We all know that Steven Adams, Enes Kanter and Russell Westbrook will start. But, what about Victor Oladipo? We look at different possible rotations for the Thunder’s roster.
Victor Oladipo is one of the newest additions to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s roster. The Thunder acquired him in the trade sending Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic. While Oladipo is a great addition, it might not be in the Thunder’s best interest to start him in the playoffs. Not because he is a bad player, but due to the Thunder’s lack of scoring options off the bench.
First, let’s look at some of the other guys on the roster not Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams, or Enes Kanter.
Anthony Morrow didn’t play much last year, but he shot 38.7% from 3-point range. Morrow averaged 13.6 minutes per game and can space the floor. He won’t get you many assists, if any at all, or much rebounding. But, he can score.
Ersan Ilyasova averaged 10.4 points last year while playing 25 minutes per game. He’s a solid player who can score. But defensively has always been a liability. He shot 72% from the free throw line last year which is decent for a big man. You want him to play in short spurts. Enough to get some offensive production, not enough to hurt you defensively.
For Cameron Payne the verdict is still out. He’s only 22 and started only one game last year, his rookie season.
Payne showed some improvement in summer league. He has a Brandon Jennings like game. He is not a pure passer, cannot score consistently, not a great outside shooter, and is left-handed. However, he’s good enough to get some points for the second unit. Payne also should not struggle as much defensively guarding backup point guards.
With Victor Oladipo we all know how good he is. Probably the 2nd or 3rd best player on the team depending on where you rank Enes Knater. However, the second unit needs help. He could be better served playing a Manui Ginobli like role. Staggering minutes with Westbrook and playing mostly with the second unit. Even, maybe not starting at all.
Andre Roberson is entering his 4th season. Not a great free throw shooter, 61% last year. And we last remember Roberson getting scolded by Durant for passing up open shots in the Western Conference Finals.
Domatus Sabonis played well for Lithuania in the Oylmipics and great at Gonzaga last year where he averaged 17.6 points and 11.8 rebounds. At the very least he should be a great rebounder for the second unit and possibly the best front court scoring options off the bench.
If the Thunder want to have great success they need to have Cameron Payne, Andre Roberson, and Sabonis to step up their game next season.
Also, Enes Kanter needs to remind people how good he is. It’s definitely possible for him to average 20 points per game next year. Personally, I believe he will emerge as the second best player on the Thunder.
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If the Thunder want to experiment this season and be a little bold they should play a few games with Oladipo coming off the bench. This could help them score during that end of the 1st/3rd quarter run with the 2nd unit.
As the season progresses the Thunder should go more with this line up. Combining Russell Westbrook, Enes Kanter, Steven Adams, and Anthony Morrow will keep the starting five’s offensive strong. They’ll suffer a tad on defense in the beginning of quarters. But, let’s be honest, defensively they are going to struggle anyway.
The starting lineup I would like to see them enter next year’s playoffs with is Russell Westbrook at point guard, Anthony Morrow at shooting gaurd, Andre Roberson at small forward, Steven Adams at power forward, and Enes Kanter at center.
Next, off the bench as the sixth man is Victor Oladipo, playing over 30 minutes a game. Sabonis should play the second most minutes off the bench, followed by Cameron Payne. Ilyasova should fill in any extra minutes depending on the situation.
And finally, the end of the game line up, aka the death line up, should be Westbrook, Oladipo, Morrow, Adams, and Kanter.