This is a really exciting time for NZhoops, we are fortunate enough to develop a relationship with what we think is the best Thunder community on the planet, Welcome to Loud City! I managed to pin down the ultra busy WTLC godfather J.A Sherman for a quick Q&A. Boy I am excited about this!
1. I feel like I am on a first date but let’s get this formal nonsense out of the way J.A Sherman, could you please introduce both yourself and Welcome To Loud City (WTLC) for those who may be unfamiliar with the site?
Here is what you all need to know about WTLC. We’re a fun bunch. Really! Very dateable.
Our goal is twofold:
1) To be a top notch Thunder site that educates and informs you on everything that matters if you are a fan of OKC. We’ve got a bevy of smart guys who write smart things but we do it in a way that desires to draw you into the conversation. We all learn new things together.
2) To be an NBA site unlike any other that you will find on the web. My co-manager is one of the most identifiable Thunder fans in OKC and is a world traveler who can relate to and write about all the cultures he’s experienced (including a trip to North Korea!). Our game coverage is unparalleled because you get multiple voices and an amazing Photoshop created by our artist that we have on staff.
I mean, where else are you going to find complete storyboards of Kobe trying to crash James Harden’s All-White Party, or a shirtless Serge Ibaka jumping out of a birthday cake?
Yeah, I think you’ll have some fun if you stop by.
2. So we have just passed the All-Star break and all of New Zealand wants to know just how much of a god Steven Adams is in the Cinderella City? What street is the Bronzed statue on?
Steven Adams fills the hole in our hearts that we never knew we had.
While it is doubtful that he’ll get his own statue in OKC before Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and perhaps his statue will most likely be made out of bacon and butter at the state fair, he has brought a certain personality to the team that has made it a lot of fun to watch unfold. To understand his impact, you first need to know that Thunder fans have long been frustrated at coach Scott Brooks’ dislike of playing rookies. He’s had some good ones over the years, including Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones a year ago, but they never seemed to get any meaningful minutes of action. This sad trend has changed this season, as Adams is getting about 14 minutes per night and is firmly entrenched as the backup center. His positive impact has had a big boost on the Thunder front line, as they are all playing better, especially on defense, than ever before. He raises the level of competition and the Thunder bench has gone from an expected weakness to a great strength.
Meanwhile, rest assured that Adams will be content playing ball and eating a massive steak. Well worth it, indeed.
3. Does his side part look just as good live as it does on television? NZhoops readers haven’t had the opportunity to see the side part run the lanes for some time now so could you please take our minds into Chesapeake Arena and describe how it looks? How does it handle the southern climate?
Adams is starting to get a little scraggly these days, but I am guessing that is because the road life can get a bit weary for players. Being in a different city night after night, cramped in a hotel room, can get a bit tedious I am sure. Add onto that the fact that he’s only 20 and has not yet fully learned of the stylings of Russell Westbrook, he can be forgiven for letting his tight hairdo slip from time to time.
All told, he’s a good looking dude and he’s got a good frame for wearing fashionable clothes. The biggest challenge though is finding a tailor who can custom fit things for a 7 foot giant like Adams.
4. I considered asking a question about Iceberg Slim or Russell but lets be honest, Adams and his big broad shoulders is the one carrying the Thunder squad to the Western Conference promised land so I will just skip that question.
Go on you good thing!
In the meantime you can check out WTLC”s growing Thunder-Kiwi lexicon of power. If you have any words that need adding, please send them along!
5. What do you think Adams’ ceiling is? There have been many names thrown about as the player comparison to the young Kiwi, many of them documented here, but how far can Adams go?
Here is the thing about big men in the NBA. It is easy to make an early impact when you’re that big and strong, but in order to actually have a meaningful career it takes a lot of work, because there are always big guys coming up the ranks that are younger and cheaper. You can’t coach height, but there is always an abundance of it in raw form. For a big man to become entrenched in the NBA, he has to learn the ins and outs of how to operate in an increasingly sped-up game against the best athletes in the world.
The guy that I see has the most natural model for Adams to follow is Andrew Bogut, the center for the Golden State Warriors. You might recognize that name because he came by way of Melbourne, Australia. He’s not flashy, but he’s big and strong and is a great teammate and fan favorite. He has learned to work within an offensive system in Golden State that plays lightning quick with Stephen Curry running the show.
The area where I feel Adams can surpass him though is because I’ve noticed that Adams has really good footwork and balance, most likely because of his rugby training. He can move into and out of pick and rolls very quickly, never gets knocked off balance, and has great hands to receive the pass. He’s not quite on the level of Hakeem Olajuwon and probably never will be, but there is potential there for him to produce well on offense once he figures out how the Thunder offense works.
Once he gets that down, there is no reason why he couldn’t become the Thunder’s franchise centre for the long term. It’s always going to be tough for him to break into the All-Star game because of the way teams are picked, but he doesn’t seem to care much about that anyway.
6. Is Kendrick Perkins in any danger of being amnestied this summer? Is it something the Thunder will entertain?
Kendrick Perkins is a big of an enigma in OKC. No, he will not be amnestied this summer because there is no reason for him to be at this point. If the Thunder were going to amnesty him it would have been a year ago, but even then that was an iffy argument. Now though, he’s worth more to them because he will be entering the final year of his contract, which becomes a very valuable tradable asset.
In the meantime, Perkins will continue to do what Perkins do. Perkins is indeed one of Brooks’ guys, and Brooks will always be loyal to Perk and give him an opportunity to perform. If you find yourself screaming at your TV set wondering why he’s playing so much as the Thunder offense falls apart, you’re about 2 years behind the curve. This has long been an issue with Perkins, and the way we can understand it is that because of his talents and his limitations, he’s a highly paid role player on the team.
Role players have a purpose, and Perkins has a purpose. When they play teams like the Spurs, Rockets, and other teams that rely on big men, Perkins has an important role to play. However, when they go against the fast teams like the Heat, Perkins needs to sit and the Thunder have to run an offense that places Durant at the power forward spot and uses one of their mobile big men at the center, which is currently either Ibaka or Collison. If Adams can progress to the point where he can be trusted, he too can help the Thunder play fast “small ball,” but with an actual big guy at center.
To Brooks’ credit, he has begun to realize that Perkins used correctly is an asset, but used incorrectly is a liability. He has become more flexible with his rotations, and that will help Adams as well.
Thank you for your time J.A Sherman, I feel this date went well and I hope your readers enjoy the newfound relationship between NZhoops and WTLC.