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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Blunder Buck’d in OKC Debut

Amid pomp and circumstance OKC style, the NBA/OKCBlunder Experiment debuted with a resounding thud as the Blunder were thoroughly owned by the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night, 98-87. Milwaukee led by as much as 24 before the Blunder, surely motivated by the 100th playing of “Thunderstruck”, got it down to 11 to make the final score respectable.

A sellout crowd, including NBA King Crony David Stern and legend-in-his-own-mind Barry Switzer watched as Johan Petro missed the Blunder’s first official shot on his way to a 1-for-5 night, finishing strong with 2 points. Washington State alum Kyle Weaver led the lowlights with 1 assist in two minutes while soon-to-be ex Blunder Kevin Durant went scoreless in the first half en route to a 12-point performance.

Ironically, Earl Watson, the victim of an alleged racial incident at an OKC night club earlier in the week, scored the Blunder’s first basket. No word on if he was harassed after the game.

Michael Redd, Richard Jefferson and Charlie Villanueva each scored 20 points for Milwaukee who Buck'd up the Blunder debut in the NBA's 45th largest market. The team was previously in the 12th largest market in Seattle before the much-contested and ill-advised move to OKC. That move was propogated by the dismantling of the Sonic's talent base while in Seattle to make them the worst Sonics team ever, including their inaugaral 1967 season. A foolproof way to undermine fan support and a fundamental display of owner Clay Bennett's malevolence towards those fans who are a teams' primary revenue stream.

Surprisingly, the sold out Ford Center emptied early as the game wound down and the loss only a formality. Is this a sign of the future? Of a fan base that will grow weary of losing? That in a bad economic cycle, support of a bad team will erode? We will see.

With the team quickly solidifying its grip on last place, perhaps the team’s theme song should be changed to “Shot Down In Flames”.

OKCBlunder: 0-1

Next loss: Houston 11/1

ADDENDUM!

Someone posted the link below in my comments section - I feel obligated to share it with everyone. It's hysterical...please enjoy;

http://cursethethunder.com/

Thursday, October 23, 2008

BLUNDER Season Forecast: Gloomy

Blunder ‘management’ spent two years decimating the franchise to enhance their ability to move. Now the OKC fans will be paying to watch the Kevin Durant show and little else. Durant’s contractually in OKC through 2010, so will he play all-star basketball or phone it in until he can leave? Do trade talks start this season or next?

The core of Green, Durant and Westbrook are intriguing, but oh so young. The loss of Ridnour may hurt more in the experience and chemistry department than anything else. Once again, this team has no center presence, a legacy brought to OKC. The former Sonics have not had a legitimate center since Jack Sikma. Ouch. Expect power forwards to do the rotating in the paint. Desmond Mason was likely acquired more for his “Local Player Comes Home” feel-good press release than his actual skills. He’s decent defensively but an offensive liability.

The battle between UCLA alums Earl Watson and Michael Westbrook will be fun to watch. Picking up Joe Smith for his veteran presence is an interesting choice. Don’t get it. Expect him, Watson and even others like Collison to be trade bait late in the season. How much effort will the mercurial Wilcox put forth?

PJ, a poor choice to begin with, will be on the hot seat as the losses pile up, creating a distraction to this team. This team may have a little success early on just feeding off of the fan’s enthusiasm, but over the long haul this team is not very good. The Blunder ownership group has been a public embarrassment. This will influence team decisions and free agent players desire to play there. I do not see difference-making players wanting to play for this ownership group. It’s just too toxic. They will have to overpay players to lure them and with the dire economic landscape, that may not even be possible.

Heart is what will determine this team; does the core of this team have the heart for the NBA/OKC Experiment or are they just biding their time until they can leave? The real story on this team will be speculation on who the next coach will be, what trades are looming and the impending Durant exodus. This team has stock piled draft picks, but how will they use them? The fans will love it…but how long will they embrace a loser? I do not see this team being a playoff contender for a long while.

With $30 million in losses projected for the Blunder this season, coupled with the massive financial losses their owners incurred on Wall Street, how long can they even stay in business? How can they offset these losses? Can the NBA survive under these conditions in OKC? How long until we hear rumblings about "relocation" or "new ownership group" looming?

Forecast: The Northwest Division is loaded with talent and that talent will run over OKC most of the season. This is a 25-30 win team and a last-place finisher. The OKC fans will have a blast, though.

Monday, October 20, 2008

OT - Harbaugh Auditioning for Future Michigan Gig?

With the Rich Rodriguez experiment floundering at Michigan so far, makes you look down the road at a potential successor. Rodriguez is a capable coach and did wonders at West Virginia with the spread offense, but he has one glaring thing missing – he’s not “a Michigan man” a term used by legend Bo Schembechler. Michigan has a long standing tradition of hiring coaches who came up through the UM coaching ranks and/or played there and it’s produced results. Then, curiously, they went outside after Les Miles turned them down and courted Rodriguez who brought his spread offense to the Big Ten.

I do not buy the spread as an offensive philosophy at Michigan. It’s an effective tool if you have lesser talent than your opponent; Spread ‘em out and hope for the big play. I get it. But Michigan has rarely been short on talent. It’s better suited for the Indiana’s and Minnesota’s, but not Michigan or Ohio State or Penn State who simply run over you. I am not knocking the spread at all. It’s a clever offense and can level the playing field by making it wider. But at Michigan?

2000 miles away in Palo Alto, Jim Harbaugh, the former Michigan Rose Bowl quarterback, is resurrecting the moribund Stanford program. They’re well coached, competitive and no longer the team you wish to see on your homecoming schedule. I know it’s very early to speculate, but I cannot help but see his growth as a coach corresponding with an unease growing at Michigan as they get away from fundamental UM football. The exact brand of football he could bring back to Ann Arbor.

A year ago Harbaugh stirred up trouble when he called out UM for not emphasizing academics for its athletes. He claimed athletes, including him, are steered towards majors that are less time consuming, leaving more times football. Many jumped all over him. Mike Hart claimed he was ashamed of Harbaugh and he was no “Michigan Man”. Statistics showed Harbaugh was correct. 81% of UM student/athletes had degrees ‘of lesser value’. Harbaugh is learning to coach the student/athlete at Stanford and do it well. The Cardinal's 24-23 win over top-ranked USC last year while being 41 point underdogs is proof of that. I can’t help but wonder if and when the Michigan fan base grows tired of the Rich Rodriguez experiment while watching a "Michigan Man” turn Stanford around, if just maybe ‘Ole Blue may come knocking on his door.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Did Seattle Get it Right This Time?

The Sonics are gone and it sucks. But that collective groan from the economy may shine some sunlight on Seattle and their decision to let the team walk. Had Seattle rushed into a new arena deal to appease Der Kommisar David Stern and his idiot puppet Clay Bennett, the situation could be much worse. With the stock and real estate market disasters, it’s hard to justify public funding of stadiums at this point in time. It seems the timing actually favored Seattle, who just escaped having to walk that slippery slope. We can look at Seattle's leadership and say they bumbled the whole Sonics situation, and it's true. But from another perspective they nailed it perfectly based on the current economic climate. Hindsight is always 20/20.

The economic crisis is sweeping into sports. The Cowboys, Jets and Giants new stadiums are finding difficulty securing the lucrative naming rights teams demand as quick, easy money. Maybe it is a good thing as some of these stadium names have become absurd. With the average U.S. consumer deciding between necessities and entertainment, I think we know which will win out. This is not about choosing between a movie and a game. This is about putting food on the table and gas in the car. More guns = less butter. It’s economics 101.

The move of the Sonics comes on the eve of the worst economic downturn in decades. OKC fully carries the burden of supporting this team financially while families must decide whether spending $200 to go watch a very bad team is a prudent move. Plenty can afford to, but to many in the middle, that’s a costly expenditure. Even the owners of the team are taking a beating, watching helplessly as their stocks and net worth plunge. Can OKC and its tiny market support a team through this? A much larger market, like Seattle, could likely do it with its large metropolitan area and entrenched fan base. But a new stadium at this time? Huh uh.

Even as Stern announces plans to help fund stadiums in China, the NBA is purging nearly 10% of its employees stateside. Stern's cockeyed dream of global dominance via a world-wide NBA presence fails to recognize there are already well-established leagues in the preferred world markets. Stern seems to ignore the NBA woes here where staff are losing jobs and revenue is down, while he dreams of overseas market share. Shouldn't it be fixed here first? Perhaps the NBA’s braintrust that urged uprooting a team from Seattle's 12th market to OKC's 50 market and also is pushing financial aid for stadiums in China, should be part of that staff purging. Oh, I guess that would include Stern, now wouldn't it?

Maybe Seattle got it right this time.

Last Blunder loss: LA Clippers
Next Blunder loss: Phoenix.
Preseason record: 1-4.
Team outlook: Blunderful.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

ROUND UP: Blunder Bumbled, Sooners Humbled, Tigers Fumbled, Missouri Tumbled, Chesapeake Stock Crumbled

Behind seldom-used Marco Belinelli’s 22 points, Golden State avenged the loss of their mascot to the OKCBlunder, by thrashing them soundly Saturday night in Oakland, 122-102. The Blunder shot 38% from the field in the convincing defeat to keep their perfect preseason record intact at 0-3. The Warriors thoroughly dominated in avenging OKC’s selfish absconding of the Warriors beloved mascot 'Thunder'. On the road, with their best player suspended for 30 games and sans mascot, they overcame crushing adversity to bitchslap the Blunder. Still wearing their Knicks tribute uniforms, OKC were led by soon-to-be ex-Blunder Kevin Durant’s 16 points and 14 rebounds.

Next loss; Monday at Houston.

The top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners were humbled in the Red River War as Texas used a 25-7 run to knock off the Sooners in Dallas, 45-35. LSU fumbled for the first time in 612 rushes and is pummeled by Florida, 51-21 in the Swamp. Missouri tumbles from the ranks of unbeatens, falling to OK State 28-23.

Blunder co-owner and Chesapeake Energy CEO, Aubrey McLendon, purportedly dumped more than 33 million shares of Chesapeake stock after shares tumbled to close at $16.52 on Friday, slightly off from its 52 week high of $74. Chesapeake stock sank so low the company is cashless and could not meet it's margin calls on Wall Street. It's currently classified as a 'don't buy' by analysts. Blunder tickets also will soon be classified as 'don't buy' when it's clear to fans that the team that Bennett decimated so he could move them to OKC, is never going to be competitive under his bumbling regime. With losses mounting and Durant counting his days, tickets to this disaster are an unwise investment. The only way the Blunder could lure superstar talent to Tornado Alley is to overpay them. Now, that's not even an option. You don't need a market analyst to understand that...especially in a recession. Another Blunder Bumble.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Blunder Bumble; Push Streak To Two

The OKCBlunder extended their losing streak and remained a perfect 0-2 in the 2008 NBA preseason with a 94-85 loss to the Sacramento Kings Friday night.

Bobby Brown delighted the Sacramento crowd with a performance to remember. Not Bobby Brown the no-talent crackhead; Bobby Brown the undrafted rookie who played in a total of 11 games last year in Germany. He torched the Blunder’s ‘defense’ for 22 points while hoisting up 12 in the fourth quarter. Blunder coach P.J. Carlisimo had no answer for the unknown rookie but did lead the charge to the locker room at game’s end.

Once again, the Blunder played in their New York Knick tribute jerseys. All except Kevin Durant who sat this one out. Durant was 'given the day off.' Maybe he’s exhausted from the Minnesota loss on Tuesday. Maybe he’s embarrassed to put on the Blunder 'uniform' which have been described as lame, totally unoriginal and bland. Most expect the Blunder to be in their Nuggets tribute jerseys for their first home loss Saturday night in OKC. A sellout is expected.

Blunder minority owner Aubrey McLendon, according to reports, has been very busy involuntarily selling "substantially all'' of his common shares of Chesapeake stock over the past three days to meet margin loan calls. Maybe he'll 'liquidate' his home-opener tickets to some lucky fan.

Kings team officials, keeping a wary eye on the Blunder after OKC's thievery of the Golden State Warriors ‘Thunder’ mascot, confirmed that beloved King's Mascot 'Slamson' was safe in Sacramento. With Golden State playing at OKC Saturday night, speculation was raging as to what the Warriors may steal as payback for the loss of their mascot 'Thunder' to the OKCBlunder. When most realized OKC had nothing worth taking, speculation ceased. Let’s hope Golden State leaves with at least a big win.

Next Blunder loss: Golden State

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Blunder Bumble in Billings Debut!

Billings, Montana. Big Sky Country. The sight of the first, of what will surely be many, OKC Blunders. The Blunder rallied from a one-point half time lead to lose convincingly in their NBA debut to the God-awful Minnesota Timberwolves Tuesday night, 88-82.

The Blunder, wearing their New York Knicks tribute uniforms, raced out to a 71-62 third quarter lead, only to watch helplessly as the T-wolves (the T is for talentless) overcome OKC's weak coaching, tepid enthusiasm and silly uniforms, for a very rare win. The Blunder, coming off of a 20-win season thanks to the total depletion of talent, stayed close with last year's 21-win T'Wolves, who showed OKC who's the boss.

Soon to be ex-OKCBlunder, Kevin Durant, had ten points and 7 rebounds for this Presti/Bennett-made disaster of a team.

OKC's next loss? Sacramento.

Friday, October 3, 2008

BLUNDERSTRUCK!

I reviewed the unveiling video again. It keeps making me chuckle. All the small town pomp and circumstance and the lightning flashing on the opening video. Lightning? I get that thunder comes after lightning, but can’t they create a thunder visual for the audience? I suppose if you close your eyes and concentrate on the sound, its genius. Maybe the Blunder is actively courting the sight-challenged audience, and kudos to them for that. Few will want to actually witness the disaster on the floor.

The announcing crew, one a former Seattleite and the other a “Pinto”, called the uniforms ‘classic’. Apparently, the logos colors are red for OU, orange for OSU, sky blue for the flag and yellow for the sun. Yet the uniforms are orange and blue. When I think of sun and sky I think of California or Arizona. When I think of thunder I visualize dark, stormy skies. It’s no biggie, I just find the colors to be fundamentally contradictory, like, say a ‘man possessed’. That walk of shame the players were forced to do, you could see the annoyance on their faces and in their body language.

In its newest negative impact on the NBA, OKC is now stealing Golden State’s thunder...literally. According to the AP, Golden State is rethinking their 12 year-old mascot, Thunder, after OKC announced their own Thunder moniker. "We're clearly going to do something to accommodate Oklahoma City and not have our mascot named Thunder," Warrior team President Robert Rowell said. "For the sake of not making things confusing, we're going to do something. We just have to figure out a good exit strategy." Another tacky move by the OKC/NBA Experiment.

OKC thugs a team, blatantly rips off other team’s uniforms and colors, borrow their logo from Doritos, ruin AC/DC and now, as the last great act of defiance, are weaseling in on Golden State’s mascot. Wow. Not a single original idea from these clowns. The OKC/NBA Experiment; Dumming it Down! Thank you, David Stern! May we have another?

Ok, I will finally admit it; the uniforms are definitely classic.
The Knicks and Nuggets have been wearing them for years!

You’ve been BLUNDERSTRUCK!

Here's a link to the youtube video. Warning: watching may cause nausea.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KC-6smsy_Uk

This just added: Ray Ratto, from the San Francisco Chronicle, had some thoughts on the thugging of the Warriors mascot. Here are some excerpts:

The Warriors learned that, because of the staggering lack of originality displayed by the Oklahoma City franchise (formerly Seattle), they no longer can bring us the mute acrobatic stylings of Thunder.

The Oklahoma City people, who in selecting the nickname Thunder showed the same gift for imagination and creativity one finds in a copying machine.

And now - gone, someone else's property because Clay Bennett, the Oklahoma City owner, considers a grilled-cheese-on-white, iced-tea-with-Splenda for lunch to be out-of-the-box thinking.

But hey, one man's inability to seize opportunity is another man's lotto score.

The entire article is posted here:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/10/03/SPM413AETD.DTL