The Overrated or Underrated: Westbrook’s extension and debuts of Carmelo Anthony and Paul George bring Thunder into focus

Oklahoma City Thunder's Paul George (13), Russell Westbrook (0) and Carmelo Anthony (7) pose for photos during an NBA basketball media day in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
The Overrated or Underrated: Westbrook’s extension and debuts of Carmelo Anthony and Paul George bring Thunder into focus


Sam Mayes from the mMm Ranch will be doing his “Overrated or Underrated” throughout the entire Fall to add on from the mMm Ranch’s radio segment that we all are accustomed to. He will discuss a single topic and talk who, what, and why that someone, or something, is “overrated” or “underrated”. 

Overrated: New Thunder Big Three Will Not Be Able To Work Together

The immediate reaction to the Carmelo Anthony trade was this narrative that Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo were not capable of working together. The idea is wrapped around how similar their personalities are to each other. They each demand the ball too much. There isn’t enough shots to go around. That there will be conflict on the basketball floor.

Listen, at this point in these guys careers, personal glory is set aside to building a legacy. They’ve been the cornerstone for franchises before. They have the personal accolades to backup their pedigree. These are three guys that have a different mindset from “let’s just go get mine” now. I think we’re looking at a situation that putting money in your pocket is not the most important goal. Carmelo had to waive a no-trade clause to be in OKC. Paul George has spoke glowingly about a potential future after this season here. These aren’t three star players that are just looking to have fun–they’re looking to win.

Secondly, is there a team outside of Golden State in the West that has a more talented big three than Oklahoma City? They are led by the reigning MVP who has reportedly found a way to get better over the summer. One of the bad boys of the NBA chose to be here in Carmelo Anthony. Then throw in a star who is about to enter his prime in Paul George. This thing will go as Russell Westbrook goes, and if last year proved anything, a few key additions could vault them into a different tier in the NBA.

Now, Russell Westbrook will need to adjust his game a tad. He won’t need to lay his body on the line every single game. This is a time he will need to work smarter and not harder. The rest of the Thunder will be entering a new role than what they’re used to, and Russ will need to help them find that. The entire team will mold around him. So this notion that this new Big Three will not work because of past personalities and styles of play is completely overrated. We’re not dealing with kids here. These three guys are looking to cement their legacies in the history of basketball. As Aaron Rodgers said, “reeeellllaaaaxxx”. Let the professionals be professionals.

Underrated: Sam Presti And Thunder Brass Not Going Away Without A Fight

The Golden State Warriors are simply…..well, they’re really good. It looks like they’re ready for another run at a Larry O’Brien trophy. Most teams in the NBA are scared and have folded up their tent for awhile to enjoy life under the luxury tax. These teams hope that luxury and money lure the superstars for Golden State away eventually. The plan is to simply become uncompetitive, pile up draft picks, and then play your cards as they’re dealt. There are a few teams in the NBA that can actually compete at the level of Golden State. For awhile, it looked like OKC was one of those teams destined for a short rebuild.

That was until the right card was dealt. Sam Presti took advantage of the opportunity that was presented to him. The “superteam” is the only way to attack what Golden State has built. When the opportunity to get his second superstar came up, it was time for OKC to open up their checkbooks. It is a shot that has an unknown destination, and somehow Sam Presti got enough dogs behind him to get Paul George, and then Carmelo Anthony to buy-in. This move then pushed Russell Westbrook to sign an extension that made him the man of Oklahoma City. No more looking back, the Thunder are attempting to grab the NBA by its horns.

The destination is unknown. There is no person or prophecy that has the capability to fully predict what is it come for the OKC Thunder. They have put together their best possible hand after July 4th, 2016. The pieces are bought-in. The management is bought-in. The ownership, fanbase, and NBA is all bought-in to what Oklahoma City did this summer. That is why these moves by Sam Presti are underrated. It is always good to see someone go after Goliath, but it is even better when it’s the People’s Champ and his people leading the way.

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