Andre Roberson is going to make money this offseason.
But how much.
Last week, Roberson finished his fourth season in Oklahoma City. He averaged 6.6 points on 47/25/42 splits. Although those numbers don’t seem impressive, he will make money because of stuff that doesn’t quite show up on the stat sheet.
Roberson is one of the best defenders in the NBA. He locked up Rockets’ guard James Harden throughout most of the first round of the NBA playoffs. Roberson is the annoying fly that won’t leave you alone at a family barbecue: he’s pesky, persistent and has a knack for disrupting opposing teams’ offensive schemes.
Roberson is going to have a good NBA career. He’s a good role player who can contribute to almost any team. But he says he wants to contribute to one team.
“Definitely want to be back,” Roberson said. “Definitely want to do anything to work it out. I love the team, love the organization and love what we’re all about, and I definitely want to stick around. So, I’m pretty sure we can work something out.”
But can OKC afford to keep Roberson. It depends on his asking price. His defensive worth is insurmountable in the league, but his offense is sometimes inexcusable in terms of the lack of production.
Roberson had the worst free-throw percentage in playoff history ever against Houston. For a shooting guard turned small forward in 2016-17, that isn’t ideal. When teammates kick it to him in the corner, Roberson sometimes turns the shot down, even if it’s wide open. His three-point stroke has improved in the playoffs the last two seasons, but in the regular season his performance from deep isn’t impressive.
Roberson will miss three-straight 3-pointers but come back and have two steals and a block at the other end. His defense ability often makes up for his offensive prowess, or lack thereof sometimes.
The Thunder own the final say. Roberson is a restricted free-agent, meaning the Thunder can match any other offer to Roberson should he sign with another team. Depending on the price, the Thunder may keep their defensive juggernaut or let him walk and have to worry about him on opposing scouting reports.
Whether the Thunder try to bring Roberson back, he needs to work on improving his offensive game. Even if he can make slight improvements, he will help whatever team he is on in October on possibly both sides of the floor.
Roberson wants to be back in Thunder blue next season. It depends on how much the franchise wants to commit to him money-wise if that’ll happen. Roberson, a first-team All-Defense candidate, is going through his first free-agency experience.
“Nervous, obviously, but enjoying every moment of it,” Roberson said. “My first rodeo, just trying to embrace it and keep moving on.”
In about two months, we will know whether Roberson will be back to lock down opposing players or if he will get his chance to contain Russell Westbrook.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!