It appears (now anyway) that the past season was the last time the Oklahoma City Thunder will have Thabo Sefolosha in uniform. The defensive minded shooting guard had a very mixed season, dealing with injuries, form lapses and ultimately getting older, slower and relegated to the bench and out of the rotation entirely. Let’s have a look at the season that was for Thabo.
Offensive Grade: D
Thabo has never had much of an offensive game and this year it was even more evident as he struggled to even find consistency with his bread and butter, short three point shot. Sefolosha is decent in transition and can give you some buckets by finishing the break, but he was also required to knock down open three’s and space the floor – something he wasn’t able to achieve this season and it really hurt his stock. Coming back from injury is never easy and he failed to find any sort of rhythm and was essentially a liability on the offensive end.
Keys for improvement – if Thabo is to continue playing, he needs to shore up that jump shot. Being primarily a defender, you need to have something to offer on offense and these days that is generally a three point shot. He will need to work very hard to get his consistency back otherwise he is really limiting his chances at playing on.
Defensive Grade: C+
This has been Thabo’s bread and butter throughout his whole career. He has terrific lateral quickness, strength and length and really locks in and focuses on the defensive end. He can guard point guards, shooting guards and small forwards and works well within the team concept. Again though, this season was derailed through injury and it appears that during this season, the pace of the game has really found an aging Sefolosha out. He struggled mightily to try and guard people throughout the playoffs and it ultimately lead to Scott Brooks benching him. If he can get healthy he still has great values as a defender but if not, then it limits his options.
Keys for improvement – get 100% healthy and work hard to find that quickness and foot speed. It is paramount for on ball defenders like Thabo to be able to stay in front of guys on the defensive end, and players these days are getting faster and faster. If Sefolosha wants to prolong his career, he needs to be healthy and show a team that he can still offer something on defense.
Sefolosha is the ultimate team player. He works hard without the ball and always tries to make the right basketball play. He never takes plays off and always gives you 100% heart and effort. The fact he has been a staple in the Thunder rotation is testament to this. He is the guys that will do the “dirty” work, all the stuff that goes unnoticed in the boxscore and won’t get you highlights on Sportscenter and he does it with little fanfare or fuss. A real leader on this squad, Thabo brings a great deal of positive energy, effort and experience.
Keys for improvement – the effectiveness of these intangibles is limited when the on-court performances are poor, so Thabo needs – again – to get healthy. He almost certainly won’t return to OKC but he could be a very good asset to a young team needing veteran experience and a defensive focus. In order to get people to buy in though, he needs to be able to perform.
Overall Grade: C
Arguably his worst season for the Thunder and the age and injury issues did very little to help him. Still, he played hard and gave this team everything he could and never caused any issues so for that we have to give him a pass mark. A great teammate and locker room guy, it was a shame to see him so slowed by the injuries and struggle for form and effectiveness.