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Can The Thunder Survive Without Ibaka?

Can The Thunder Survive Without Ibaka?

May 18, 2014

The Oklahoma City Thunder just can’t seem to get a break. Injuries have hit them again. After dealing without Russell Westbrook for half of the season (and the playoffs last year) now they are heading into a Western Conference showdown with the San Antonio Spurs without their big man anchor Serge Ibaka. For a team that depends solely on a few players, this is a huge blow.

Offensively this team depends on Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and to a way lesser extend Reggie Jackson. On defense Ibaka is the rim protecter, Kendrick Perkins is the post defender and Thabo Sefalosa is the wing defender. Now with Ibaka out of commission the defenses anchor will have to come from another source.

The veteran Nick Collison will likely be the one to step into the starting lineup with Ibaka down. Collison is a very solid player that coach Scott Brooks can rely on but he isn’t athletic like Ibaka. He should be able to help defend the post very well and defend the paint by taking charges, a big contrast from the shot blocking Ibaka brings. Offensively Collison will be able to finish off plays but it should stop there.

Kevin Durant should see some time at the power forward as well. Durant won the MVP award this season after a spectacular performance on the offensive side, just imagine how crazy it would be if KD came out this series dominating on the defensive end? Durant is a versatile enough player to lock in on defense but then again there will need to be someone else not named Russell stepping up big time on offense.

The Thunder can also look to the rookie Steve Adams for some big minutes as well. Adams has done very well this season as a big man off the bench. He comes in defends and rebounds and can finish plays as well. I would also like to see some of Perry Jones in this series as well. With Ibaka out somebody needs to step into the rotation and Jones should be that. He can step in as a stretch power forward as he has done when he gets minutes that aren’t in garbage time. I would of liked to see Jones get more minutes just to really see what he can do. Hopefully this series we can finally see that.

For the Thunder and Scott Brooks it usually takes an injury for adjustments to take place, now with Ibaka out the team will see his true impact on the game. The Thunder still have a chance to win this series but they will really have to execute also perfectly. This is the Spurs that their facing and this team is nothing to play around with. The Thunder can survive this round but it will have to be a team effort, everyone on the roster will be needed to step up.

Was good though, it's me Everick Davis Jr. Born and raised in Portsmouth Virginia, I'm currently a senior at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. I watch every sport (not so much golf) but I am huge on the NBA. My favorite players right now are J.R. Smith, Russell Westbrook & Nick Young. Drinking beer and watching sports is my favorite past time and I do it year round! I used to play basketball on the regular until everyone else kept growing and I still stood at 5'6. So that's when I channeled my efforts into becoming the next Stephen A Smith or anything close to that. I currently write for "The Carolinian" newspaper in Greensboro, NC and intern for Random Fact about me, I love anime, my favorite one is One Piece! Second random fact, I got beatz! check me out

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