Storm Clouds in Oklahoma
The Oklahoma City Thunder are a team prone to overreaction and rightfully so. The miracle worker known as Sam Presti worked his magic in huge ways this offseason trading for both Paul George and Carmelo Anthony in trades that many saw as one sided. Going the other way for George was young forward Domantas Sabonis and guard Victor Oladipo who underperformed in the shadow of Russel Westbrook's historic season. This move was praised unanimously as a huge win for the Thunder but was also criticized by few citing the "just one ball" argument. This argument was bolstered when they shipped Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2nd round pick to New York who convinced Anthony to waive his no trade clause to move on down to Oklahoma. Suddenly the "just one ball" argument has a little more traction. So far though, that hasn't been an issue. The big three in OKC are actually spreading the wealth relatively well. George averages 21.0 ppg, Russ, 20.1 and Melo, 20.6, thats pretty damn even. So one ball seems just fine but they still haven't been able to win against competitive teams, especially in close games. Their only wins coming against weaker eastern conference opponents in the Knicks, Pacers, Bucks and Bulls. So whats going wrong?
Something the Thunder are missing is depth, they're able to have a star on the court at all times in staggered minutes but its hard for them to be effective while they share the court with players the other team can ignore. I'm looking at you Roberson. Yes Andre shows up big on the defensive end and has helped the Thunder to the 2nd best defence in the league but on offence its almost like running with four guys. Roberson draws almost zero defence as teams have given him countless open looks completely unfazed. Another player brought in this off season who can lend a hand on defence and was also meant to spread the floor is Patrick Patterson. Pat has not shot the ball well and maybe that will correct itself as the season moves on but shooting 28% from the field isn't going to draw defenders like even an average shooter might. Outside of the big three, Steven Adams has been steady and Raymond Felton is doing Raymond Felton things but that's not going to be enough. Look for the Thunder to work things out as guys like Jerami Grant and Alex Abrines find their fit but this isn't a team I see deep in the playoffs. Who knows, maybe they'll surprise us, maybe they'll find their groove. I'd love to see a Thunder team who's figured it out. Until then this Big 3 isn't scaring anyone.