Buy or Sell: 2001 Patriots, OKC Thunder, Fultz’ fresh start

It’s been a long time since we’ve done an edition of Buy or Sell, but it’s back now, and we hope to keep it going.

James Harden” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

In this returning version of Buy or Sell, Mickayeen Farner, Joel Deering and I discuss three big topics. These topics include the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots from 2001, the 2012 Oklahoma City Thunder team that could’ve been, and a former No. 1 overall pick looking for a fresh start to prove he’s worthy of being number one.

So let’s see what we all have to say this week.

Mickayeen: The 2001 Patriots would still have won the Super Bowl if Bledsoe was the starter over Brady in that game. (Some forget, Brady was injured in the AFC championship and it was Bledsoe who took them to the Super Bowl).

RahimAli: I buy the 2001 New England Patriots would have won the Super Bowl if Drew Bledsoe was the QB. I mean yeah, it’s a great story for Tom Brady to have won his first Super Bowl after taking over the starting job when Bledsoe went down with an injury. However, it was Bledsoe, not Brady who helped get them into the Super Bowl.

Let me also remind you all that it was the Patriots’ defense and kicker who helped Brady win that Super Bowl. You can relive the moments of that Super Bowl here. Also, take a look at the stats by Brady in the Super Bowl and Bledsoe in the AFC Championship.

For Brady in the AFC Championship win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, he went 12-15 for 115 yards and zero touchdowns. Bledsoe was 10-21 for 102 yards and one touchdown. That one touchdown was the only offense scored by the Patriots, as they got two special teams touchdowns and a field goal by Adam Vinatieri.

Brady went into the Super Bowl and went 16-27 for 145 yards and one touchdown. That was also the only offensive score for the Patriots in that 20-17 win.

So could Bledsoe have gotten the Patriots the win? Yes, he could have. Time management is the biggest thing in the fourth quarter of an NFL game going down to the wire. He was able to manage the clock in the second half of the championship the week prior, ultimately scoring a touchdown and setting up the kick.

Would the game plan have gone a different? Probably, but both Patriots QBs at the time could’ve won that game.

Joel: I buy the Patriots winning the Super Bowl in 2001 if Bledsoe was the QB over Brady. It’s not like Brady was the greatest QB in that game. His passer rating was 86.2. He completed just 59.3% of his passes for 145 and one TD. It’s not like he was spectacular. He’s was average at best.

I agree with RahimAli that it was the defense of the Patriots who won that game for them. The kicker helped too. Tom Brady did help the Patriots get into position to score points, but with how the defense played in that game, I think Bledsoe could have done just as good of a job.

 

RahimAli: If they stayed together, Westbrook and Harden would have helped Durant bring a title to Oklahoma City?

Mickayeen: I sell the idea that Westbrook, Harden and Durant would have, if they stayed together, brought a championship to OKC. Both Harden and Westbrook have become ball-dominant guards with below-average defensive skills. It’s because of that I don’t think they would have been able to win it all with those two on the same team.

That doesn’t sound like a good recipe for playoff success. One could argue that Harden would have been great off the bench, but I just don’t see how Harden would have been worth an extra three wins against the Heat in 2012 or how he could have improved them enough to get past the Spurs in subsequent years.

Joel: I’ll buy that Durant, Westbrook and Harden would have brought a title to OKC had they stayed together.

First off, they made it to the NBA Finals in 2012. Yes, they lost, but Durant was just 23, Westbrook was only 23 and Harden was just 22.

With Harden gone, it took OKC until 2016 to almost make it back to the Finals. That’s the year they were up 3-1 on the Warriors and ended up losing. I believe if they still had Harden that year, they would have made the Finals and closed out the series instead of blowing it.

Mickayeen makes a good point that Harden and Westbrook are ball dominant guards, but I think that could have worked. Many thought Harden and Chris Paul wouldn’t work because they’re both ball dominant guards, but that has worked out nicely for them.

Westbrook likes the ball, but he has learned to take a back seat to Paul George. I think with more time with Durant and Harden, Westbrook would have figured out how to play a lot better with them, resulting in at the very least another Finals appearance, if not a championship.

 

Joel: Markelle Fultz having a fresh start in Orlando will result in him living up to being the No. 1 overall pick in his draft class.

RahimAli: I buy the fresh start for Markelle Fultz, but I’m selling on him living up to the hype of being the No. 1 overall pick. I don’t even think he’s the best pick in his class, and he wasn’t the right pick for a team that’s all about “the process.”

I’m not saying Fultz is a bust at No. 1, because we honestly haven’t seen a full season out of him yet. But guys like Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum and Kyle Kuzma will probably have a better chance at living up to the hype.

This move is good for Fultz though, because he gets to go to an Orlando Magic team who hasn’t found their identity at the point guard position. They thought it might have been Elfrid Payton, but we saw how that worked out last season. The Magic are in the hunt for a playoff spot, and they have good pieces around Fultz to help him grow and excel his game.

With the Sixers, they used his struggle to motivate Ben Simmons to be the point guard, and there just wasn’t enough minutes for Fultz to get the experience he needs to try to live up to the expectations of being a No. 1 pick.

Mickayeen: I semi-sell the idea that Fultz having a fresh start will result in him living up to the hype of a first overall pick. I say semi because I do think a fresh start will be good for him. He might even make an all-star game or two, but I don’t think he’ll ever live up to the number one overall pick.

When I think number one overall, I think of guys like Hakeem Olajuwon, Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Shaq, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, etc… you get the idea. It’s a high bar to try and reach, but it comes with the number one overall pick.

************************************************************************************And there you have it! Now, what do you think?

  • Could Bledsoe have won the Super Bowl for the Patriots in 2001?
  • Would Durant, Harden and Westbrook have won titles for Oklahoma City if they stayed together?
  • Will Fultz’ move to Orlando help him prove he deserved to be the No. 1 overall pick?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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3 comments

  1. No doubt – if Harden, Westbrook, KD stayed together, they would have won a chip. Harden actually played defence back then, he wasn’t an amazing at it, but he wasn’t bad either.

    Like

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