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Jenni Carlson chat: Westbrook's rest, the Sooners' NCAA aftermath and OSU's chances

NewsOK Sports 10:04 a.m. Jenni Carlson will be joining us at 11 a.m. from San Diego, but get your questions in now about OSU-Gonzaga, the aftermath of OU-North Dakota State or anything else (Thunder, preps, etc.)
Jenni Carlson 11:00 a.m. It is go time! Keep those questions coming, and I'll get to as many as possible.
Guest 11:00 a.m. What's with Westbrook injury and resting, is it as bad as having 3 surgeries and no end in sight to its healing?
Jenni Carlson 11:01 a.m. The Thunder decided after he had that third surgery in December that it would be a bit more cautious this time around in managing his playing time. That's why he's been on a minutes restriction and why he isn't playing both games of back to backs. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:02 a.m. The hope is two-fold, I believe, in doing that. One, they don't want him to need another surgery. And two, they want him full strength for the playoffs. They believe they can achieve both of those goals by being a bit more limiting in these regular-season games.
Guest 11:02 a.m. Is Westbrook going to be like this for the rest of the season, playing every other game only?
Jenni Carlson 11:02 a.m. It's not an every-other-game situation. He won't play both games of back-to-backs. If the Thunder has games on consecutive days, Westbrook will sit one of the two. Could be the first one. Could be the second one. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:03 a.m. I assume the decision on which game he'll miss will be based on the opponent. The tougher opponent of the two in the back-to-back is likely the game he'll play. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:04 a.m. So, it's not an every-other-game situation where he'll sit. Though the Thunder does have a bunch of back-to-backs to end the season -- just a weird quirk of the schedule -- so it might seem that way.
Guest 11:04 a.m. Why not trade him for another quality player, with perkins and Thabo to teams who might use them?
Jenni Carlson 11:05 a.m. Trade Westbrook??? First of all, he's one of the top 10 or 15 players in the world. Second of all, I suspect Russell Westbrook will be in a Thunder uniform for as long as the Thunder can convince him to stay in OKC.
Guest 11:05 a.m. I am sorry for being callous, but isn't the aim of Presti is to please Bennett with a championship and with Westbrook not healthy, so with Perkins and Thabo, they cannot win it, am I right?
Jenni Carlson 11:06 a.m. Wait, what? Are you trying to say that Perk and Thabo would keep the Thunder from winning a title? Have you SEEN the way this team has struggled defensively WITHOUT those guys??? ...
Jenni Carlson 11:07 a.m. KD and Russ may bow down and kiss those guys' feet when they come back. This team can't make it through the West, much less win the Finals without Perk and Thabo. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:07 a.m. Now, in future years, yes, it might be right that there will be a change in personnel. But as this year's team is constructed, it simply has to have Perk and Thabo to be a team that could legitimately survive playoff series against San Antonio and Portland and the like.
Guest 11:08 a.m. Durant isn't going to stick around for a long time waiting for Westbrook to be healthy, as his aim is for a championship, just like the trio of the Heat and Spurs, isn't it true Presti needs to act now?
Jenni Carlson 11:09 a.m. Guest, Westbrook isn't playing every game because they want him to be in tip top shape for the playoffs. He isn't damaged. He isn't irreparable. And the Thunder isn't going to trade him. And KD isn't going to jump ship. Settle down.
Guest 11:09 a.m. What would it take for presti to pull the trigger for Westbrook, Perkins, Thabo and maybe a change of coach to win it all?
Jenni Carlson 11:09 a.m. Sigh.
Guest 11:09 a.m. In the Thunder's roster, who would you like to stay and would you like to be replaced?
Jenni Carlson 11:10 a.m. When everyone is healthy, the Thunder has a team that can win it all. Seriously. Get Thabo and Perk back. Put Adams and Jones and Jackson on the second unit. The Thunder can be lethal. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:11 a.m. Now, moving forward, there might need to be changes. If Adams is ready to be a starter, Perk might be moved. But I think we've seen that Adams isn't to that point yet. If Andre Roberson is ready to be a lock-down defender, moving Thabo is a possibility. But I don't believe Roberson is ready to fill that role yet either.
Pre 11:11 a.m. Did you get a chance to watch any tournament games yesterday?
Jenni Carlson 11:12 a.m. As much as I possibly could! It's weird, though, because I'm in California covering OSU, the first games start here at 9 a.m. 9 a.m.! In fact, some are on right now, and I forgot about them! ...
Jenni Carlson 11:13 a.m. But yes, I watched as much as possible. Saw a good chunk of Dayton-Ohio State. All of OU. Some of St Louis. I channel surfed a good bit. It's a great day for game watching. And it's more of the same today.
Oksooner 11:13 a.m. Good morning , I watched the game I could not believe what I saw . When was oklahoma going to pound the ball inside , what happend to Spangler , it seems he was a none factor in the game . There wasn't enough ball movement , there wasn't much driving in the lane . Mr Kruger is a good coach , but I hope he tightens this up for next year. Was Spangler in foul trouble early , is that why he didn't have a good game . This really remindes me of the Baylor game (trouble),
Jenni Carlson 11:14 a.m. OU's offense was a head scratcher, no doubt. Offense had not been a problem with this team, but last night, very stagnant. Very unorganized. No one seemed to be taking the initiative regularly, except for Cam Clark. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:15 a.m. I'm not sure what the issue was, but yes, it does seem like coaching might've been a part of it. OU didn't seem to have the answers early, and it didn't get better as the game went on. Adjustments were lacking. ...
Roderick 11:15 a.m. What's OSU looking like? Is ford tense over there?
Jenni Carlson 11:16 a.m. Oops, I posted the next question before my final bit to OKSooner posted. Here's that final bit ...
That said, coaching always looks better when shots go in, and there were many time when shots didn't go in last night. Remember the last seconds of regulation? Three looks at the basket. None went down. That's not coaching. That's players not hitting shots.
Jenni Carlson 11:16 a.m. OK, back to Roderick's question. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:17 a.m. I think OSU is in a true toss-up game. I could really see this game going either way. If OSU plays its best, it looks to me to be clearly the better team. But with its short bench, it has a slim margin for error. And if anything that needs to go OSU's way doesn't, Gonzaga is good enough to take advantage. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:18 a.m. I don't know if Travis Ford is tense. I mean, isn't every coach a little on-edge before must-win games? I assume he is as well. And hey, if his team wins today, he's no longer the OSU coach with only one NCAA Tournament win on his resume. I assume he'd like to shed that complaint that OSU folks have.
Tommy J 11:19 a.m. So does North Dakota State now own the Big 12 the both Football and Basketball? :)
Jenni Carlson 11:19 a.m. Apparently so! Here's what I'd say: look out Iowa State. The Cyclones open the football season against ND State. You've been forewarned, Cyclones! You've been forewarned!
Bill 11:19 a.m. Does a men's 16 seed beat a 1 seed in our lifetime?
Jenni Carlson 11:19 a.m. Gosh, great question. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:20 a.m. My gut says, yes. Surely the continued parity we see in college basketball will eventually mean a 16 beats a 1. But my head says, look at the disparity in the talent between a 1 and a 16. No way a 16 ever gets it done. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:20 a.m. But I'll go with my gut and say yes. Yes, we will see that in our lifetime.
Joel 11:21 a.m. Wondering why Brooks is playing Roberson and PJIII before Lamb when it's very clear that Lamb is a much better overall player than either one of them, especially Roberson. Since the Thabo injury Lamb should obviously have been the starter taking his place and now he's barely even playing. Is he in the dog house with Brooks or something??
Jenni Carlson 11:21 a.m. Lamb is CLEARLY the better overall player? I don't agree with you there. Yes, Lamb is better offensively than those two, but defensively? He still has a LONG ways to go. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:22 a.m. That's why you're seeing Roberson and Jones. Heck, that's why you're seeing more of Butler and Fisher than Lamb. Until Lamb gets some things shored up defensively, he's going to continue to see his minutes drop.
Guest 11:22 a.m. Top 10 or 15 for Westbrook? More like top 5.
Jenni Carlson 11:23 a.m. Maybe so. Maybe so. I'd have to think about it for awhile, but you could definitely make that argument.
Guest 11:23 a.m. Sorry to be blunt about the true state of the Thunder, as time is passing, it's also their title hopes diminishing, your thoughts?
Jenni Carlson 11:23 a.m. Well, if they don't have Perk and Thabo this season, then yes, the hopes are diminishing. But if those two come back as expected, I still see the Thunder as a title contender this season.
Bill 11:23 a.m. People forget just how good this team is sometimes
Jenni Carlson 11:24 a.m. The Thunder? Yes, I agree with that. We've gotten a bit spoiled. And since we see them all the time, we tend to see the warts more clearly. Or the perceived warts, anyway.
Guest 11:24 a.m. In your opinion, what constitute to be a very good coach?
Jenni Carlson 11:25 a.m. Oh, it depends. Different teams need different kinds of coaches. Veteran teams often need more of a counselor to keep all the egos in check. Younger teams need developers of talent. So, it's not really a one-size-fits-all proposition. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:25 a.m. Getting the most out of the talent that you have is a good place to start, though.
Guest 11:25 a.m. Is Brooks the same quality as a Popovich, Carlisle, Spoelstra and a Vogel in your humble opinion??
Jenni Carlson 11:26 a.m. I put Pop in his own category. Next tier is Spoel, Thibbadeaux, Carlisle and probably Brooks and Vogel. I'm sure I'm missing someone. Doc Rivers probably.
Brandon 11:26 a.m. Jenni, would you say that all these people asking about trading Russ are dumber than a box of rocks or are they dumber than dirt? I can't decide.
Jenni Carlson 11:27 a.m. Oh, everyone's entitled to their opinion. But anyone who thinks the Thunder will be looking to trade RW any time soon probably needs to have their head examined.
Guest 11:27 a.m. Are you partial to some Thunder players or you would say something if you find it that something needs toi be stated?
Jenni Carlson 11:27 a.m. I pull no punches.
Guest 11:27 a.m. What time do my Sooners play Saturday?
Jenni Carlson 11:27 a.m. What Sooners? Women's? ...
Jenni Carlson 11:28 a.m. I have to admit, I don't know. My suggestion: google it up! :)
Guest 11:28 a.m. Should OU bring in Scottie Pippin to coach up my Sooners?
Jenni Carlson 11:28 a.m. Scottie Pippen? Scottie Pippen? I'm trying to figure out where this is coming from. Have I missed something? ...
Jenni Carlson 11:29 a.m. No, I don't think Scottie Pippen is soon to be the new coach of the Sooners.
Jenni Carlson 11:30 a.m. OK, folks, basketball is on. Former OU assistant Bob Hoffman has his Mercer squad tied with Duke in the early going. Think I'll watch that a bit! Enjoy the ball today, and remember, OSU men tip around 3:40 Oklahoma time. Set your watches accordingly!

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Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›