Tag - Taj Gibson

L2M Report: officials missed five calls

The Oklahoma City Thunder lost on a buzzer beater to the Minnesota Timberwolves 115-113 on Sunday night. However, according to the league’s Last Two Minute report, that would’ve never happened if everything was called correctly.

All-in-all there were five missed calls in the final two minutes. Let’s rehash them:

First missed

Taj Gibson collides with Raymond Felton on a three-point attempt. It’s quite obvious as he tackles him to the ground.

It would’ve been three shots for Felton, which he probably would have made. However, Steven Adams scored the and-one bucket. So, the points here were really no difference than if Felton had made all three free throws.

Second missed

Steven Adams was in the paint a little too long and should’ve been called for a three-second call. So, here’s the deal on this as you can see:

His foot is in the paint. He probably misjudged where he was on the court. There was no advantage gained here. Oklahoma City missed a three on the possession. No harm on this one.

Third missed

This one goes against Oklahoma City and Felton. It’s an obvious miss by the officials. Wiggins should’ve been shooting a free throw attempt after his putback. Felton grabbed his arm and tried to prevent him from grabbing the rebound to no avails.

Fourth missed

This is where we start to get into the more obvious fouls. coach Tom Thibodeau called for a timeout but as the report says, the officials were not in place to see him call for it. He should’ve been called for a technical foul, which would’ve given Oklahoma City the ball and a free throw.

You can tell he’s calling for the timeout but the official is paying him no mind. The Peake is loud and I’m sure that official cannot hear him. I can tell you many times I’ve been in basketball arenas and barely been able to hear my own whistle.

Fifth missed

Karl Anthony-Towns screen is legal. Let’s throw that one out the books. He’s set. However, he’s no longer set when Paul George tries to go around him and he makes contact with KAT’s leg. That leg has to be extended. That leg is not apart of the screen in this instance. That’s where the illegal screen is missed.

 

So — what happens now?

The NBA uses these videos to get better. I know, you’re saying hell no. It’s true. All officials — for now — are human. They are going to make mistakes and will make some really good calls. Due to TV and all of the instant replay, they’re under a huge microscope.

They often go over this video see where they can improve. They’ll make the improvements. If they don’t, the NBA brings is new officials every season.

Why does the NBA do this?

This is all about transparency. As a fan, you’re upset again at the fact the call was missed. If Oklahoma City is a 2 or 3-seed because of this by a single game, you’re all going to look back and throw your hands in the air. However, it’s a thought for you to consider: would you rather the NBA stay silent about mistakes or admit them as they do with the L2M report? I’m pro-transparency.

All-in-all, the Thunder played great in the fourth quarter and as it may seem these errors did not cause the Thunder the game. There were more than enough issues throughout the game causing Oklahoma City this loss. They’ll get better, as will the officials. Until then, yell at us on Twitter or Facebook over this.

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I can feel it coming in the air

 

I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord

And I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord

Can you feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord, oh Lord” – Phil Collins (In The Air Tonight)

There is an energy in the air that was missing this time last year, and I can feel it 10,516 miles away, and I love it.

12 months ago the Thunder at this point of the season was preparing for an uphill battle without one of its longtime soldiers. That is irrelevant now, as we’re embarking on a new adventure. We have new soldiers to go to war with, and you bet your tail we’re going to fight, and with our leader, you’re going to need to kill him to stop him, and he has only one target in his sight.

Sam Presti restocked the weapon’s vault with some heavy artillery adding Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and Patrick Patterson. Last year was a one-man wrecking crew that won 47 games and a first-round exit in the playoffs. Every position Oklahoma City needed to fix they did, and now Russell Westbrook is not a one-man wrecking crew now he’s the leader of a three-headed beast.

The Thunder is not just a team with three all-stars it has some solid support to go along with there All-Stars.

Steven Adams looks to be back to his best after last season were he averaged 11 points on 57 percent shooting on an average of 8.2 shots a game with 7.7 rebounds per game. Adams took a back seat to the greatness of Westbrook last season but if you watched any of the Thunders preseason games, this preseason Adams looks to be a solid piece of the puzzle on offense and defense that seems to fit quite well with the top tier talent.

Andre Roberson is going to be an integral part of this puzzle. Roberson’s elite perimeter defending is going to be essential to this teams success. It is vital that he can develop something on offense to make him more than just a defensive ace and command respect on the offensive side of the ball from the opposition to help his teammates and not be a liability that the opposition can sag off and double team someone else.

Roberson was terrible on offense especially from behind the arc and free throw, scoring 24 percent from behind the arc and 42 percent from the free throw line. Westbrook is going to be crucial to Roberson’s development on offense Roberson could become a cutting to the basket option if Andre and Russell can build a connection in training with Westbrook’s passing ability it might just come down to Roberson’s work ethic and commitment to evolving his offensive skills.

Patterson has had a slow start to the season with after he underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee earlier in the preseason and hadn’t had an opportunity to play any minutes this preseason. When Patterson becomes available, he might just be the best addition to this team as crazy as that might seem as Presti just brought in two perennial All-Stars. Patterson shot 40 percent from the field. His 37 percent perimeter efficiency was above the league average with the Toronto Raptors. Patterson will give the Thunder consistent perimeter scoring and solid clutch time defense. Where his real value lies is in his versatility on offense with his mid-range game and around the rim.

Alex Abrines could be the most significant winner of the additions of Anthony and George. With Westbrook, Anthony and George receiving all of the defensive attention Abrines will see a considerable increase in open shots this season. After being a 38 percent shooter from three averaging three shots a game last season and 39 percent from the floor shooting on an average of five shots a game, Abrines could see them both rise into the 40 percent range with all the open shots he will get.

Jerami Grant, Terrence Ferguson, and Josh Huestis are going to be exciting young talent to watch this season. Ferguson has the highest ceiling to be a potential star. Grant and Huestis have the work ethic to be good contributors to this teams success.

Coach Billy Donovan is entering his most important season of his professional career after having a successful collegiate coaching career winning two NCAA championships with Florida. Getting everyone on this roster to buy in is essential to this team reaching any form of success. If even one player does not buy into the all in mentality the franchise has set with its offseason moves taking a risk on George and Anthony who could decide to leave at the end of this season they will find themselves out in the first round again.

Donovan needs Westbrook to be the one to display that all in mentality. After averaging 31.6 points averaging 24.0 shots a game on 42 percent shooting with 10.4 assists and 10.7 rebounds per game with a usage percentage of 41 percent that cant happen this year with George and Anthony on his team Westbrook cant have the ball in his hands 41 percent of the the time. Westbrook has shown his all in off the court signing his extension that keeps him in Oklahoma for six years now he has to prove it on the court.

This is an exciting time to be an Oklahoma City Thunder fan, and you can feel that excitement permeating in the air. This is the beginning of something great. There is going to be peaks and valleys throughout this season but you shouldn’t waiver in your belief in this team there is going to be growing pains but come playoff time this team will be raring to go strap yourselves in this is going to be a hell of a ride.

Thunder Up.

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The Curse of 3

Doug McDermott joins the unfortunate list of Thunder players who’ve changed their number to No. 3. It’s a long list and the list isn’t good.

It’s the same number he wore his rookie year in Chicago, before changing to No. 11 last season. That number is taken by Enes Kanter.

McDermott who was No. 25 last season took over No. 3 while many Thunder fans, who still own real estate on Waiters Island, thought the number would be retired forever. There were other players who never panned out or were just down right frustrating in a Thunder uniform.

McDermott, 25, averaged 9.0 points on 37 percent from three last season. His minutes dwindled and the frustrated mounted for him. However, he is still considered a key piece in the Thunder’s rotation going forward. Oklahoma City has the former Creighton star signed through this season.

Let’s take a look on how those who wore No. 3 did for the Thunder:

DJ White

White spent three seasons in Oklahoma City, amounting to a grand total of 186 points in 451 minutes. He appeared in only 19 games his first two seasons, mainly due to injuries. So, he’s essentially an after thought. Fun trivia question answer for you: Oklahoma City had three players drafted in the 2008 NBA Draft. Two of the players were Serge Ibaka (No. 24) and Russell Westbrook (No. 4), who was the third? DJ White (No. 29).

Nate Robinson

On the same day DJ White was traded to Charlotte for Nazr Mohammed, Nate Robinson was acquired with Kendrick Perkins in the Thunder famous trade that changed the face of the organization.

Robinson only appeared in four games in the regular season and his stats were abysmal. Fans chanted his name but his production did not meet the demand. Following the 2010-11 season, Robinson was essentially told not to show up to training camp and the Thunder would be releasing him. They eventually did and his legacy would be over in a Thunder uniform.

When Robinson was released he signed with the Warriors a month later.

Perry Jones

The number would remain idle until Perry Jones decided he would desecrate the number by changing from No. 8 to No. 3 in 2013. In his two seasons while wearing No. 3, Jones put up some of his best numbers in his career. That’s not very hard as his only three seasons in the NBA were with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

In two of his three seasons, including one of the years wearing No. 3, Jones was picked as the worst Thunder player. He also was voted the third and sixth worst Thunder player of all-time.

Jones was traded in July of 2015 and was waived by the Celtics before even playing a minute.

Dion Waiters

Waiters spent a little over a season in Bricktown. During his time, he shed his selfish demeanor and became a true teammate. He’s shown that in Miami. Most Thunder fans love the guy. When Waiters changed from No. 23 to No. 3, the transformation was essentially complete.

He was efficient. He was consistent. Most of all, he was an all around good teammate for the Thunder. He was vital in their playoff run to the Western Conference Finals. His games against the Spurs go down as some of the best in Thunder history.

It is a shame the Thunder and Waiters had a falling out, as Waiters accused the Thunder of toying with him with the Durant signing. Despite his bad words about the Thunder, most agree and still have property on Waiters Island.

Domantas Sabonis

The Sabonis prodigy never really formed for the Thunder. The son of Arvidas Sabonis, the former Portland Trail Blazers never really could find his confidence as the season went along. He shot the three well but towards the end of the first part of the year, the Thunder knew they had issues. They made the move to rent Taj Gibson and the writing was on the wall for Sabonis.

Sabonis was acquired on draft night with Victor Oladipo from the Orlando Magic for the rights to Serge Ibaka. Oklahoma City’s rebuilding process began with this trade. At the time they didn’t know it but it had began.

The Thunder traded Sabonis and Victor Oladipo for Paul George, another rental in June. So, his time with the Thunder was short lived, despite being a lottery selection.

History shows No. 3 is not a lucky number. Only Waiters had a good season while wearing the number and the odds of McDermott, who’s coming off a subpar seasons since being traded is against him. He’ll need to show he’s worth the minutes he wants. He’ll have to fight across the curse of three.

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Top 5 non-KD interesting games

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s schedule is out and boy are there a lot of games. The Thunder play games in three countries. They have odd time games (1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m., etc.). They’ll also play on national television a whopping 37 times, including NBATV.

Here are five games you’ll want to catch this season:

Nov. 24 vs. Detroit Pistons

It’s weird. Reggie Jackson ans Russell Westbrook haven’t played each other. Despite all of the trash talking and all of the tears of joy, the two have yet to do battle on the court. Jackson was hurt or the Thunder rested players, so they’ve yet to go toe-to-toe.

There are typically two Westbrook’s that come out when he’s playing someone he geniunely doesn’t like; he either ethers you into non-exisistence or he turns into a fumbling baffoon. We don’t quite see the latter anymore but you never know.

I fully imagine that Westbrook is going to dunk all over Jackson if given the chance. I do think Jackson would run down the tunnel before given Westbrook the satisifaction of dunking on him.

Dec. 7 In Mexico City, against the Brooklyn Nets

While the Brooklyn Nets are essentially the worst team in the association, the Oklahoma City Thunder expanding their brand in the NBA’s Mexico games is an amazing idea. This game, not on national television, will be play in Mexico City and will be the third country Oklahoma City will play in this season.

Over their tenure, Oklahoma City will have played in six different countries.

Dec. 13 at Indiana Pacers

Paul George returns to Indianapolis for the first time in his career not in a Pacer uniform. For George, it’ll be bittersweet. He’ll probably be booed and cheered. The mixed emotions will be higher than a middle school dance.

For the Thunder, they’ll play Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis for the first time. I don’t know if the feelings the Pacers and George have will equal what Oladipo and Domas will be the same but the game will be interesting, none the less.

Jan. 10 at Minnesota T-Wolves

This is the last meeting between the two teams who will probably win the Northwest Division. The national showdown on ESPN will feature Jimmy Butler, Karl Anthony-Towns, and Andrew Wiggins. Also, Taj Gibson will return. Even in his short stint in Bricktown, he’s beloved throughout.

March 20 at Boston Celtics

While the Thunder will play the Celtics in Oklahoma City on Nov. 3, going to Boston in late March will have huge implications on the playoff race. Plus, going to Boston when they’re good can be magical.

The Celtics with everyone could be a special team and with the Thunder, if they glue, could lead this game into a really big game in late March. Plus, being on TNT will help.

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Thunder introduce Felton and Patterson

The Oklahoma City Thunder formally introduced Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson on Tuesday morning.

Patterson will wear no. 54 and Felton will wear no. 2. It will be only the second time in franchise history someone has worn no. 54. Chris Wilcox wore it in Oklahoma City’s first season. No. 2 has been popular, being won by three different players: Thabo Sefolosha, Caron Butler and Anthony Morrow.

Felton, 33, has played for six teams over his career. He was named to the 2005-06 NBA All-Rookie team. Felton recently played with the L.A. Clippers.

Felton is a veteran-savvy point guard who went to North Carolina. One major plus for Felton is he has remained healthy throughout his career. He has played in more than 65 games for 10 of his 12 seasons.

“Being a 12 year guy, the goal is to win a ring,” Felton said. “This organization has been one of the top teams for the last 10 years.”

Last season, Felton averaged 6.7 points in 21.7 minutes per game, providing a quality back up for Chris Paul. He shot 43 percent from the field but only 31.9 percent from three.

Last season, Patterson appeared in 65 games and started in eight of them for the Toronto Raptors. He averaged 6.8 points per game on 40 percent shooting to go along with 37 percent from deep. Rounding out his usual box score, he averaged 4.5 rebounds.

“Everyone is taking less money to win,” Patterson said. “Our goal is to win a championship here.”

A career 37 percent shooter from deep, the Thunder have in effect swapped Taj Gibson — who signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves — for Patterson, a player who can stretch the floor and demand defenders away from the paint.

The Oklahoma City Thunder will introduce Paul George tomorrow at 6 p.m. We’ll have your coverage live on our social media accounts, so make sure you’re following.

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OKC signs Patrick Patterson

The Oklahoma City Thunder have signed free agent forward Patrick Patterson to a three-year deal worth $16.4 million, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting. Oklahoma City used its full tax payer mid-level exception.

The deal includes a player option on the third year.

The Thunder finally got the stretch-power forward they have been searching for. This deal eliminates Oklahoma City from acquiring free agent Rudy Gay.

An alumnus of the University of Kentucky, Patterson has played for three teams over his seven year career. Recently, he played with the Toronto Raptors over the past three seasons.

A career 37 percent shooter from deep, the Thunder have in effect swapped Taj Gibson — who signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves — for Patterson, a player who can stretch the floor and demand defenders away from the paint.

Last season, Patterson appeared in 65 games and started in eight of them. He averaged 6.8 points per game on 40 percent shooting to go along with 37 percent from deep. Rounding out his usual box score, he averaged 4.5 rebounds.

Although there are some power forwards with surprising percentages from deep, Patterson’s resumé is more impressive considering over the last few seasons he has averaged about 3.5 attempts from three a game. Last season, he averaged just under four.

This is the biggest free agent Sam Presti has signed, per ESPN’s Royce Young.

It is unclear whether Patterson will start or come off the bench. Oklahoma City still has restricted free agent Andre Roberson to deal with, and the recent signing of Gordon Hayward to Boston opens up an interesting can of worms concerning Marcus Smart.

Fred Katz of the Norman Transcript reports his salary will start off at $5.19 million in year one.

The Thunder got their floor spacer to play along side stars Russell Westbrook and recently acquired Paul George.

 

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Thunder trade for Paul George

The Oklahoma City Thunder made a blockbuster trade on Friday night. The Thunder traded Victor Oladipo and Domas Sabonis to the Indiana Pacers for Paul George.

Oklahoma City’s odds to win the 2017-18 NBA title went from 60-1 to 40-1, according to the Westgate Las Vegas.

Paul George told the Pacers only a week or so ago he was not going to re-sign and wanted to be traded. Indiana obliged, sending the rental to Oklahoma City.

This is Sam Presti’s magical moves once again at work. While free agent-wise, Oklahoma City is not a premiere destination, the Thunder and Presti have been wizards in the ability to acquire quality players via trades.

The Thunder were last in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage last season (32.7). George shot 39.3 percent in 2016-17, which would’ve ranked first on OKC (minimum five attempts).

This signals a win now move by Presti, to Westbrook. This shows how much he’s working to keep Westbrook on a title contender.

George is a modern superstar and a quality two-way player who has been able to lockdown opponent’s best perimeter players. Westbrook now has a second option after being the only option all of last season.

George, 27, averaged a career high 23.7 points and 6.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game on 46 percent shooting.

This will be the first time George has been paired with a legitimate superstar. While he has always been the no. 1 option in Indiana, that pressure will be off him, hopefully for an improved offensive game.

For the Thunder, this is a big risk, big reward situation. George is obviously a 1-year rental. However, having him on a contending team may just sway the former Fresno State Bulldog to stay in Bricktown.

Oladipo never seemed to fit in the Thunder’s system. He was inconsistent and often disappeared when it was crunch time. The former no. 2 pick moves onto his third team in three years. Oladipo averaged 15.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and a career low 2.3 assists

Sabonis was thought to be the next starting power forward of the franchise. However, an absolutely dismal performance all season long, led to the benching when the Thunder acquired Taj Gibson. Sabonis was relegated to bench time and had a couple of DNPs. Sabonis averaged 5.9 points on 39.9 percent from the field and only 32.1 percent from three.

Oklahoma City could still be working and we might hear their name a few more times before the sun rises.

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Thunder announce Summer League Roster

The Oklahoma City Thunder announced on Friday afternoon their 2017 Orlando Pro Summer League roster. These .. players will fight for the name on the chest in Orlando this week.

Here are the rules and schedule for the upcoming Thunder Summer League. Games start July 1 and go through July 6 on Championship Day.

Here is this year’s roster:

As you can see there are some names that you recognize and a handful you do not. That’s nothing new. Summer league is often a time for players who are not in the association to show their stuff. The OPSL is the best case for that as it is open to media, team and league personnel only. Though, sponsored by Mountain Dew, it’s often a secluded venue that allows GMs and other executives to get a real look at the talent on the court.

One thing to truly remember, Summer league performances should never been taken seriously. Remember, Jeremy Lamb won the Summer League MVP in 2013 and see how that turned out?

Of course, when big name rookies appear, that helps, too. Here’s a look at the Thunder’s summer league roster:

Terrance Ferguson

Ferguson, 19, drafted 21st in this year’s draft. This will be his first real competition against NBA level talent.

Domas Sabonis

The Lithuanian did not play with the summer league team last year as he was playing with his Olympic team. However, he had his ups and downs this season. Sabonis started for a majority of the season before being benched for Taj Gibson.

Semaj Christon

Christon has been here before, numerous times, in fact. However, he finally made the roster last season and will try to compound on that momentum into another roster spot. Though, he statistically had the worst Thunder season last year.

Josh Huestis

An urban legend come to life. Huestis rarely makes appearances with the senior team but often starts on the Oklahoma City Blue. In his two years in the NBA, Huestis has made an appearance in seven games. He’s shooting 60 percent from three and his career per-36 numbers are off the charts. He averaged (per-36) 16.3 points per game last year.

Dakari Johnson

The big man out of Kentucky has never really worn the Thunder blue in his professional career, sans preseason games. However, Johnson will be a staple in the Thunder’s center position this summer. Last year for the Thunder, Johnson averaged 11.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.

Daniel Hamilton

Hamilton is a bit unknown. While he was drafted by the Thunder, he was immediately sent to the Blue. There was no acknowledging him as they drafted other players. He was only a second round buy. Last season for the Thunder in summer league, Hamilton averaged 5.8 points on abysmal shooting. However, for the Blue he was solid. He averaged 14.9 points per game on improved shooting.

Dylan Ennis

Undrafted out of Oregon, Ennis will play for the Thunder in Orlando and then hop on a jet to Las Vegas to play with the Golden State Warriors. He’ll get plenty of time to shine. At Oregon, Ennis averaged 10.9 points his senior year.

Brad Wanamaker

Though Wanamaker went to Pitt and so did Steven Adams, they were a year or so apart from their time in the Steel City. Wanamaker made the training camp squad of the Atlanta Hawks in 2011 but was cut shortly after because of the shorten preseason due to the lockout. He’s been playing in Europe since.

Markel Brown

A local fan favorite as Markel Brown played at Oklahoma State from 2010-2014. Brown was drafted in the second round, played two seasons for the Nets before being cut. Brown almost made the Cavs last season but was cut before the season started. He played in Russia last season.

Malcolm Hill

The Illinois alum lit twitter afire when it was reported Hill would be playing for the Thunder. The Fighting Illini guard went undrafted but showed a lot of promise this past season. He averaged 17.6 points per game his junior and senior years at Illinois. He could be a nice addition to the Blue.

Rashawn Thomas

Another local product signed to the summer league is Rashawn Thomas. He played at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi this last season. Out of Southeast High School in Oklahoma City, many feel Thomas could actually make the Thunder’s roster on the two-way agreement that’s allowed in the new CBA. He averaged almost 23 points per game at TAMCC. Only nine players averaged more than him this past season.

Shaquille Hines

Hines played at Rio Grande Valley for four years before going over seas to play in Sweden. The 6-7 forward is seeing his first ever NBA action, summer league or training camp wise.

Vince Hunter

This 24-year old has been on the cusp of making multiple NBA teams but hasn’t stuck around. He’s been in training camp with the Bulls and the Kings. The 6-9 forward was a G-League All-Star in 2016 then was in Russia last season.

Yannis Morin

The French big man has never played in the league, let alone been on a summer league squad. This is a weird selection for the Thunder other than they need to fill bodies. Will be interesting in what he can do. He’s 6-10 and only 205 lbs.

Marcus Paige

This name may sound familiar. Paige spent his college years in Chapel Hill playing for North Carolina. Last season, he was a member of the Salt Lake City Stars, a G-League affiliate of the Utah Jazz. He averaged over 12 points per game for SLC.

Marcus Thornton

After being drafted by the Boston Celtics in 2015, Thornton spent a year in the G-League before being released. He was in Italy last season playing for Consultinvest VL Pesaro. He shot over 34 percent from three while in Italy. He played his college ball at William & Mary.

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Thunder exercise Jerami Grant’s team option

On Saturday, the Oklahoma City Thunder decided to pick up Jerami Grant‘s team option, keeping him in Oklahoma City another year.

Had the Thunder declined Grant’s option, that would have allowed him to become a restricted free agent, signing with any team he desires, but leaving Oklahoma City with an opportunity to match.

Grant, 23, was acquired in exchange for Ersan Ilyasova in a trade early on in November with the Philadelphia 76ers. Grant is not the offensive wizard of Ilyasova but his length and defensive mind really set him apart from the ill-forgotten defense of Ilyasova.

With the uncertainty of Andre Roberson in the Thunder’s future, locking down Grant could be the Thunder’s next big move. Roberson is scheduled to be a restricted free agent on July 1. It’s understood that Oklahoma City will match almost any offer given to the defensive juggernaut.

In 78 games with Oklahoma City this year, Grant averaged 5.4 points, a career low, on 37.7 percent from three, a career high. Though his minutes were at an all-time low, as he’s not pulling minutes on a really bad 76ers team, he was efficiency offensively and was sound defensively. His free throw shooting could use some work.

Oklahoma City’s next task will be to sign Russell Westbrook to an extension in a week. Westbrook is the Thunder’s future. Without him, the Thunder might be forced to trade him and start over from scratch.

It is unclear what Grant’s role will be going forward. He lost minutes out in the second half of the season. His minutes went from 21.2 minutes to only 14.3 minutes per game after the All-Star break. Some of that could be due to the addition of Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott in a trade deadline acquisition.

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Player Grades: The Rotation

The Thunder had a relatively good season, getting the sixth seed despite facing a lack of confidence from NBA watchers before the season and dealing with injuries throughout the season.

“I think it was a really good season because when we started the season, nobody was really expecting us to even make the playoffs,” Enes Kanter said in his exit interview. “We just show the haters that we could do that. I think we did our job.”

Even though Oklahoma City did prove these “haters” wrong, the team still needs to see much more improvement to gain an NBA Championship while Russell Westbrook’s title window is still open.

Especially since the departure of their former MVP player Kevin Durant, the Thunder has had plenty of holes that it needs to fill.

The biggest issue the team faced was that it gave up its leads when Russell Westbrook went to the bench to rest. The plus-minus ratings with Westbrook on and off the court in the playoffs and throughout the regular season show that the team melted down without Westbrook.

While players in the Thunder’s rotation seem to have high potential, there were some elements of the game in which they severely lacked throughout the season such as with shooting, defense and the ability to create their own shots.

Here we grade and rank the Thunder’s rotation players of the 2016-17 season based on their minutes, stats and impacts on the team.

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