The Western Conference powerhouse matchup between the San Antonio Spurs is minutes away, just enough time for some required reading via a Q&A on the matchup with Chuck of Thunder Obsessed.
Okay, I have to lob this one at you. HOW ON EARTH IS KEVIN DURANT DOING THIS? And, where, exactly has he improved the most since his rookie season?
Just rounding his game off. He gets better at every facet of the game each year. He dedicates the offseason to continuous improvement across the board. His goal is to win championships and be the greatest player of all-time. He is getting there, in my most biased opinion.
The Thunder have been very good without Russell Westbrook (9-5, +6.5 net rating). When he returns, what is this team's ceiling?
They've been good lately. Not the start of the injury stretch. So, let's be real. However, credit Scott Brooks for making adjustments on the fly and not afraid to pull someone this season. Many times he's changed man-to-man decisions because of how someone has played. Hasn't done that in the past really. He's growing as a coach.
Why does this team still play Kendrick Perkins and Derek Fisher?
Leadership and the little things. Perkins is a Dwight kryptonite and everyone has gotten to see that this year. He's not bad defensively when matched up properly. He's also healthy this year.
For Fisher, it's about leadership. Before the Westbrook injury, he had played season low minutes and points. However, he's flushed into the rotation. And hasn't exactly been horrible. As much as people don't want to admit it. He's done okay as a back up.
Also wanted to address this: Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb have exceeded even my wildest expectations. Which player, asides from Westbrook, Durant and Ibaka, is crucial to the Thunder's success?
Steven Adams. For a rookie he's playing quality rotation minutes and is doing a fabulous job doing so. He's getting in the head of the opponent and getting their mind off of it. It's nice. He's also a good shooter and an above average defender with a super high ceiling.
Oklahoma City is 9-6 in their last 15 matchups against the Spurs. Will they win tonight?
They're actually 8-2 in their last 10. However, I think the Spurs get this one.