Serge Ibaka: Why Oklahoma City No Longer Needs a Big Man

Casey WomackCorrespondent IMarch 28, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 22:  Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket past Serge Ibaka #9 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half at Staples Center on November 22, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the Thunder 101-85. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

At the beginning of the year, everyone who pays attention to the Oklahoma City Thunder has known that the one piece missing for the team has been a dominant big man.

A lot of people have speculated about trades in which the team could try to land an experienced, talented big man.  Those names have included players like Chris Bosh, Chris Kaman, Andrew Bynum, and others.

However, with the fantastic performance by Serge Ibaka, it's becoming more and more clear that he is the big man of the future for Oklahoma City. 

Not one player in the league wants to drive into the paint when Ibaka is playing down low.

He doesn't have one single care about life when the ball goes into the air.  He will do everything in his power to try and swat the ball as hard as he can and not care about the shooter's feelings one bit.

He's doing this so much so that he's earning the nickname Serge "Iblocka."  Sure, it's kinda corny.  But at the same time, you're kinda liking it, aren't you?  Don't lie.

Right now, Nenad Krstic is the starting center for the Thunder.  However, Ibaka is the main big man when the team needs it.  Coach Scott Brooks doesn't want to change any part of the lineup because of everyone's comfort with their roles.

For example, everyone knows James Harden will soon be the starting two in the future.  He could probably start now, but Harden is very comfortable with coming off the bench and knowing his role of what to do.  Plus, Thabo Sefolosha is great starting the game off and setting the tone on defense early against the opponent's main scorer.

With Ibaka, the situation is no different.  As a rookie, starting would probably cause him to put more pressure on himself to try and do more than what he needs to do.

The only downfall to Serge Ibaka right now would be his offensive game.  However, he shoots the mid-range ball a lot better than our starting shoot guard right now. He has a very nice touch on the ball and has a very high ceiling, offensively.

In the future, Serge Ibaka can be a dominant force in the league.  His defensive style game fits Scott Brooks' style perfectly and will help the Thunder be among the best in the league, defensively, for a long time.

Plus, the energy he brings every single game rubs off on his teammates.  Like Nick Collison, he always seems to be in the right place at the right time by getting one of his signature blocks or a very clutch rebound.  

Also, after a big play, he's really the only one on the team that has awesome celebrations and tries to get the crowd into it.

During the last few minutes of the Spurs game last week, he single-handedly shut down Tim Duncan and had the entire Ford Center on their feet.  After he was fouled with about a minute left, he arguably had the best celebration of the year that would get any NBA fan pumped up.

Serge "Iblocka" is ready to solidify himself as the final piece to the puzzle that everyone thinks the Thunder need.

Just like his nickname, I really don't have a problem with it.