Tag Archives: Serge Ibaka

Thunder youth movement

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. With yesterday’s Serge Ibaka contract extension, the Oklahoma City Thunder youth movement continues.

By Josh Kramer

Most of the attention regarding the Western Conference this off-season has been focused on the newly revamped Los Angeles Lakers.  Rightfully so.  In adding two-time MVP Steve Nash and the best center in the NBA, it appears Kobe has the pieces in place to nab #6.  But who won the Western Conference championship last year though?  Who went to the Western Conference finals the year before? Oh yeah, that team out of Oklahoma City.  With yesterday’s four-year contract extension of 22-year-old swat team captain Serge Ibaka, the youth movement continues on in OKC.

In this day and age defined by free agency, blockbuster deals, and unhappy players, core groups rarely stay together for an extended period of time.  Oklahoma City is looking to defy the odds and build a dynasty out of a group of guys that they drafted, molded, and groomed. Continue reading

Advertisements

Olympic Men’s Basketball: Medal Round Preview

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Will LeBron James (pictured above) lead Team USA to gold? Our very own Nick Craddock weighs in.

By Nick Craddock

The preliminary round of the London 2012 edition of the men’s basketball competition concluded Monday and we’ve learned (or merely confirmed) that the United States, which is escaping the group stage unscathed, is still the team to beat for the gold medal.

After the United States, the question of which team poses the biggest threat to the heavy favorites remains unclear. While the aforementioned question does not yield a definitive answer, what is clear heading into the medal round, which begins Wednesday, is that a handful of teams from the chasing pack can challenge LeBron James and Co. on a great day for American opponents or a bad day for the Americans when it comes to their own execution.

In a single-elimination format, anything could happen for these teams still vying for Olympic success: Continue reading

Food for Thought 6-5-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The two best bench players in the NBA put on quite a show last night. James Harden (left) hit the big shot in the end though to help the Thunder go up 3 to 2 in the Western Conference Finals

By Josh Kramer

We could quite possibly be watching history in the making in regards to NBA Playoff basketball.  94% of teams that have gone up 2 to 0 in best-of-seven NBA series have gone on to take the series.  Only 14 teams in NBA history have ever climbed out of a 2 to 0 hole to win a best-of-seven game series.  Both conference finals series began with the higher seed taking a 2 to 0 lead.  Things appeared to be over.  Then both lower seeded teams miraculously defended their home floors (and OKC won one on the road last night).

Can Boston and/or Oklahoma City pull off the unthinkable?  Oklahoma City can.  Yes, I am going to keep doubting San Antonio.  I wouldn’t count on it from Boston.  The Thunder have been the team to watch out West all year.  Despite a very slow start in the conference finals, their bigs (Ibaka namely) awoke in Game 4 and James Harden hit the shot of the year in Game 5.  Remember, Westbrook and Harden combined for a mere 18 points on Saturday.  OKC still won.  Last night, the OKC bigs, Ibaka and Perkins combined for just 13 points.  OKC still won.  The Thunder will knock off the Spurs and become team number 15 to climb out of a 2 to 0 hole. Continue reading

Food for Thought 5-15-2012

Photo courtesy of clippers.topbuzz.com. Chris Paul (left) and Blake Griffin (right) are two of the main reasons why the Clippers currently find themselves in the Western Conference Semifinals. Can they advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history?

By Josh Kramer

The opening round brought the city of Los Angeles to a fever pitch.  Round two will bring heartbreak.  In a little over a week, people will be referring to Los Angeles as “Heartbreak City,” rather than “Basketball Central.”  Even if you are not a fan of the Lakers or the Clippers, you have to admit that an all LA Western Conference Finals showdown would be special.  “Lob City” versus the Kobe Bryant Show.  What could be better than that?

Unfortunately, I am going to go out on a limb and say that it isn’t going to happen.  This is not the same Lakers team that made three consecutive finals appearances from 2008 to 2010.  They are full of flaws, lacking the effort and determination to lay it all on the line every night. The Clippers are not only tired and injury riddled, they are overmatched against a very experienced and well coached San Antonio team.  Gregg Popovich is arguably the best in the business for a reason.

Kobe Bryant will have to play out of this world for LA to stretch this series more than five games.  The Nuggets made the Lakers look like they were standing still at times during the opening round.  What do you think the Thunder are going to do?  Not to mention the Thunder are much bigger inside than the Nuggets with Ibaka and a now healthy Perkins.  I tip my hat to the Clippers on taking down a very good Grizzlies team.  But the Spurs are even better than Memphis.  Plus, both of the star players on the Clippers are currently struggling with various injuries.

It has been a great year for Los Angeles in terms of NBA basketball.  As a consolation prize though, the Kings appear unstoppable in terms of the NHL and the Dodgers currently boast the best record in the National League.  In terms of basketball though, Los Angeles should start thinking about the 2012/2013 season. Continue reading

Rivalry or Dynasty?

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Kevin Durant (pictured above) and the Oklahoma City Thunder appear to be the team that can stop a Miami Heat dynasty.

By Josh Kramer

This was supposed to be the time of the King.  A dynasty where the Heat would win not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7…

Arguably the greatest rivalry in basketball dominated the 1980s, with the Lakers and Celtics winning 8 titles between them.  The 90s were defined by “His Airness,” bringing 6 titles to the Windy City, despite taking time off to pursue a baseball career.  In the first part of the 2000s, the Twin Towers put San Antonio on the map, bringing home 3 titles, plus one in 1999.  Then recently, at least for a few years, the Lakers/Celtics rivalry was renewed.  That time appears to be up if the start of this season has been any indication.  Now we have hit a new era.  Will this be a time defined by a rivalry or a dynasty? Continue reading

“Western Conference Finals Predictions”

Dirk Nowitzki (pictured above) has been nothing short of phenomenal in this year's playoffs. Can the future first ballot Hall of Famer get the Mavericks back to the NBA Finals?

The matchup to decide the Wild Wild West will finally get underway tonight.  No I am not referring to the NHL’s crazy Western Conference.  I am talking about the extraordinarily deep NBA Western Conference.  It is a 3/4 matchup.  Not too many people predicted these 2 to square off for a trip to the Finals.  And that is fine.  It still a great all around matchup. Continue reading