Kyle Wagner (FiveThirtyEight) on the effect Andre Roberson’s absence is having on the team: “But the Thunder have yet to capitalize on the additional space available with Roberson out. Westbrook has played well in some ways, creating at James Harden/Chris Paul levels on the pick and roll, and poorly in others, shooting just 43 percent from the field and 18 percent from the three in the games since Roberson’s injury. George has been hot from the three — he’s hit at least five 3-pointers in four consecutive games — and has averaged 29.6 points on a 62 effective field goal percentage through those 10 games. But Anthony has gone absolutely dormant, and both he and Westbrook missed two games to injury.”
Erik Horne (NewsOK) on the Thunder keeping Andre Roberson involved: “He’s been around in the background,” said Steven Adams, one of Roberson’s best friends on the team. “I know you guys don’t see him and stuff, but when we’re in, say the back of the stadium, he’s around all the time. It’s good, mate. He’s just doing his own thing, a little rehab. It’s a tough situation to be in, but he’s still keeping in happy spirits, good spirits.”
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 930 AM (Spanish))
Line: OKC -5.0 | O/U – 213
The Set-Up: There’s a purveying thought in the NBA that the mark of a good team is taking care of business at home, beating the teams you are supposed to beat handily, and winning some of the games against the teams either at your level or above you. While that all may be true, one of the “shhhhh, it’s a secret” signs that you are a good team is the ability to coast through much of a game against an inferior opponent and then completely snatch their heart out at the end of the game. Continue reading Wizards vs. Thunder preview (Game 48 of 82)→
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 930 AM (Spanish))
Line: OKC -8.0 | O/U – 222
The Oklahoma City Thunder kicked off the New Year in resounding fashion, taking care of business in Los Angeles on a back to back against the Lakers and Clippers. The Lakers game was a blow-out, while the Clippers game was more of a close, back and forth affair that necessitated an assist from the bench in the fourth quarter to eventually close the game out. Continue reading Thunder @ Suns preview (Game 40 of 82)→
Welcome to the holiday season (or is it szn, now?).
Royce Young (ESPN) on the Thunder’s convincing victory over the Milwaukee Bucks: “Playing on the road against the Bucks was a good test to gauge where the Thunder stood and whether the positive momentum of the past few games would continue to build. And the Thunder set the tone early, as Westbrook sparked their best half of the season, a dominant first 24 minutes that put the Bucks on their heels. “That first half, that’s how I would love to see us play,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “I feel like when we play like that the floor’s so spaced it takes advantage of all those guys.”
Royce Young on the Thunder not picking up Josh Huestis’ 4th year option: “The Thunder elected to not exercise the $2.2 million team option for a few reasons, a primary one being the lack of evidence on Huestis and his fit with the roster. Before this season, he’d appeared in only seven total games in two years. Future roster and luxury tax implications also factored in, with the Thunder’s planning for the hopeful re-signing of both Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Committing to pay Huestis $2.2 million next season could translate to as much as $7 million with relation to the tax.” Continue reading NTTB Rumblings – 01 Nov 2017→
Today feels like revenge. I don’t know why, but it just does.
Kristian Winfield (SB Nation) on Paul George and Carmelo Anthony finally having the perfect superstar teammate: “Here is Westbrook — reigning league MVP, all-time single-season triple-double leader, and walking terminator — who carried his team of non All-Stars to a competitive first-round exit to the Houston Rockets in the playoffs. Now, enter two more All-Stars, two more egos, and two more offensive superstars who each need to eat to be satisfied. Or so we thought. That’s the beauty of what Anthony said. Russell Westbrook can have the main course — let Melo and PG-13 have the sides.”
David Brandon (16 Wins A Ring) looks at the shooting guards on the roster: “Huestis is the surprise. After barely playing, and even then largely playing at the 4, Huestis has seen significant backcourt and frontcourt minutes over the last few games. He’s definitely not where he needs to be yet on rotations, but Huestis might wind up a usable member of the team, which not many observers expected. Though he’s worse defensively than Roberson and worse offensively than Abrines, he’s more well-rounded than both, with a clean release on his 3-point shot and good balance navigating screens on the perimeter. He fouls too much, but that might work itself out with time. Don’t fool yourself—at this point he’s maaaaaybe replacement level. But that might be just enough for now.”
Am I a homer? Heck yeah. I’m a fan of the team I write about. It’s not a difficult concept. I like to write about things I’m familiar with. I know basketball, but more specifically, I know Thunder basketball. So I write about it.
Predictions are always a difficult thing when it comes to sports. They are usually made with the caveat that a ton of variables remain static. Things such as injuries, front office moves, suspensions, chemistry can’t be taken into account.
When you look at these 20 predictions, know two things: 1) They are likely going to favor the Oklahoma City Thunder in some form or fashion. And 2) Because I know a little about basketball, I’ll never make a prediction so outlandish that it won’t have a chance of coming true. Without further ado, here are the predictions:
20. Josh Huestis will play over 750 minutes this season for the Thunder.
In his first two seasons, Huestis played a grand total of 86 minutes for the Thunder. But the third year forward looks determined to get some minutes this year, and his play in the preseason may warrant some looks. While 750 minutes may seem like a lot, that’s just 9.2 minutes per game over 82 games. I think Huestis will be a full-time NBA player this year and will get enough playing time to reach that minutes mark. Continue reading 20 Thunder-centric predictions for the season→
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s preseason came to a close on Tuesday with a road win over the Denver Nuggets. The Thunder finished the preseason 3-1, losing only to the Houston Rockets in their first preseason game. Also of note in that game was the fact Russell Westbrook did not play.
In the games where all the starters played, the Thunder went undefeated, ushering the era of the Thunder’s Big 3. When it comes to the preseason though, each team has a different objective for what they want to garner out of these practice games. For the Thunder, it was clear they wanted to build chemistry between Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony. And they wanted to see what they had in a couple of their young guys.
There’s not a lot that can be extrapolated from four games. The Thunder likely won’t win 75% of their games this season. And the Big 3 likely won’t average just 21 minutes a game. With that said, there were some takeaways I noticed from this past week. Some are positive. Others are worrisome. Here are five takeaways from this preseason. Continue reading Five Takeaways From the Preseason→