I remember back in 2009/10 season when Thunder had their breakout year, Ibaka was coming off the bench and they had Jeff Green. Harden was also coming off the bench. So the 2 spots at SG and C were reserved for (relatively) veteran players and the scoring load was carried by Westbrook, Durant and Green. Harden was great coming off the bench. but both Ibaka and Harden were rookies.
I checked how they fared in that year with respect to league. They, of course, won 50 games and made the playoffs as 8th seed. But they were 12th in offensive rating, and 9th in defensive rating. They were a very good offensive rebounding team (3rd) but an average one on defensive boards (17). The pace they played at the time was ranked 12th.
A young talented group. A different animal than our team. For one thing, we don't have that generational player like Durant although we can more or less approximate the rest. One thing that is interesting to see with that group is that Durant, Westbrook, Sefolosha and Green all played 82 games. Krstic, Harden Collison played 75+ games. That is one healthy season. The standard that they caught that season, I believe, pushed that group to next level. Before they faced us on December 22, 2009 they had a record of 13-13. And they lost against us on that game. Just what you would expect from a team that only won 23 games the year before that. Does it sound familiar? So how did they manage to go 37-18 the rest of the season? Well, they had 5 game winning streak to close out the year. Then, they had a 9 game winning streak in Feb, and 5 game winning streak in the following month. They must have figured it out somehow? But how?
I searched the articles from their winning streaks.
They bought into playing defense, and more importantly bringing that energy on the road games. It is kind of obvious, isn't it? You only play 41 home games. If you want to win 45+ and make playoffs, you have to win some road games even if you go undefeated at your own turf.
So that became their standard. Playing hard, and playing harder on the road. I don't think teams can only win with a 30ppg scorer on their team. If you have one, that would be nice. But teams like Jazz are grinding out wins more than they let it get away.
Heading into season, and after starting 10-10, how come we couldn't establish a standard?
Q. Would trying hard and winning hinder the player development?
-> If not, what kept the players from trying hard?
Q. Was the narrative that this is a young group an obstacle on the way to bringing the energy every night?
-> If the narrative is at fault, should we do something about it and stop turning it an excuse?
Q. If the injuries are somewhat the reason for stagnation, how does it explain the multiple 30+ point blowouts at squad full healthy?
Q. Do you think the coaching needs to adjust to players just as the players need to adjust to coaching?
-> If so, heading into next season what should be the standard for the coaches?
Q. When things go south, the first thing that comes out of people's mouth is the lack of leadership. Is leadership that important to winning or is it a blanket statement?
-> When you think about NCAA teams with full of freshmen, doesn't the coach provide leadership?
Q. As the pillars of the rebuilding, what was the standard we expected from Randle, Russell, Ingram coming off the college and why do you think the Lakers drafted them?
-> If they did not reach their standard, what should be the plan?