Topic: Thunder podcast brethren Stephen Dolan (Thunderous Intentions) looks at the fit of Markieff Morris on the Thunder: “The reason I’ll be mentioning Patterson a lot is in my opinion, Morris will be taking most, if not all of his minutes. According to Basketball Reference, Morris has played exactly zero minutes at anything other than power forward or center in his entire career, actually playing more at the five this season. Morris will not be playing any 3. Morris is a big. With that said, and Shams reporting a significant role, anything close to 20 minutes a game will come largely out of Patterson’s 14.7.”
Berry Tramel (NewsOK) looks at the story du jour for the Thunder: Morris’ fit on the team: “Markieff Morris has spent no discernible time as a designed perimeter player. That’s at both Phoenix and Washington. That’s different from Marcus, who has played for the Rockets, Suns, Pistons and now Celtics. Basketball-reference.com estimates that 52 percent of Marcus’ career has been played as a wing, with 44 percent at power forward and four percent at center.”
Tramel (NewsOK) on record keeping between the Thunder and Sonics: “Those records mean different things. If you don’t care about Jack Sikma and Gus Williams and Downtown Freddy Brown, fine. Don’t care about them. No reason you should. But they’re still relevant to history. To pretend they don’t exist is to adopt the political stance of some nations. Make declarations contrary to fact. North Korea does it all the time. Our knuckleheads in D.C. aren’t above it from time to time. But declaring something doesn’t make it so.”
Patrick Patterson got engaged this weekend. Congrats.
John Schumann (NBA.com) has the Thunder ranked in the top-5 in his latest power rankings: “When Jerami Grant missed the last two games before the break with an ankle injury, Patrick Patterson replaced him in the starting lineup and shot 2-for-13 (including 0-for-8 from 3-point range). Defense was the bigger issue in their 1-2-3-Cancun loss in New Orleans on Thursday, but in 52 total minutes with Patterson in Grant’s place in the regular starting lineup, the Thunder have scored just 92 points per 100 possessions, 20 fewer than the regular starters have scored in their 602 minutes together.”
Matt Moore (The Action Network) looks at the Thunder’s suffocating defense: “With us, we have a team strategy,” Ferguson said, “but it’s like the strategy goes away when we play. It’s just ‘bust your ass, and we’re going to have your back. If you get beat, just know we’re going to have your back. If you’re on a rotation, we’re all scrambling. If two people get there, we’re going to keep scrambling, keep running.’ It means a lot to each and every one of us to know that if we make a mistake, the whole team is going to have your back.”
Brett Dawson (The Athletic) had a post All-Star Game Q&A with some readers: “I think Diallo probably is the better dunker. But I thought it would have been cool to see Ferguson in the dunk contest, if only because he’s an emerging rotation player on a playoff-bound team. Bill Simmons said on his podcast this week that Diallo could end up the least-successful NBA player to ever win the dunk contest, and I think that’s clearly way premature. But I liked the idea of putting Ferguson in for the sake of having the more notable NBA player.”
Zach Harper (The Athletic) on what the Thunder need to change in their transition game heading into the 2nd half of the season: “The Thunder are roughly league average both in transition offense and the increase in efficiency they see from transition opportunities. They also are a top-5 team in transition volume because they’re one of the best at getting stops. The Thunder also are the best at forcing turnovers from their opponents, which they often turn into transition opportunities. Their identity is set and they don’t really need to do much else in this department.”