Author - Brady Trantham

Big 3 dominate, Ferguson dazzles in 133-96 destruction of Lakers

The Oklahoma City Thunder (21-17) defeated the Los Angeles Lakers (11-26) 133-96. The Thunder gave an all-star performance in the city that will host the 2018 NBA All-Star game, most notably by their big three. It was the largest margin of victory for the Thunder all season.

Russell Westbrook, playing in his hometown, finished with 20 points on 10-of-17 shooting, six rebounds and 12 assists. Paul George, playing near his hometown scored 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Carmelo Anthony registered 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting.

It was a big game for a number of reasons. Oklahoma City was riding a two-game losing streak going back to the controversial ending against the Milwaukee Bucks. It was also the first time that George was playing in Los Angeles since being traded to the Thunder in July.

Needless to say, many people were intrigued about George’s arrival in Los Angeles.

“No, no regrets at all,” George said in regards to his handling of trade rumors while he was with the Indiana Pacers Tuesday at practice. “All that was said was that a destination I would love to go to. There wasn’t, you know, a ‘hey, gunpoint to the head, send me here.’”

Westbrook had a very Westbrook answer the same day when asked about if he was making a sales pitch all season to George.

“Win a championship, beat that pitch,” Westbrook told reporters.

The George-to-LA talk will continue but the Thunder did their part tonight.

After being down 10-0 early, Oklahoma City started catching fire with Anthony and never looked back. The big three combined for 65 points.

Andre Roberson missed his second game with an injury and Billy Donovan had rookie Terrance Ferguson start. That is where the fun began.

Ferguson exploded on to the scene and scored 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting (6-of-9 from three) and stole the show. Amazing dunks, crisp shooting and high energy gave Donovan and Thunder fans hope for the rookie’s future production as he dazzled the court.

While most of it came towards the end of the game, that didn’t stop the Thunder’s big three from enjoying the performance Ferguson had. Players were noticeably encouraged after each Ferguson dunk.

The Thunder’s starting five combined for 102 points — outscoring the Lakers entire team.

Anytime the Thunder’s three main players combine for shooting 60 percent, they are a tough team to handle. To tall a task for the young Lakers who were playing without second overall pick in this year’s NBA draft Lonzo Ball.

It was one of the more dominant performances of the season for Oklahoma City. December was kind to the Thunder which saw them go 12-5 after disappointing for much of the beginning of the year. Tonight’s win is exactly what they wanted going on their west coast road trip.

The Thunder look to keep up this momentum Thursday against the LA Clippers in Staples Center.

 

 

 

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Peake & Roll Podcast S2 E15: The NSFW Episode…NBA Screws OKC Again

Earmuffs kids! In the wake of the controversial loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Chuck and Brady talk about the Thunder of both past and present. What exactly is going on with Alex Abrines? NBA tanking, Chuck not knowing who Heisenberg is and Brady finding out his one true love is married. Much more!

0:29 — 3:23: Soft intro –
3:24 — Voicemails — You can call (405) 928-0823 to leave your voicemail
9:20 — Chuck is unaware we are recording
12:38 — Second Intro
13:19 — Shout out to (405)990 caller
14:29 — Milwaukee controversy
20:55 — ¿Lo que está mal con Alex Abrines?
26:04 — A trip down Thunder Memory Lane; Golden State on New Year’s Eve 2008 and Milwaukee opener on Oct. 29, 2008
37:36 — Brady finds out a terrible truth…
41:35 — Back on track! Milwaukee loss
49:46 — Chuck doesn’t know who Heisenberg is.
51:33 — OKC should beat Dallas with or without PG13/Andre Roberson & NBA tanking
60:54 — Chuck’s Thunder New Years Resolution
63:59 — Chuck’s new article

Our podcast is on SoundCloud or on iTunes. Give us a listen. We try to do one or two a week.

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OKC’s quest for improvement is both simple and difficult

Inconsistency has become the theme of the 2017-18 Oklahoma City Thunder.

By now the factors are well known. Paul George. Carmelo Anthony. New faces with different roles. The pieces that should flourish are flawed. The weaknesses that have surfaced have yet to be corrected to a satisfactory level.

Of course, we are only 30 percent into the season. There is ample time for a team led by the reigning MVP in Russell Westbrook to change this theme. The lowest expectation of optimism can be described as thus; at some point this team will realize it’s incredibly talented and start winning games.

While the Thunder have been inconsistent, strangely enough there are consistencies discovered when watching this team. The obvious strength lies with the defense. Oklahoma City has leaned on their length, athleticism and ability to out-physical most teams in order to win or stay in the majority of their games. Putting the defensive numbers in perspective paints a less optimistic picture.

While Oklahoma City’s defensive numbers for this particular season are impressive and elite, they are not special when looking at recent history, and even if they were, you are not winning a championship as a one-sided team in today’s NBA.

Currently, the Thunder rank second in defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) at 101.3 behind the Boston Celtics at 101. Over the last 10 seasons, the Celtics’ current rating would rank dead-last of the previous teams who led the NBA in defensive rating in their respective seasons. Also in the previous 10 seasons, only two teams — the 2007-08 Celtics and the 2014-15 Warriors — both led the league in defensive rating and also won an NBA championship in the same season.

This is going to make a strong playoff run, let alone a shot at a NBA Finals, difficult.

The Warriors are great due to their flexibility, versatility and balance on both sides of the floor. Previous champions have had similar adjectives attached to their résumés. What the Thunder have is a great foundation. Something to depend upon while they tinker with the on-the-court chemistry and offense as a whole. However, if they want to hover around .500, then they can be dependent that their defense will keep them in almost every game. That is not the goal.

So what needs to change?

That’s simple: The offense needs to not only improve but become substantially better. What can they possibly do?

The options have been floating around ever since Anthony chuckled at The Oklahoman’s Erik Horne and replied, “Who, me?” at a question insinuating that the former New York Knick might come off the bench at Thunder Media Day. Would Anthony as a sixth-man actually improve Oklahoma City. The numbers make a case, albeit not exactly a home run case.

Billy Donovan has played lineups consisting of Westbrook and George without Anthony a total of 857:32 minutes this season. The Thunder are plus-5.1 points better when this happens. This fuels the thought that Oklahoma City and general manager Sam Presti were better served with only taking George in the offseason and forsaking a shot at Anthony.

Especially when you compare lineups of Westbrook and Anthony (only plus-1.4 better) and Anthony and George (pus-3.5). The Thunder are better without Anthony on the floor according to some numbers.

That thought process is flawed. Are the Thunder better with only Westbrook and George on the floor? Yes, but not by a wide enough margin to make serious improvements.

Anthony coming off the bench would not be the cure all Oklahoma City fans are looking for. You would then be asking Alex Abrines to improve his defense on the fly or take away Jerami Grant’s spark plug factor away from the reserve role that has become a positive for this team.

Trading away Anthony — when it is undetermined if you could get some quality assets in return to help this season — is not the answer either. If the Thunder are going to prevail from their dynamite summer, they have to work to win for this season first.

The true answer has always been the same. Get better. Both simple and difficult.

Little things like moving off the ball — something Westbrook and Anthony struggle with — to force the defense into mismatches. Feeding the hot hand — Anthony was on fire in Philadelphia before the Thunder let an 11-point lead with five minutes to go turn into a triple-overtime thriller; Anthony only took four more shots the rest of the game.

The difficult task is going to be the big three actually making it all happen.

If Oklahoma City is going to realize it’s potential, Anthony must remain in the starting lineup. A bench unit with Anthony leading the way would not fix the problem but continue its symptoms.

One time for those not paying attention. Oklahoma City has time to right the ship. They are winners of seven of their last ten outings and appear to be close to breaking through the .500 hurdle. They sit at the seventh seed in the West and are only two games back in the loss column to the Minnesota Timberwolves and the fourth seed.

This team has the talent to go on a tear. 7-3 in your last 10 games is difficult to navigate in the NBA. All it will take is another great 10 game stretch and there will be a different attitude surrounding this team.

It is all up to Westbrook, Anthony and George.

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OKC drops another lead, game to NOLA 114-107

It was another day at the office for the Oklahoma City Thunder (7-9). Sadly that is not an endorsement for great play recently.

After an early 19-point lead, Oklahoma City fell back down to earth as the New Orleans Pelicans (9-8) fought back and eventually overcame the struggling Thunder 114-107. Oklahoma City surrendered 58 points in the paint. All this with Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins ejected from the game at the five-minute mark in the third quarter for elbowing Russell Westbrook in the head.

So much of it started with the ejection of DeMarcus Cousins. With five minutes left in the third quarter, Cousins raised his elbows near Westbrook’s face after grabbing a rebound, and the Thunder guard dropped to the floor holding his head. Officials reviewed the film and decided a flagrant-2 was the right call.

At the time, the Thunder held a comfortable 76-72 lead. However, once Cousins went to the locker room, the Pelicans went to work. New Orleans turned on a 12-5 run to take a 83-81 lead with 2:12 left in the quarter.

The Pelicans were in complete control after that.

“It’s the same story line,” Carmelo Anthony said. “We go up 20 and teams work it down. We can’t allow that.”

One again, the Thunder start strong and struggle after they balloon their lead to double-digits. The Thunder began the night 4-of-5 from beyond the arc and shot 7-of-30 the rest of the contest.

“It’s different things,” Billy Donovan said. “The constant is the lead’s evaporating, but its not the same thing. Tonight there were too many fouls, sometimes it’s shot selection or turnovers.”

New Orleans attempted 36 free throws to Oklahoma City’s 26.

Westbrook had his fifth triple-double of the season with 22 points, 12 assists and 16 rebounds. His 31 percent from the floor was a glaring flaw on an otherwise solid outing for the reigning MVP. Paul George continued his stellar defensive play with five steals, four in the first half, and added 20 points.

Carmelo Anthony struggled throughout most of the middle of the game but finished with 19 points on 19 shots.

For Oklahoma City, the “it is still to early to panic” time frame is running out. With this loss, the Thunder are 16 games into an 82 game season, 20 percent of the way done. If Oklahoma City is going to seriously contend for a playoff run, the wins need to start happening in bunches sooner rather than later.

On the flip side of it all, Anthony Davis ate the Thunder after the ejection. Davis went 8-of-8 at the line, scoring 16 points over the last 17 minutes. For the game, Davis finished with 36 points and 15 rebounds.

“There’s a few [coincidences in losses],” Westbrook said.  “Teams get confidence. On the road you can’t do that.”

Andre Roberson was negative-10 on the court in only four minutes. Westbrook went 1-of-8 during that stretch. The Big Three were more like the little three trouble. Oklahoma City’s trio went 4-of-16 from the floor, turning it over six times, including 4-of-12 from three.

All was not terrible for the Thunder. Jerami Grant continues his improved play off the bench, scoring 10 points  on 4-of-7 shooting. Steven Adams was a factor early on and in the fourth with 15 points and nine rebounds.

Despite some nice numbers sprinkled amongst the box score, the Thunder continue to play amazing basketball in spurts with disorganized stretches haunting the team the rest of the game. It has now become a trend, a trend the Thunder want nothing to do with.

Oklahoma City saw their lead in the first quarter balloon to 25-6 when Alex Abrines nailed a three-pointer. New Orleans responded with a 28-9 run of their own to take their first lead at 38-37 with 8:39 remaining until halftime.

The Thunder led 65-57 at halftime.

Oklahoma City will have to regroup quickly. The Golden State Warriors make their way to the Chesapeake Arena Wednesday and the Thunder will have to fix a lot of problems if they are going to compete with the world champs.

Oklahoma City now is 0-8 in games decided by seven points or less. It’s the sixth time out of nine losses the Thunder have blown a double-digit lead in a loss.

“You can talk,” Westbrook said. “Talking don’t do anything at this point. You got to go out and play. You can talk as much as you want to, but guys got to take personal pride and understand how important it is to go out and compete and not take it for granted.”

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Paul George’s off-night reveals a Thunder strength

Paul George leaned against the wall at the Oklahoma City Thunder Integris Development Center on Tuesday. His eyes were facing the floor when the Thunder communications staff waved him over to the media scrum. He knew the topic of discussion that was to come.

George’s old team, the Indiana Pacers, were coming to town. Much like his teammate Carmelo Anthony on opening night with the New York Knicks, Wednesday night had the makings to be as big of a game for George.

“We talked about it in the preseason,” Anthony said on Tuesday regarding playing their former teams early in the year. “I think it’s a little easier to play on your court first before going there. I’m pretty sure he is excited.”

Sadly for George, Wednesday night can be categorized as a bad day at the office for him. After picking up two quick fouls in the first quarter, the former Pacer never got going and the game quickly got away from him. His night ended midway through the fourth quarter when he picked up his sixth foul.

I think that’s why we all committed to this journey, committed to this team, because of nights like this. -Carmelo Anthony

A night that was supposed to be about George’s next chapter became a perfect example of why this team has the potential to be great.

Paul George, a four-time All-Star, registered 10 points on 4-of-8 in just over 19 minutes of game time. He was unable to play more minutes than Andre Roberson, Jerami Grant or Josh Huestis.

“I was actually more impressed with him (George) tonight,” Coach Billy Donovan said in the postgame. “He kept his composure and played the right way. Clearly tonight, there were some tough calls that put him in foul trouble early, but he’s a team guy and he kept his composure.”

While George was indeed level-headed despite some questionable calls throughout the evening, his teammates picked up the slack for him. Something that hasn’t happened much in his career.

Russell Westbrook was sensational with 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting to go along with 16 assists and 10 rebounds — his second triple-double of the season and the 81st of his career. Steven Adams feasted in the paint with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Anthony had a double-double himself with 28 points and 10 boards.

“Russ and Melo did an unbelievable job to carry me and carry the team,” George said after the game. “It’s great to have two guys that when nights aren’t going for me, they are there for me.”

With someone as talented as George off rhythm all night, the Thunder were still able to secure an 18-point victory. That is an advantage this team realizes it has at its disposal — next man up.

“I think that’s why we all committed to this journey, committed to this team, because of nights like this,” Anthony said. “Even though one of our big pieces didn’t have a great game tonight, there were other guys that were able to step up. We didn’t have to rely on him as much as we might have on any other night.

That’s the beauty of us coming together, on any given night, we’re all going to have bad nights but we know the others can step up.”

When you add the talents of players like George and Anthony to a team with Westbrook and Adams on it, this is certainly a luxury the Thunder have over many teams in the NBA. Oklahoma City certainly did not have it last season. Especially not George himself.

I closed that chapter when I became a Thunder. -Paul George

In his last two seasons with the Pacers, George scored 10 points or fewer eight times. In those eight games, his Pacers won three and lost five with the average margin of victory for the opponent resting at just over 22 points.

“Yeah that hadn’t happened often in my career,” George said when asked about what it felt like to have an off night individually but his team still wins. “Fortunate to have those guys carry knowing how big this game was for me.”

There will be nights when Westbrook is off. There will be nights when Anthony’s shot refuses to fall. For the Thunder, they now have an example to reference in the future when one of their stars is having an off-night.

As for entering that next chapter with a big individual game and a win against his former team, George was not discouraged by his poor individual play.

“I closed that chapter when I became a Thunder,” George said.

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Injury update 10-5-17

Head coach Billy Donovan revealed today that Russell Westbrook did go through his first full practice of training camp, while Patrick Patterson went through scripted non-contact drills.

Alex Abrines did not practice and will not play Friday night against the New Orleans Pelicans along with Patterson.

Donovan said that Westbrook will be “reassessed” tomorrow to determine whether or not he will make his preseason debut. He also said that if he is able to go, he may be on a slight minutes restriction.

“There’s a possibility he could (play),” Donovan said. “There’s a chance he couldn’t. I think a lot’s gonna depend on, if he does go, how many minutes he would be able to play. Or it may be a situation where he says ‘I maybe need a little bit more rest.'”

Westbrook has been limited in preseason training camp in the wake of his platelet rich plasma injection procedure he had prior to camp. Patterson and Abrines are still recovering from minor injuries that don’t seem to concern the team for their status going forward.

“Russ is a guy that he can take two months off he can come back and play well,” Carmelo Anthony said today at practice.

If Westbrook is unable to play, Raymond Felton will get his second start at point guard in the preseason. Felton, a 14-year NBA veteran, started 11 games in the 2016-17 season for the LA Clippers.

He got the start on Tuesday against the Houston Rockets and recorded nine points and three assists in 18:29 minutes of play.

Patterson’s injury stems from arthroscopic knee surgery he had in August while Abrines’ left knee strain from international play continues to keep him from full practice.

“It difficult to put a time frame on anyone,” Donovan said last week on Patterson and Abrines’ status . “But it’s not something we think is long term.”

Reserves Jerami Grant, Semaj Christon and Terrance Ferguson will likely get more minutes for the rest of preseason.

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Injury update 10-2-17

Head coach Billy Donovan announced today that Russell Westbrook, Patrick Patterson and Alex Abrines will not play in tomorrow’s initial preseason game against the Houston Rockets in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Raymond Felton will get the nod as the starting point guard tomorrow night.

Westbrook has been limited in preseason training camp in the wake of his platelet rich plasma injection procedure he had prior to camp. Patterson and Abrines are still recovering from minor injuries that don’t seem to concern the team for their status going forward.

“Today was the first day he (Westbrook) did contact which was good,” Donovan said. “There were no ill effects from anything.”

Patterson’s injury stems from arthroscopic knee surgery he had in August while Abrines’ left knee strain from international play continues to keep him from full practice.

“It difficult to put a time frame on anyone,” Donovan said on Patterson and Abrines’ status. “But it’s not something we think is long term.”

Felton, a 14-year NBA veteran, started 11 games in the 2016-17 season for the LA Clippers. He has been running with the first unit in Westbrook’s absence.

“Just because we got three All-Stars on this team, we still can’t back down,” Felton said when asked about how he his experience with the first unit has gone so far. “We have to continue to push them.”

Felton also has experience with teammate Carmelo Anthony, having played in New York together for two seasons.

“We got a lot of history with each other,” Felton said. “Just to get that bond back, to be on the same team and go battle together is going to be fun.”

Reserves Jerami Grant, Semaj Christon and Nick Collison will likely get more minutes for the rest of preseason.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for practice updates, highlights and much, much more!

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Thunder reactions of Westbrook extension

Russell Westbrook‘s signature on his NBA-record $205 million dollar contract extension sent shockwaves across the league. The 28-year old reigning MVP essentially will play what many believe will be the prime of his career with the franchise who drafted him in Oklahoma City.

It says a lot about his commitment here and when the time comes it will be easier to make my decision. -Paul George on how Westbrook affects his future

Fellow NBA greats like LeBron James sent their well-wishes to Westbrook through social media.

Nothing hit closer to home than with Westbrook’s own teammates.

I think everybody should be happy. For the future he is the cornerstone of this organization. -Carmelo Anthony on Russell Westbrook’s extension

While the extension is exciting for Thunder fans and allows the organization to breathe a sigh of relief, the ripple effects from Westbrook’s signature could have something to say about keeping the current big three intact.

Paul George has only been Westbrook’s partner for almost three months and he spoke after practice on Saturday how the point guard’s commitment to Oklahoma City will affect his own future.

“Absolutely,” George said when asked if Westbrook’s extension would be a factor in his future with the Thunder. “It says a lot about his commitment here and when the time comes it will be easier to make my decision.”

Surprisingly, George admitted he found out about the news on NBA TV.

Carmelo Anthony was extremely candid during his reaction to the extension.

“I was happy,” Anthony said. “I think everybody should be happy. For the future he is the cornerstone of this organization.”

Anthony has had plenty of experience with the business side of the league. His time in New York was littered with contractual language and headlines. His response to how players taking care of the business aspect of basketball and reliving the pressure that comes with it was enlightening.

“That burden is off,” Anthony said. “Although we try not to think about it, we think about it. It’s something that we have to keep in the back of our minds, our future. I’m pretty sure he is happy to focus only on basketball.”

“Also, not have to answer the questions,” Anthony said with a smile. “He won’t have to answer those questions anymore.”

Westbrook is expected to be available Sunday prior to the Blue/White scrimmage for the first time since the signing. He continues to be held out of practice due to the PRP injection he received late in the offseason although Billy Donovan said as of Saturday he began to do non-contact drills.

He is not expected to participate in the scrimmage.

Here is the video excerpt of the question I asked to Anthony.

 

 

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How Carmelo Anthony’s passing helps OKC

After a few days in Oklahoma City, the role of Carmelo Anthony is already a topic of discussion.

Of course, the 2017-18 Thunder is the best team that Anthony has played with on paper. Playing alongside Paul George and Russell Westbrook will allow opportunities for each to thrive and show the best of their capabilities.

I do think he has very, very good vision. And I think he put that on display with Team USA at points in time.

-Billy Donovan on Anthony’s passing.

The specter of “there aren’t enough basketballs to go around” continues to loom large over the organization. How can three ball-dominant players co-exist in a way that the Thunder can achieve their full potential?

Some of these questions were going to be there even if the Anthony trade did not occur. With a shorter preseason and less time to gel with his teammates, detractors of Anthony’s game — or what they think Anthony’s game is — will prosper until actual basketball begins.

Everyone knows about the scoring Anthony will provide. His 24.8 points per game over his career speaks for itself. Thunder GM Sam Presti highlighted an underrated facet of his game — his passing.

Even head coach Billy Donovan raved about his passing ability at Thunder Media Day.

“Carmelo, even the last two years playing against the Knicks, watching film, he’s really a smart player,” Donovan said. “He knows how to play. I think he’s got a good feel of how to play. I do think he sees the floor.”

Westbrook is a proven passer. George has shown the ability to play off the ball and within an offense. Anthony’s passing can be an advantage for Oklahoma City if Donovan allows the offense to flow through him similar to Enes Kanter with the second unit.

With a few weeks until the regular season starts let us imagine how Anthony’s passing can benefit the Thunder, broken down by player or position.

Steven Adams/Center Position

Right off the bat, Anthony demands so much attention with the ball in his hands. With the athleticism and talent on this roster, Oklahoma City will have plenty of opportunities for fast breaks.

Steven Adams is a player often mentioned as one who will benefit the most with more spacing on the floor. Anthony’s ability as a passer can flourish with an athletic big like Adams running the floor after steals or up-tempo possessions.

Adams has the ability to do damage off of high pick and roll. On possessions where Anthony finds himself with the ball and Adams begins to screen the high defender, the New Zealander will have clear lanes to the rim.

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Last season around the 15th game mark, opponents had scouted the Thunder and took away Adams’ lob opportunities from Westbrook, as well as crowded the paint effectively taking Adams out of the game.

The factor of Adams being schemed out of games is less likely given the talent increase. The lane will be open for Adams to feast down low.

Another huge facet of Anthony’s game is his willingness to get physical on the block. With his size, he has the ability to bully smaller fours and threes with ease. This attention from the defense allows the backside to be wide open under the rim.

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Perimeter Shooters

“Floor spacing” will be a phrase you will hear countless times this season. The transition from last year’s Thunder squad to this year’s is incredible.

With this roster having a nice balance between defenders and scorers, the fast break off of turnover possessions will be plentiful.

The attention that Anthony garners from defenders in desperate attempts to get back on defense allows shooters to find lonely spots in the corner. Anthony’s vision is impressive when he has capable shooters at his disposal.

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“I do think he has very, very good vision,” Donovan said. “And I think he put that on display with Team USA at points in time.”

His vision is really impressive when you see examples of him passing across the three point area once the defense collapses onto him.

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Alex Abrines, George and others will have open opportunities once Anthony drives towards the hoop.

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Russell Westbrook

This is where the fun begins. Considering both player are high-usage rate/iso-centric players, there are some who are hesitant to call the basketball marriage between Anthony and Westbrook an immediate success.

But there is too much talent and too lofty of goals for these great players to not figure it out. Once the reigning MVP and Anthony can learn how to play with one another effectively, the highlights will come.

When you have such talented offensive players that demand so much attention, they are generating good shots for other people.

-Donovan on Anthony’s passing

Typically, Westbrook enjoys dumping the ball off to another player and remaining at the top of the three point line. This was the case when Kanter and Westbrook shared the floor. Expect some half-court possessions with Westbrook dumping it off to Anthony on the block to happen.

Once Anthony asserts himself on the block and influences the defense towards him, Westbrook will have a lane to the basket.

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“When you have such talented offensive players that demand so much attention, they are generating good shots for other people,” Donovan said after practice. “The ball is moving well right now and we need to keep that going.”

Simply put, Oklahoma City will have a plethora of opportunities to not only bring out the best in their new Big Three, but also showcase the talents of their role players.

Guys like Adams, Abrines, Jerami Grant — who showed he is more than capable and willing to shoot the long ball — and Patrick Patterson can thrive on a team with multiple stars.

If Oklahoma City is going to have success deep in the postseason, Anthony’s passing in harmony with the rest of his team can have a lot to say about it.

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Dwyane Wade close to deal with Cavs

Former All-Star shooting guard and free agent Dwyane Wade is close to coming to a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The free agent signing that will reunite both Wade and LeBron James is expected to be finalized Wednesday according to ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski.

This comes as news to Oklahoma City Thunder fans who had thoughts of Wade coming off the bench to supplement the trio of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George dancing in their heads.

Earlier in the week, Wojnarowski reported that Oklahoma City was making an “aggressive bid” for Wade’s services. Even going as far to share that both Wade and George spent a considerable amount of time together working out over the summer.

At Thunder Media Day, Anthony let it known what his thoughts on the potential signing of his long-time close friend Wade.

“Come on D,” Anthony said with a smile. “You know where ya wanna be.”

Sam Presti even hinted during his brief media availability that Wade was a long shot to come to Oklahoma City.

“Often times, players know where they are going beforehand,” Presti explained. “That is the nature of the league today.”

It appears that the ability to start with Cleveland rather than come off the bench with the Thunder as well as the relationship between Wade and James won out in the end.

While it is unclear what the Thunder would do if Wade were to sign with Oklahoma City, it is fair to assume a sixth-man role would be the likely outcome. Andre Roberson would retain his starter status in order to be more effective in his role.

Losing out on Wade is no surprise. It was always going to be a long shot despite what his relationships with Anthony or George are. At age 35, Wade’s prime is in the rearview mirror but he can still contribute and be a valuable piece to a championship contender. His role will likely be larger in Cleveland than in Oklahoma City.

Despite having a starting five that includes three All-Stars, Oklahoma City still has areas of their roster that can be improved via player movements. Presti’s aggressiveness over the summer suggests that he will continue to improve this roster in order to compete against the top teams in the league.

 

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