Of Thunder, Dopey dopers and starters
Guess no one’s surprised by the Thunder being the new Oklahoma City nickname, it’s been out there for a few weeks, I believe. But how’s everyone feel about it?
Personally, I’m dead against single-identity names like Thunder, Heat, Magic, etc., so this isn’t a huge hit over here.
Mildly disappointed in the logo, too. It looks pretty lame and uninspiring but I’m sure the saps – um, spendthrift Okies – will snap up merchandise like it’s going out of style. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
Guess the one issue with Thunder is that it’s also the nickname of the Golden State chicken and there was some angst in chicken-land about a team stealing the name of a stuffed animal that entertains the throngs at games.
Me? I couldn’t care less about that. The Chickens I know and love are far more mature than to get riled up about a team having the same name. It’s certainly not going to cut into the stuff the Warrior mascot does. And why wouldn’t a Warrior mascot be named, you know, Warrior, or something like that? What’s Thunder got to do with Warriors, or the Bay Area?
Chickens! We’ll never entirely figure ‘em out.
From the Knuckleheaded Nincompoop department, we bring you these two dopes.
Seriously, smoking or having dope at the NBA’s rookie transition program? What’s that say about the (a) intelligence level, (b) maturity level and (c) common sense level of the two rooks?
No one’s naïve enough to think that no NBA players enjoy a smoke every now and then but there’s a time and a place for everything and you’re room at the resort where they’re teaching you how to be a professional and conduct yourself accordingly is not it.
I don’t know what the “sanctions” will ultimately be, but a one- or two-game suspension would be a good bet.
Here’s a throwback question, sort of:
Q: So, it's back in mid-August, and you've had a very reasonable rant about softball players in the Olympics high-fiving far too much, where a friend of yours explained it as, "... team building and supporting each other and all that kumbaya-ish psychobabble."
A few days later I see all of Kobe's teammates giving him a supporting tap after he missed a free throw and wondered how many of these his Lakers teammates give him in a game, or on the year.
My question is how do you view this form of support that all NBA players show? I mean, there's rarely a specific set of high-fives for a clutch 3 pointer or crazy dunk that happens midplay (for good reason)... couldn't the constant free throw support slaps be seen as somewhat "kumbaya-ish", just like those softball high-fives?
Charlie D, Montreal
A: Yes, they could absolutely be seen as ‘kumbaya-ish psychobabble’ no question about it. They aren’t nearly as intrusive, or as frequent, as I saw at the kabillion softball games I had the pleasure of covering in Beijing (they did it after every inning, before every inning, after every out, far, far too often). But, the NBA taps are rather ridiculous, I think.
Lots of questions lately about who might start for the locals this year and while it’s foolish to try and guess since camp hasn’t even started, we do some foolish around here so why not.
Without having spoken about it at length with Sam, or any member of the coaching staff for that matter, the feeling I got from brief conversations is that they’ll take a very long look at Kapono at the small forward rather than Moon.
The thinking, as far as I can tell, is that Kapono’s play in the playoffs – where the three-point ace actually took three-pointers – was exactly the kind of shooting they’ll need with both Bosh and O’Neal commanding so much attention inside.
Of course, this could all go out the window when they start pre-season games but that seems to be the rationale at the moment.
More from the mail, and judging by the inbox, I’ve got some work ahead of me today answering all your queries for Friday’s mailbag:
Q: Hey Doug, love the blog and what you're doing with the place.
My question is a 'what if' question.
What if Roko is not ready for the NBA, do the Raptors let him take his lumps or if he isn't working out and not ready for the NBA, do they slide him to third string and bring a vet in to play the point for 10 minutes a night? If so who?
David G, Wallaceburg
A: If he’s horrible, or just can’t do the job, they’ll look to Will Solomon first and foremost. They don’t have the money to go get some veteran (unless they make some mid-season trade) so it’ll be Solomon’s job if Ukic can’t do it.
But, despite a rather so-so Olmypics, they are going to give the kid every chance to play himself into that role.
So, Manu Ginobili had reportedly successful surgery on his left ankle this week and will miss more than a few weeks. It’s doubtful he’ll be anywhere near ready to even start practicing all out before the start of the regular season (he’ll be on crutches for the next three weeks and then has to rehab during the pre-season portion of the schedule) and I’m wondering what this all means to the Spurs.
You know what? Probably nothing. And, in some ways, if this clears up Manu’s ankle woes forever, it might even be considered a good thing.
Giving a tired veteran some rest, even if it is after an operation, can’t be a bad thing. The Spurs aren’t going to win the NBA championship, or even contend for it, in October and November. Everything they’ll do is to be ready for April and the playoffs and if that means missing Manu for two months and he’s fresher at the end of the year, so be it.
I don’t for a second think a team with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker and the rest of ‘em is in any danger of even falling out of the playoffs in the first month or so of the season, either.
So, sure, it sucks that he’s hurt, and it’ll raise all kinds of questions about players spending the summers playing for their countries but this isn’t that much to get worked up about.