The Oklahoma City Thunder head into the March 1st buy-out deadline with an empty roster spot and several needs. Before we head any further into this article, there are a few things you might need to know about the buy-out market. First off, no team is acquiring a superstar via the buy-out market. In fact, it’s always questionable whether the player being obtained will even be that much of a difference maker. Buy-out signings are usually veterans the acquiring team hopes will make a small incremental difference in the positive direction for and during a playoff run.
For the Thunder, their recent buy-out signings over the past few seasons have been Norris Cole, Nazr Mohammed, Caron Butler, and Derek Fisher. These were veterans that weren’t necessarily useless, but also weren’t game changers moving forward. Fisher filled a role as a back-up point guard during the Finals run of 2012. Butler was important in the first round series against the Memphis Grizzlies in 2014, but his importance decreased with each successive series. Mohammed was more of a locker room/veteran presence during Durant’s final season in Oklahoma City. And last season, Cole was brought in be a better option at back-up point guard than Semaj Christon, but neither totally worked out. Continue reading Sales Rack Shopping: The Thunder and the buy-out market→
Matt Moore (CBS Sports) looks at how the new superteams are playing this preseason: “The biggest question for OKC has been whether Anthony will adapt and do the little things, if he’ll move the ball, or if he’ll just be the same player he was in New York. If you want to know what a great version of Anthony looks like, watch him defend in the transition post vs. Anthony Davis, snag the board, run the break and make quick decisions, leading to a secondary assist”
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→
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.
We continue the NTTB Rank with the players that I think should be on the Thunder’s 15-man roster. Because of contract situations, this is not likely how the roster will shake out. But, in a vacuum, these are the 15 best players on the roster from here on out.
Jonathan J. Bates of WTLC looks at a potential death line-up for the Thunder: “The Thunder welcome two significant additions this season: Paul George and Patrick Patterson. It is not only that they are better players, but also the skill sets they bring that will radically change the Thunder. George shot 46.1 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from downtown per game. Patterson shot 37 percent from the three point line and averaged 6.8 points. 6.8 points seems low, but he only averaged 24 minutes per game as the fourth scoring option on the team. The Raptors only used him (Usage Rate). According to Scott Rafferty of Fansided, Patterson knocked down 36.9 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3-pointers.”
This season should be a bit of a resurgence for Steven Adams: “Number one, spacing should NOT be an issue this year. Patterson is considered the ultimate addition not because of his ability to score or convert, but instead, how he will be Westbrook and George’s ultimate pocket tool to create space and offensive opportunities. With that in mind, the constant fear of lack of space and depth for Westbrook to succeed shouldn’t be on Adams’ mind, allowing him to attack the rim, snatch balls away, and be the monster of a player he was born to be.”
Hello, Friday. And hello, Dakari Johnson. Here are the Rumblings on Friday’s edition of DTR….
The Thunder signed 2015 2nd rounder Dakari Johnson to a 2-year contract on Thursday: “The Vertical did not report terms of the deal, but Johnson is likely to sign for the minimum. A 2015 second-round pick, Johnson has not played an NBA game, making him available at a minimum salary of $815,615 in his first season. That makes Johnson a cost-effective option for Oklahoma City, which will be above the NBA’s cap threshold of $119 million by the time it rounds out its roster. And Johnson has support in the organization. He’s made significant strides since he entered the draft in 2015 after his sophomore season at Kentucky. He’s improved his conditioning and his skills, growing in particular as a passer.”