Daily Thunder Rumblings – 16 Oct 2017


It’s Opening Week. Let’s Go!!!!!


Royce Young (ESPN) explaining why the Thunder could have a crunch-time conundrum on their hands: “With Paul George and Carmelo Anthony now his teammates, that appears likely to change. “Carmelo’s been a closeout guy the places he’s been, the same thing with Paul. But any time you have a team you have to do it by finding the open man,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “Clearly for us last year, somebody creating and generating a shot for himself or someone else, it was Russell. But obviously now with Carmelo and Paul being here, I think it’s about making the right play and right decision.”

The Thunder will be in the midst of a 3-game road trip when Halloween hits, so they decided to celebrate it a little early this year. 

Neil Greenberg (Washington Post) on how Carmelo Anthony should fit into the Thunder’s offense: “Anthony should welcome this change because, unlike in New York, defenses won’t be able to double-team him as easily, for fear Westbrook or George, two good pick-and-roll players, would be left wide open or without a help defender close by. And this is where Anthony could shine. He hit 43 of his 96 wide-open three-point shots (44.8 percent) last season and had an effective field goal percentage of 63.7 percent on unguarded catch-and-shoot attempts. That would be a huge help to the Thunder, who managed 11.3 wide-open three-point shots per game last season (13th most) mostly due to defenses keying in on Westbrook.”

TMZ caught up with former Thunder player Caron Butler and they talked about Dwayne Wade.

Nick Gallo (OKCThunder.com) on the stinginess of the Thunder interior defense: “Sure, the Thunder’s personnel has changed with the additions of high level veterans, and yes it’s still preseason when teams are still working out their own offensive kinks. But why, stylistically, has the Thunder been so stingy defensively in the middle? That’s easy. It’s been the team’s biggest point of emphasis. “The one thing we’ve tried to do is take away the free throw line and the deep paint,” said Head Coach Billy Donovan. “Then through rotations and scramble situations to try to get out to shooters.”

Fred Katz (Norman Transcript) on the back-up center situation and how unconventional the Thunder may have to be with that position: “Career-long power forward Patrick Patterson stands to play backup center on most nights. Jerami Grant, who played a bunch at small forward after OKC acquired him last year, will see time at center, too. It’s today’s NBA. “There’s some more conventional teams that are playing with a conventional power forward and center, and there’s some teams with five perimeter players,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “The game has just changed.”

Jake Fischer (Sports Illustrate) on Kendrick Perkins became the best teammate in the NBA: “Perkins established a group text message with Durant and Westbrook upon arriving in Oklahoma City. “I didn’t know KD and Russ from a can of paint,” he says. “I just wanted to get it like how we had it in Boston.” They pinged the thread day and night, dishing football smack and NBA rumors. “We’re in it a lot,” Westbrook said back in April 2016, even after Perkins left the Thunder. “That’s the type of relationship we have [with him].” The group message has been silent following Durant’s departure to Oakland last summer. Perkins thinks it will resume activity in the future. “At least they’re talking to each other again,” he said. “I know they had talked right after they announced Russ won MVP. They texted. I think they broke the ice.”

Erik Horne (NewsOK) thinks Andre Roberson could see a decline in minutes: “In preseason, Donovan mixed lineups where Roberson was used at every position but point guard. On offense, Roberson was particularly effective when he was able to use his rebounding ability at power forward. But Patterson, who’s still recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, didn’t seen any rotation minutes this preseason. When Patterson returns, Donovan will be able to play lineups that slide George to shooting guard, Anthony to his natural small forward position, and Patterson to power forward, with Steven Adams and Russell Westbrook rounding out the lineup.”

Brett Dawson (NewsOK) says don’t expect too much looking back as the Thunder celebrate their 10th season of existence: “The organization has made a decision to limit the looks back as it recognizes its first decade. There is a 10th-season logo, but you won’t see it on jersey patches or court decals at The Peake. You won’t see a flood of decade-themed merchandise in stores or on the concourse. The Thunder is an accomplished 10-year-old. It reached the NBA Finals in 2012 and the Western Conference Finals in 2011, 2014 and 2016.”

Erik Horne on why the Thunder need Patrick Patterson: “A steadying hand like Patterson’s boosts a Thunder second-unit that struggled mightily without Russell Westbrook last season. Trading for All-Stars also helps that problem area. The addition of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony and the staggering their minutes will reduce Donovan’s reliance on heavy stretches from reserves. But Patterson’s play is important because the Thunder’s projected rotation players off the bench have question marks next to their names.”

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