The Thunder officially tipoff their 2010-2011 NBA regular season today. Since the Thunder are the hottest thing to happen in Oklahoma City since that van full of cheerleaders broke down on the I-40 Crosstown Bridge in August of 1973, we asked the Gazette if we could write a Thunder season preview for them.
They said “Yes,” which pretty much proves our point that you should always have questionable photographs of people who work for newspapers.
Anyway, enjoy the preview:
Dummies’ Guide to Last Season:
Since you are about to read an Oklahoma City Thunder season preview in an alternative-weekly entertainment magazine that publishes restaurant reviews, Chicken-Fried News and interesting letters to the editor about homosexuality and abortion, we figured there’s a chance that you may not know a thing about the Thunder. If that’s the case, here’s a quick dummies’ guide to last season.
Last year, the Thunder exceeded expectations and made the playoffs, where they were eventually defeated by the Los Angles Lakers. They accomplished this feat behind a young and energetic roster that was led by NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant. The team was coached by NBA Coach of the Year Scott Brooks. He kind of looks like a sick Liam Neeson.
As a bonus, here are five things you can say in conversation to make yourself look like you know what you’re talking about:
” “Nobody’s talking about Kevin Durant’s plus/minus now!”
” “I’m not sure if Hollinger’s PER accurately describes Green’s importance to the team.”
” “Krstic may not be flashy, but his pick and pop can open the court. Plus his position D is solid.”
” “Just think about this: Westbrook’s conversion rate around the rim can be greatly improved.”
” “I’d run the old swinging gate.”
What’s New in 2010-2011:
As with a car, house or friend with benefits, things can change from year to year. Here’s a brief look as to what will be different with this year’s Thunder.
The Thunder did three big things during the hot months: Moved up in the draft and took Cole Aldrich; signed Kevin Durant to an extension; and acquired some role players who probably won’t play very much.
If those role players do play a lot, it’s going to be a long season.
So while it wasn’t an eye-popping offseason, it was pretty much what the Thunder planned. The team is set to grow together and improve on its own without the addition of big-time outside help. General Manager Sam Presti is thinking of long-term viability, and that’s the way he’s going to get it.
Meet the Thunder:
Since we don’t have the time, space or proper journalistic training to write proper bios for every player, we thought we’d rank our five favorite players on the roster and ghostwrite a haiku for them.
1. Kevin Durant ” F ” #35
I’m a scoring champ
and gold medal-winning star.
And I’m modest, too.
2. Russell Westbrook ” G ” #0
Last year, some Yardbird
doubted I could play the point.
I am a point guard.
3. Serge Ibaka ” F ” #9
Me: Freakish athlete
with a developing game.
Born in the Congo.
4. James Harden ” G ” #13
Fear my beard. I am
no longer a rookie. I’ll
drain the ball from three.
5. Nick Collison ” C/F ” #4
I’m a role player
who takes charges. I also
like to tweet. #a lot
It’s hard to predict what will exactly happen in an NBA season, so we thought it would make sense to come up with three different scenarios that may take place this season. For fun, we named each scenario after a movie:
Was last season a dream? Was it a dream of a dream? If the Thunder do well this season, are we in a dream of a dream of a dream? Are we dreaming right now? Going from 23 wins to 50 in a year seems like something that couldn’t be real. And there’s a chance maybe last year was a bit of an aberration and the team comes back to reality this season. We just have to hope the totem falls in the end.
“The Empire Strikes Back”
OKC is struck by three 2009 Christmas Eve-style blizzards. Serge Ibaka’s knee gets frozen in carbonite, Westbrook abandons his point guard training, and Kevin Durant gets his hand cut off. To make things worse, George Lucas purchases the team.
“There Will Be Blood”
Here’s where Kevin Durant makes opponents drink his milkshake. In Turkey during the World Championships, he was a killer, obliterating everyone that stepped in his path. The same thing happens for 82 games this season as the Thunder cruise deep into the playoffs.
Oklahoma City Thunder Drinking Game:
Here’s a drinking game to play during a Thunder game. You’ll need a designated driver if you decide to play pregame. First, everyone pick a player on the Thunder roster. If Kevin Durant’s mom is wearing that player’s jersey, that person has to take a drink every time she’s shown on the video scoreboard.
“If the pregame prayer lasts longer than 30 seconds
“Each time you overhear someone in Loud City complain that only the rich people in the lower-level seats get free T-shirts
“When the halftime entertainment is just a bunch of women from church doing Zumba
“If that same freaking kid who always wins the MidFirst “Show Me the Money” contest wins the “Show Me the Money” contest
“For every OU or OSU hat you see on the video scoreboard
“Whenever you see someone wearing a Desmond Mason jersey
“Every time that overzealous husband attacks his wife’s face on the Kiss Cam
“If you see Aubrey McClendon or Clay Bennett on the video scoreboard
“Every time you catch a player checking out a Thunder Girl during a time-out
“If a Thunder Girl winks at you
“If you see a guy’s wife get mad when a Thunder Girl winks at him
“If you see Clark Matthews taking pictures of Thunder Girls with his iPhone
Finish Your Drink:
“If you accidentally call the arena the Ford Center
“If you mention Chris Paul’s name
“If the Thunder win
Things to do before (and after) a Thunder game:
Since this is the Gazette, we figured we’d share some “entertainment” options.
Before the Game:
If you park in Bricktown, you should stay in Bricktown and visit its establishments. The bars and restaurants are pretty competitive for your business on game nights, and you’ll find a good deal. Another option is to visit a restaurant in or around downtown, as a bunch of them provide free shuttle service to and from the arena.
After the Game:
What to do after the game depends on what happens at the game:
Thunder Loss: Go to a bar in Midtown. This will get you far enough away from the Ford Center ” so sorry, we mean Oklahoma City Arena ” that you’re not being haunted/reminded by the defeat. Thunder Win: Go to Mickey Mantle’s in Bricktown. The bar isn’t too expensive, plus you may see a happy Thunder player or two. Thunder Win an NBA Championship: Call in sick to work the next day. You’ll deserve it.
Patrick and Clark Matthews are the founders and editors of the popular local news and entertainment blog TheLostOgle.com. Royce Young is the founder of the popular DailyThunder.com blog.