp experience but would he see many minutes on their roster I wonder. One name who sprang to mind was Kenyon Martin who was often described as Denver's on court leader, he could give them the veteran peresence and offer an alternative around Ibaka at PF and would not need to play huge minutes which would be good for hm at that stage of his career.
I can't see why people think Durant isn't the emotional leader. Sure, he's not like a KG person who's gonna bark at you 24-7, but you can tell in the way KD plays that he's locked in and intense. You see this particularly when he drives to the basket and makes a tough shot while being fouled. I think people forget how young this team is- their 4 best players average out to 21.5 years old or so. Give them some time. Durant is a quiet leader- you may not see it all the time, but there are definitely times where it shows that he is the leader of that team. Oftentimes, those are the best kinds of leaders to have.
Welcome to the forums, good first post :)
Shelvin Mack would be good. He didn't get to the Finals two years in a row for nothing (yeah, they had Gordon Hayward the first time and Matt Howard both times but Shelvin Mack was a huge part of that). They can draft him (assuming he is still on the board) at 23 and then pickup Matt Howard as an undrafted free agent. Howard is scrappy, smart, and cheap. He has a decent 3 point shot and is a pretty good rebounder.
Nolan Smith would be a good leader. He can come off the bench to run the point or use him in the starting lineup and take turns with Westbrook handling the ball.
Jamie Skeen went to the Final Four and has a good 3 point shot, so he would give them winning experience and a good 3 point shooter who can also play up front and get some rebounds (if a bit undersized at the 4 spot).
I think James Harden should be the emotional leader of the team (with Westbrook and Perkins, I am not sure you need any more "emotional" players). Steady, level-headed, and a great playmaker. Harden can be the "heart and soul" of the team, KD can be the superstar wing, and Russell Westbrook can be the "emotional spark" that every team needs. Perkins is the backbone of the team and the enforcer. If the Thunder plan on starting Harden next year (which they probably should, if just for emotional leadership and steady play) then they need a good 6th man who can be a good leader and a do-everything kind of guy. ... I think Kyle Singler would be good (hard-nosed, smart, won a championship and can do some of everything and is a decent shooter).
Another good "leadership guy" who has been to the Final Four is Kalin Lucas but he is supposed to go undrafted.
What I think they need more is a veteran leader who has vast playoff experience. Maybe Derek Fisher. So they might want to draft a good leader with their pick and then sign another one in the offseason. Draft Singler or Mack and then bring a few free agent rookies in to see if anyone fits their team (Matt Howard, Kalin Lucas, Ben Hansbrough would be another good option). They might want to look at getting a 2nd roudn pick (trade for one or buy one) so they can get 2 kinds of players. Jon Diebler looks like a solid, steady player who played 4 years in college and can shoot the 3. If they move Harden to the starting lineup then they need a guy off the bench who can shoot 3's, especially if they don't resign Cook.
The Thunder might want to trade Byron Mullins, a future 2nd round pick and cash for Derek Fisher and one of their two second round picks. The Lakers get a young center, some cash, a future first rounder, and they get rid of Fisher's contract. The Thunder get a playoff veteran who can play some point and hit some three's, and another draft pick to get a solid contributor.
As a thunder fan i feel people are way to thinking that they r suposed to be great. THE THUNDER ARE A YOUNG TEAM.Truth be told they are on track. It took Jordan who depending on peoples opion 5 years to get to where Rose and Durant are now (making it to the conference finals). In the Thunders Case they had to go from Jeff Green to Perkins. They just need time.In his own way Durant is emotion leader. (see footage of him making two three pointers in game 4. They just need to stay the course i can see if these guys had been playing together for six years then the circumstances would be different.
Does anybody know a site to watch the game tonight
Thanks for the opinions everyone! Thanks a lot Fire Kahn! As for Durant being the leader, yeah he has that fire in him when driving to the basket, but as seen in much of this series against Dallas, he's not going to bark at his teammates for not giving him the ball enough or get on them for making mistakes. He needs to be a little selfish, and that's ok, he IS the best player on the team! There were a few times in the series when the Mavs' plays were drawn up around Dirk for many consecutive possesions, not because he was on fire, but because he's their best player. He'll demand it when he wants it.
Perkins really should be that emotional leader, the brute who commands the respect of everyone. This didn't really catch on in the 2nd half of the season, and often times he just sat on the pine in foul trouble. However, I think that with a training camp under his belt and more continuity with his teammates, he'll be able to assume that role.
@jmpedro It's possible! He came in, sat on the bench with an injury for a while, then was barely effective when he got minutes. Very hard to be a possitive leader when you don't know how the offense works and things aren't going your way.
BTW, I'm a Celtics fan so I'm hoping for the best for Perk.
Collison is the vocal leader of that team, and Perkins was also, until he got man handled by Z Bo Pau Gasol's adopted black brother.
Durant is their franchise player/captain leading scorer so he has a lot of work to do on court and yelling and encouraging his team mates is an extra burden. We need to remember that he has just effectively finished his rookie deal and the team around him is still growing up. A player with several years experience barking orders is different to a young man like KD doing so. KD will grow into this role and Perkins has only been on the team a few months so is finding his role on the team and after a training camp/pre-season with his team mates will probably take on a bigger role.
Nick Collinson is on the roster as the longest serving player and whilst he has a lot of respect in the team as witnessed by the feedback he got when he had is new contract, he is a bench player who does not see as many minutes as the likes of KD, Westbrook etc.
The Thunder are young. Westbrook and Durant will be those leaders in the years to come. Give them a few years to plish their skills, especially decision making and they will be in the Finals.