With Thabo Sefolosha now plying his trade in Atlanta, there is an opening in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s starting lineup at the shooting guard position.
For the first time in a few seasons, the Thunder will need to change up their starting unit. Just who fills the role at the two-spot is anyone’s guess. With the development of Reggie Jackson, the skill and length of Jeremy Lamb and now having brought in the sniper like shooting of Anthony Morrow, OKC have a number of options.
If the Thunder want to make a direct “like for like” swap, they could even look at placing defensive minded guard Andre Roberson in the starting unit, which doesn’t struggle to score, but does need defensive assistance.
So just what will Scott Brooks do?
The Thunder are trying to convince Reggie Jackson to stay in OKC and to sign a contract extension. Persuading the young star to hang around will be tough with All Star point guard Russell Westbrook ahead of him, but if the Thunder create a starting backcourt of the two athletic guards, Jackson will see plenty of minutes.
On the other hand, Jackson really plays the 6th man role to perfection. He can score, is an above average defender and runs an offense well. That is exactly what the Thunder’s reserve unit needs and therefore he might be a better fit there. That would mean starting one of the other three candidates.
Jeremy Lamb is on the fringe of breaking out and becoming a terrific young shooting guard. He did his time on the DLeague with Tulsa, he refined his game and developed it through the Summer League and last season (pre-All Star break and Caron Butler signing) was looking like he was ready to take that next step. Lamb can shoot the ball from anywhere and can create his own shot. The only downside is his inability to play sustained pressure defence which could hurt OKC’s balance.
Andre Roberson is a younger, faster, stronger version of Thabo Sefolosha. He can shoot a spot up jump shot (although he still needs to get better at that), scores mainly off cuts to the basket, moves well without the ball and is a terrific defender. He also rebounds very well from the guard spot. If the Thunder are worried about too many people trying to get shots in the starting unit – Roberson fixes that issue. Whether he is ready for the role or makes the team better for it is a gamble.
The newest member of the Thunder squad is Anthony Morrow and he has been recruited to fill a specific void in OKC’s lineup. Outside shooting. The Oklahoma City Thunder have struggled to space the floor and provide Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook the space needed to be super effective. They just haven’t ever had a consistent outside threat – but they do now. Morrow is one of the games best shooters – especially from long range – and it appears that he has been custom fit into this squad for when KD and Russ are on the floor. Does this mean Morrow is a starter or will the Thunder use his skills to create some offensive opportunities when the starters are off the floor?
As you can see, it is quite the predicament – but a great situation to be in. No doubt different matchups might call for different rotations, but who do you think the Thunder start at the shooting guard spot this season?
Tags: Oklahoma City Thunder