Erik Horne (NewsOK) looks at Andre Roberson’s value to the Thunder: “The injury had elements of a Greek tragedy. The Thunder’s defense carried it through the first two months of the season as the offense finally came around in December. The demolition of the Pistons was the apex — the Thunder overwhelming them on both ends with Roberson at the core, snatching defensive rebounds and starting the fast break, cutting to the basket for give-and-go layups off Steven Adams post passes, shutting off drives to force ball reversals and turnovers.”
Royce Young (ESPN) on Cleveland’s new bunch getting the best of the Thunder this time: “It’s one of James’ many remarkable traits that a roster halfway turned over just a week ago can show up and play cohesively, moving the ball to open players and generating connected offense. James is so adaptable, and carries a gravity that forces teammates to fit, that the Cavs can remodel their team on the fly, whereas it took the Thunder three months and 30 games to start to figure it out.”
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)→
This whole “two games in a week” thing is for the birds. Can we go back to having 3 or 4 games in a week?
Jeremy Lambert (Thunderous Intentions) on the tired narrative that Westbrook can’t play with other: “The pre-determined narrative that “Westbrook can’t play with others” based on the Thunder not winning a title and Kevin Durant leaving for Golden State is already tired. Oladipo underperformed last year in a role that he wasn’t ready for. He was brought in to be the scorer off the bench for the Westbrook-Durant duo. Durant left, putting Oladipo in a starting role. Oladipo’s shooting numbers were up from his time in Orlando and his scoring average was .1 worse. He didn’t have a bad offensive season. He just didn’t have the kind of offensive season that you would want the number 2 guard on a playoff team to have.”
Jack Maloney (CBS Sports) on the impact Raymond Felton is having on the Thunder: “When our team needs movement and cutting, he [Felton] creates that. When he needs to settle ’em down, he settles ’em down. He’s done a really, really good job from day one coming in, just with his presence,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said at shootaround the morning before Felton finished with nine points and six rebounds in 19 minutes to help OKC get an emphatic 110-91 victory on the road over the Milwaukee Bucks. “Whether it’s dead balls or free throws, coming out of timeouts, on the court, he does a really good job. He’s got such a good feel for the game. He’s a smart player, he’s got a high IQ. He can get things organized out there.”
Where: Vivent Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 930 AM (Spanish))
Line: OKC -4.5 | O/U – 200
There was a point in the Thunder vs. Knicks game with around four minutes left in the 2nd quarter where the score was tied at 40. You could tell there was a nervousness in the arena, wondering if this Big 3 experiment was going to work. Then, the Thunder finally woke up and went on a 22-6 run that essentially put the game away.
It was eye-opening because there are going to be a lot of nights like this for the Thunder. The Knicks are not a top-tier team at all and will likely have one of the worst defenses in the league this season. But seeing the team turn it on and nitrous boost their way past the Knicks in an 8 minutes span was positive in many ways. Continue reading Thunder vs. Jazz preview (Game 2 of 82)→
Sports Illustrated picked which teams they thought would be the biggest flops in the NBA this season: “But there are still a bunch of open questions. Is Westbrook wired to balance his own exceptional scoring and playmaking with the pure distributing skills that are needed to fully involve George and Anthony? Is Anthony willing to scale back his ball-stopping and turn up his defensive intensity in a new role? Is George, who openly demanded every important shot in the 2017 playoffs for Indiana, willing to regularly take a backseat in crunch time? Can these three talented scorers find ways to make each other, and their limited supporting cast, better? Or, do their skills prove to be redundant enough to hold back Oklahoma City’s overall offensive efficiency?”
Kevin O’Connor (The Ringer) looks at how the Thunder will play with a Big 3 in tow: “After Thunder general manager Sam Presti pulled off a miracle by trading for both Paul George and Carmelo Anthony this offseason, Westbrook now has teammates worth sharing with. Like Westbrook, both George and Anthony have experienced their share of playoff disappointments. They know the burden of trying to build a winner without another superstar on their side. “Honestly, in this league, it’s hard to [win] alone. Russ averages a triple-double and couldn’t get out of the first round,” George said at Thunder media day. “You just need guys of that stature and that level to be able to help and create something special.” Continue reading Daily Thunder Rumblings – 05 Oct 2017→
There’s an understandable euphoria for the Oklahoma City Thunder heading into this season. The front office has accumulated a wealth of talent at the top of the rotation. For the first time in its history, the Thunder have put together a Big 3 where all the players involved are in their prime. But like every other team in the league, the Thunder will still have their weaknesses. Here’s a look at 3 possible Achilles heel’s for the Thunder’s Big 3.
There are a ton of positives to having a Big 3. In the case of the Thunder, Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony each have similar characteristics that will help the Thunder improve upon their many weaknesses from last season, especially on the offensive end of the floor. All three have been go-to scorers throughout their careers and all three have been asked to be the leaders of their teams.
But now they are together. And that can have unintended consequences in terms of chemistry and fit. As we’ve seen with the Miami Big 3, there are growing pains in putting together such a talented collective. Even Golden State had its hiccups throughout the season last year. It would be foolish to think this trio would be any different. Continue reading Three Possible Issues for the Thunder’s Big 3→
There is actually a Thunder game tonight. Woo-hoo!!!!!!
Paul George is now willing to seriously consider OKC during free agency next summer: “The source says George has been impressed by the culture of the Thunder and how meticulous general manager Sam Presti and the organization are in building the roster and the franchise. George was impressed that the front office “had the (guts),” in the source’s words, to put everything on the line in getting him, and followed it up by getting Anthony without giving up any of the team’s core group.”
David Aldridge (NBA.com) on Westbrook’s loyalty to Oklahoma City: “But then came Westbrook, last Friday, finally signing the $205 million extension that the Thunder had had on the table for weeks. The impact reverberated well beyond the 405. Westbrook didn’t, as everyone seemed to accept as a fait accompli the last year and a half, play out his contract after collecting an extra $28 million in extension money from OKC last season, and bolt to the Lakers, Tom Joad with a 401(K) and options, in the summer of 2018. The scuttlebutt was that Westbrook would go back to his hometown and be united with LeBron James and/or Carmelo Anthony and/or Idris Elba and/or Shonda Rimes.”
After getting rebuffed by Trey Burke on Saturday, the Oklahoma City Thunder shifted course and signed Isaiah Canaan, as first reported by Shams Charania of The Vertical. The offer is non-guaranteed. This was the issue with Burke, who decided not to sign the Thunder’s offer when they would not budge on the “non-guaranteedness” of the deal.
The 6’0″ combo guard out of Murray State played for the Chicago Bulls last season, where he averaged 4.6 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 0.9 assists on 36/27/91 shooting splits in 39 games. Last season was the guard’s worst season in terms of shooting. He’s a career 35% three-point shooter and the Thunder probably hope they are getting this guy:
Canaan likely heads into camp battling Semaj Christon for the 3rd point guard spot. Raymond Felton is likely the back-up point guard, having signed for the vet minimum earlier this offseason. With Russell Westbrook likely taking it easy this preseason due to a recent PRP procedure on his right knee, look for the other three point guards on the roster to get extended minutes in the preseason.