Archive for the ‘ OKC Thunder Blog ’ Category

Will Thunder keep Corey Brewer?

The Thunder face major decisions this summer. Their roster could shake up pretty dramatically, depending on what happens with Carmelo Anthony and Paul George. Looking beyond those players, here’s the Oklahoman with a glance at all that is Corey Brewer:

A breakneck pace on offense. Dribbling that tenses up the muscles. Corner 3-pointers galore. Welcome to the Corey Brewer Experience.

Was the acquisition of Brewer worth it for the Thunder, and worth enough to bring back the veteran swingman for another season?

“I think the pickup of Corey late gave us some added length and size on the wing, and he did a really good job for us,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said.

When the Thunder acquired Brewer on March 3, it was searching for a replacement for Andre Roberson. In the 12 days following Roberson’s season-ending knee injury on Jan. 27, Thunder general manager Sam Presti and the front office didn’t make a deal before the trade deadline. For many contending teams, the price of business at the deadline was too much. First-round picks were hoarded like water in a drought, only three changing hands in a three-month span from early November to the Feb. 8 deadline.

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Paul George undergoes medical procedures

Thunder forward Paul George, whose time with the team could end this offseason, went through more than one medical procedure recently. Here’s the Norman Transcript reporting:

In addition to the left knee scope Paul George underwent this week, the Thunder star also had some work done on his arm.

George had been dealing with bursitis in his right elbow. Doctors drained the bursa sac to treat it, the team told The Transcript.

George spent part of this past season referring to what he called “tightness” in his right forearm. He began making the complaints in December and spoke about the tightness most recently before the Thunder played in Miami during the second-to-last game of the regular season. He said at that time doctors had “not necessarily” given him a more specific diagnosis.

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Paul George undergoes knee surgery

OKC Thunder forward Paul George underwent a left knee scope today, the team says.

George will likely be out of action six to eight weeks before returning to normal offseason activities.

In 79 games (all starts) this past NBA season, George had averages of 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.04 steals in 36.6 minutes per game. A five-time NBA All-Star, George hit a career-best 244 three-point field goals during the 2017-18 season, and became one of just five players (Larry Bird, Hersey Hawkins, Michael Jordan and Stephen Curry the others) in the past 30 years to average 20+ points on better than 40.0 percent three-point shooting to go along with 2+ steals.

Alex Abrines undergoes surgery

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Alex Abrines has undergone surgery to fix a sports hernia. The procedure was performed by Dr. William Meyers of the Vincera Institute in Philadelphia, Pa.

In the 2017-18 NBA season, Abrines played in 75 games (eight starts) for the Thunder, averaging 4.7 points per outing while shooting .380 percent from three-point range (84-221 3FGs) to go along with 1.5 rebounds in 15.1 minutes.

Abrines will likely miss around six weeks before he returns to regular offseason activities.

Thunder will keep coach Billy Donovan

The Thunder have a huge upcoming summer. Both Paul George and Carmelo Anthony could stay or go. The team also needs to decide what’s best, and who makes a proper fit around Russell Westbrook. One thing they have already decided is, they do have the right coach for the job. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

Billy Donovan, who is 150-96 in three seasons as the Thunder’s head coach, will return for a fourth, Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti said Wednesday at his postseason news conference.

Presti’s hope is that Donovan, who’s faced significant roster turnover in his first two offseasons with OKC, will “be able to work with the same core of a team that has a baseline that we’ve established.”

In his hourlong meeting with the media, Presti said the organization is “disappointed” with the 2017-18 season, which ended with loss in six games to the Utah Jazz in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

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Now this is fun. Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio has a monster game Game 3 in his team’s win against the Thunder. Russell Westbrook struggled. And Westbrook was quite vocal that Game 4 will be a totally different story. Here’s the Deseret News with Rubio’s reaction to what Russ said:

So, when Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook ended Saturday’s press conference with his ballsy statement, Utah Jazz guard Ricky Rubio was certainly aware of the comments.

“He made some shots,” Westbrook said of Rubio. “Too comfortable, but I’ma shut that (expletive) off next game, though. Guarantee that.”

However, the Spanish floor general is focused on the team for Game 4, not any individual matchups with the reigning MVP. Tonight’s game is set for 8:30 p.m. on TNT.

“He makes a big deal,” Rubio said. “Of course, they lost Game 2 and Game 3, of course they’re going to come ready, not just him, we expect the whole team to come ready back and be physical, and we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing in the last couple games. We made adjustments and go for the game.”

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Last season, the Thunder was 33-9 when Westbrook posted a triple double and 13-25 when he didn’t. This season, the Thunder is 19-5 when Westbrook posts a triple double and 25-28 when he doesn’t.

So over two seasons, OKC is 52-14 when Westbrook posts a triple double and 38-53 when he doesn’t. Which is absurd, a team depending on a solitary player to produce at that kind of production level to be successful.

And that script certainly played out Tuesday night in Golden State’s 111-107 victory over the Thunder.

Westbrook didn’t have a triple double. Through no fault of his own. Westbrook had 44 points on 15-of-26 shooting, 16 rebounds and six assists.

The Oklahoman

It doesn’t take a long glance at the standings to know what’s on the line.

No, it’s not quite do-or-die, but it’s awful close.

The New Orleans Pelicans matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder is the most important game of the season to date, and if the past two months of jockeying felt urgent, Game 77 of the season might as well be Game 7 in the playoffs.

At 5 p.m. Sunday in the Smoothie King Center, the stakes are clear.

A win would not only leapfrog the eighth-placed Pelicans ahead of the Thunder in the standings, it would provide the added advantage of jumping a team who it holds a tiebreaker advantage against. Currently, New Orleans owns the tiebreaker against none of its peers in the Western Conference jumble.

The Advocate

Russell Westbrook has some big-name players alongside him in OKC this season, but he’s still been a one-man wrecking crew, and again flirting with a triple-double as a season average, after accomplishing that incredible task last season. For more on his 2017-18 campaign, here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

But even as Oklahoma City seeks to extend its six-game winning streak in Boston on Tuesday after an attention-grabbing triumph at Toronto on Sunday, Westbrook is a forgotten man in the MVP conversation. There’s talk about Anthony Davis and LeBron James and DeMar DeRozan and Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard belonging on the ballot with Harden. Those guys deserve a spot in the MVP discourse. All of them are having great seasons.

But so is Westbrook.

He could average a triple double again this season.

Yes, the seemingly unattainable height that he scaled last season is reachable once again. Only Oscar Robertson and Westbrook have ever averaged a triple double for a season, and no one has ever done it twice much less in back-to-back seasons.

But with less than a month left in the regular season, the possibility grows by the day.

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Thunder sign Corey Brewer

The OKC Thunder signed free agent guard/forward Corey Brewer today.

According to the Norman Transcript, it is a minimum-salary contract.

Brewer (6-9, 186) has appeared in 765 career games (291 starts) and registered career averages of 8.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.24 steals in 23.2 minutes with Minnesota, Dallas, Denver, Houston and most recently the Los Angeles Lakers. The 11-year NBA veteran holds the sixth-best steal-to-turnover ratio off the bench in NBA history (1.10) and ranks sixth among active players in steal percentage (2.68).

More from the Norman Transcript: “The Thunder have been on the lookout for a wing ever since starting shooting guard Andre Roberson suffered a season-ending knee injury Jan. 27. Brewer struggled to find playing time with the 27-34 Lakers, averaging 3.7 points while shooting 45 percent from the field and 18 percent from 3-point land in 12.9 minutes a game, but he fits the body type and style Oklahoma City values. ”

The 2011 NBA Champion was originally drafted 7th overall by Minnesota in the 2007 NBA Draft and this season has appeared in 54 games (two starts) with the Lakers, averaging 3.7 points and 1.7 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per game.

In three years at the University of Florida, Brewer helped guide the Gators to two National Championships (2006 and 2007), appearing in 108 games (106 starts) and averaging 11.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.63 steals in 27.2 minutes. The Tennessee native was also named NCAA Most Outstanding Player in 2007 and was selected to the NCAA All-Tournament Team in 2006 and 2007.

Is Paul George’s long-term future with OKC? Or elsewhere, like perhaps in Los Angeles? That will remain a lingering question, certainly through the summer. Here’s the Norman Transcript reporting:

Paul George feels “a real brotherhood” with Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, he told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols in a sit-down interview, which aired Sunday.

Talk of the Los Angeles Lakers has surrounded the five-time All-Star, who will become a free agent at the end of this season. The Lakers are not only George’s hometown team. He also requested to be traded there when he informed the Indiana Pacers he would not be re-signing come 2018 free agency.

George has, however, been complimentary of the Oklahoma City Thunder since the team traded for him over the summer.

“I obviously would’ve loved to go home. That was ideal when it was that time,” George told Nichols. “But now, being here and playing alongside Russ, playing alongside Melo, I feel a real brotherhood with those guys. If we’re here right now, then where can we be next year? Where can we be the year after that?”

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Thunder giving up many 3-points lately

The Thunder defense is clearly not as good with Andre Roberson out. Here’s the Norman Transcript reporting on what’s been going on:

The Thunder have been allowing a bunch of 3-pointers all season, a reaction to personnel changes over the summer and to a 2016-17 defense which gave up a higher percentage of its field-goals allowed at the rim than any other team. The Thunder help more aggressively from the weak side now in an attempt to take away driving lanes. When the strategy isn’t executed well, it’s prone to allowing easier 3s.

The issues have become more exaggerated of late.

“I think it’s just player movement,” Paul George said. “That’s the element of defense that we’re struggling at, understanding guys are moving and causing us to move around.”

The Thunder have allowed 31.5 3-pointers per game over their past eight, up from their seasonal average. Even worse, opponents are making 12.9 of those a game, good for nearly 41 percent. The makes and the percentage are the NBA’s second-worst and fourth-worst figures, respectively, over that time.

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Andre Roberson out for rest of season

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The Thunder, who this season have relied primarily on defense to get their wins, will be without their main defensive stopper at the guard/forward spot, Andre Roberson, for the remainder of the season. Here’s the Norman Transcript reporting:

Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard Andre Roberson underwent successful knee surgery Sunday, the team announced. The Thunder expect him to miss the remainder of the 2017-18 season.

Roberson ruptured his left patellar tendon during the third quarter of Saturday’s 121-108 win over the Detroit Pistons. The injury occurred when he planted his left leg awkwardly while trying to jump for an alley-oop from Russell Westbrook. Instead of receiving the ball and finishing the play, he flipped in the air and landed hard on his backside. After a few minutes on the ground with trainers and teammates around him, Roberson left the court on a stretcher.

The Thunder’s defensive stopper missed eight games because of left patellar tendinitis from Dec. 31 to Jan. 17. Rookie wing Terrance Ferguson started in his place during seven of those. Ferguson started once again Sunday against the Philadelphia 76ers. Roberson also received plasma injections in his knee during the offseason.

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DeMarcus Cousins has suffered a nasty injury that will end his season.

He’s on the Pelicans, a Western conference team.

So, his replacement on the Team LeBron 2018 NBA All-Star team has to be from the West as well.

Adam Silver has made his decision. It’ll be OKC Thunder forward Paul George.

For more info, read this: Paul George named NBA All-Star game injury replacement for DeMarcus Cousins

Russell Westbrook has been chosen as a reserve for this year’s NBA All-Star Game, the league announced Tuesday. With Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams falling short of making the team, Westbrook is the only Oklahoma City Thunder player to be named a reserve. No Thunder players will start.

This will be the seventh All-Star appearance of Westbrook’s career. The last time he missed out on the game, excluding his injury-ridden 2013-14, was during 2010, his second season.

Westbrook was averaging 24.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and a league-leading 10.1 assists heading into Tuesday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets, bringing him close to a triple-double average for what would be a second consecutive season. He became the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double last year.

“If I make it, then that’ll be a blessing,” Westbrook said of All-Star last week. “If I don’t, then I’ll go on vacation with my family.”

Norman Transcript

Thunder score 148 points vs Cavs

The Thunder offense has been disappointing most of this season. But the Cavs defense has been absolutely miserable, and it only seems to be getting worse, at least via the eye test. With Kevin Love playing just three minutes due to illness, LeBron and the rest of the Cavs put up 124 points Saturday afternoon, yet still lost by 24. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

The third quarter started, and LeBron James, seeking an illustrious mark, was stuck on nine points.

James was isolated against Paul George — who was nearly a Cleveland player last summer until trade talks broke down between the Cavs and Pacers. George expertly stayed in front of the driving James, with him and Steven Adams meeting James at the rim. Another miss, James’ fourth within six feet of the rim.

Nothing came easy for the king in a 148-124 Thunder blowout.

James needed 25 points to become the seventh player in NBA history to reach 30,000 career points. Instead, James was subbed out with 6:37 left in the fourth quarter and the Thunder ahead by 26.

James finished with 18 points on 8-of-17 shooting, 0-of-4 from 3-point range.

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The Raptors are 23-9, which is the second best record in the Eastern conference. The Thunder are 19-15, tying them for the West’s 5th best winning percentage - though OKC are on a five-game winning streak and have been recently playing their best basketball of the season. The two teams battle tonight in OKC. It’s a matchup worth watching. Here’s the Norman Transcript reporting:

The Toronto Raptors have run through the Eastern Conference with a similar core and thus, a similar type of isolation-heavy offense over the past few years. But the Oklahoma City Thunder’s next opponent will look different than many fans might expect come Wednesday night.

Even with players like point guard Kyle Lowry and binge scorer DeMar DeRozan carrying over, the Raptors have implemented far more motion into their offense this year. They’re taking 36 percent fewer mid-range shots. And lately, DeRozan, who spent the first eight years of his career dominating on long 2s, has taken his success to the 3-point line. He’s hit 13 triples over the past three games.

It will be a special task for OKC defensive stopper Andre Roberson, who has guarded DeRozan well historically, but who will have to deal with a different type of player come Wednesday.

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The Thunder won on Sunday, against a vastly inferior opponent in the Mavericks. OKC did this without the services of center Steven Adams or forward Carmelo Anthony. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

Carmelo Anthony’s back had been bothering him, but not enough to miss a game.

That changed on Sunday, suddenly and late.

Less than an hour before the Thunder tipped off a 112-99 win against the Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City announced Anthony would sit with back soreness. Thunder coach Billy Donovan said he didn’t know until about an hour before tip that Anthony would be out.

“The one thing I really admire about Melo is, he loves to play,” Donovan said after the game. “Even for a guy that’s been in the league in his 15th year, he loves to play. He went through the walk-through. He tried to do everything he could to get himself to play.”

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Logic suggested that the Thunder, who boast three offensive stars, would be better offensively than defensively. But through these first three weeks of the regular season, it’s been the reverse. Here’s the Oklahoman with more:

The focus came right away, to hear the Thunder tell it.

It had assembled this offseason as a collection of big-name offensive talent — Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook — but its fresh start had been focused on stops.

There was, the Thunder say, a defensive mindset from day one…

Statistically, the Thunder ranks among the NBA’s best defensive teams. It allows 97.6 points per 100 possessions, the second-best mark in the league. No team gives up fewer points in the paint than the Thunder’s 37.6 per game.

But there have been signs of slippage in the past two games, losses to Boston and Portland in which OKC has allowed 103.6 points per 100 possessions.

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Here’s a fun item on Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony, who has brought to OKC a catch-phrase he apparently yells each time he grabs a rebound. And amusing comments from joke-cracking teammate Steven Adams. The Norman Transcript reports:

Carmelo Anthony’s rebounding has gone viral — and it’s not because of the quality of his boarding.

Anthony has developed a catch phrase: every time he corrals a missed shot, he screams “Get the [expletive] out of here!” It’s loud enough that the microphone on to the rim often picks up the sound.

“I’ve been doing it for a long time,” he said. “I think now it’s just coming with the whole mindset thing, focus, that motivation to want to get that on the rebound attempt and being aggressive on the glass and just kind of motivating myself.”

Of course, Thunder center Steven Adams, who has never, ever cursed in his whole life, has stronger thoughts on Anthony’s on-court profanities.

“I let him get [the rebound]. He doesn’t have to say those harsh words,” Adams said of Anthony calling him off for boards. “He doesn’t have to talk like that, mate…It’s a bit mean. I thought we were on good terms.”

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