March Madness is in full swing and the NBA season is gearing up for the stretch run, but with the season five premiere of "Mad Men" this Sunday night on AMC, there's another team about to command our attentions. With the creative minds at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce back to work, we can't help but point out the remarkable similarities with another team at the top of their game: the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Proud Franchises Forced to Rebuild
Seattle fans were crushed when their beloved team was forced to pack and move to Oklahoma City due to financial reasons and a dispute between owner Clay Bennet and the city. Just like OKC, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce wouldn’t be the agency it is today without the top players packing their own bags and leaving. In season three Sterling Cooper was sold to a larger company. When things went south, the team literally grabbed everything in the middle of the night and left. Like SCDP, the Thunder had to start all over, in a new building, with some new and old faces trying to succeed.
Last year’s scoring leader and this year’s MVP candidate Kevin Durant is one of the best players in the league and without question the best player on the Thunder. Durant can do it all: At 6'9" he can score down low and shoot from three with the best. He is the premier scorer in the league. Like Durant, creative director Don Draper is one of the best in the business, the winner of many awards in the advertising world and driving force behind Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. The story line of the show boosts Draper to almost mythical proportions in the advertising world.
Young Guns Trying to Take Control
The Robins to Draper and Durant’s Batman. Pete Campbell, a young account executive at SCDP who became partner when they branched out, is very effective at his job but often tries to bite off more than he can chew. Campbell is constantly challenging Don and trying to further involve himself in the creative side. Like Campbell, Russel Westbrook over steps his boundaries. Having the best scorer in the league on his team would be any point guard's dream, but not Westbrook. He’s never met a shot he doesn’t like. Normal nights have Westbrook’s shot totals around those of Durant. Unquestionably talented, both guys need to learn their roles. When you’ve got the biggest guns around, you don’t leave them at home when you go to war.
Coming Off the Bench
All great teams need help off the bench and OKC and SCDP have some of the best. James Harden has become as well known for his oddball antics as his solid role play. He can fill in for Durant when #35 is on the bench or play the 3 with Durant at the 4 as the Thunder shift to small ball. Harden receives extra attention for his “Rick Ross” beard and outrageous hair styles. SCDP has their own oddball coming off the bench in Peggy Olsen. Season 1 began on her first day of work as Don’s secretary; she's since worked her way up to copy writer and become a huge asset to the ad team, offering a woman’s perspective. Like Harden, Peggy sticks out like a sore thumb. The only woman on the team and the only one to take part in any of the '60s social scene. Peggy has been known to dabble in drugs and attended artsy parties — not so similar to the rest of the white-collar, country-clubbish members of SCDP.
Lane Pryce joined the team when the the British outfit he worked for bought Sterling Cooper, but eventually helped to lead the coup when he found out the agency was being resold and he was being transferred back to England. The true “glue guy” for SCDP, he runs the office, provides leadership from a non-creative side, and handles the finances. The Thunder just added their own wily vet this week when Derek Fisher signed with the club. With five rings to his name and president of the Players Association on his resume, DFish could be the answer the team was looking for: a true point guard distributor, veteran leadership, and the one guy who’s been there before and can lead them to a championship. Only time will tell but the Fisher signing seems to be the move that could bring a championship to OKC.
Roger Sterling is the man who built the original Sterling Cooper. An account executive that will go down in the Bro HOF, his job consists of drinking, smoking, and schmoozing clients. He does it so well that “they put his name on the building.” He was the man who hired Don, knocked up Joan, and put all the pieces in place for success. Sam Presti took control of the Thunder in 2007 and hasn’t looked back. He orchestrated the trade that sent Ray Allen to Boston in return for draft picks, then drafted Kevin Durant, Russel Westrbook, and the rest of the core group. Last season he traded for Kendrick Perkins, and just signed Fisher. Some insiders say that Presti's dream is to return home to Boston to work for the Celtics but only time will tell. For now he has the best team in the West, just as Sterling as the best team on Madison Avenue.