OKC Thunder: Opportunity knocks for Deonte Burton and Tyler Davis

Deonte Burton, OKC Thunder (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Deonte Burton, OKC Thunder (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Deonte Burton, OKC Thunder (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Opportunity knocks:

Of both players, Deonte Burton has the best of making an immediate impact. His shooting ability, combined with his athleticism and knack for anticipating passes, gives him the best opportunity to succeed in the NBA. He’s also a good decision maker with the ball in his hands and is comfortable enough to dribble around defenders on his way to the rim.

That said, Burton has still yet to prove himself in the NBA. Opponents are better, the ball moves faster and passing lanes are smaller. It will take time for him to adjust, and minutes on the floor will be few and far between playing on a team with championship aspirations. For now, a two-way contract best suites Burton.

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While Burton certainly has a chance to make it, his colleague Davis might not have it so easy. For being undersized, he does a good job throwing his weight around the post and bullying his way to the rim. It’s also a good thing he has a soft touch from close range and can hit a 3-pointer when left open. Like Burton, though, doing those things will be more difficult in the NBA.

When thinking about the best rim protectors in the league, you begin to see a trend. Players like Rudy Gobert, DeAndre Jordan and Hassan Whiteside are all tall with incredible wing span. Add that to their athleticism, and it’s going to be difficult to back them down or dribble around for a relatively easy layup like we saw Davis do so much of in the Summer League.

Finding ways to create mismatches off the pick-and-roll and get involved offensively will be key. Furthermore, Burton will have to deny his match up the opportunity to get the ball in the post. His smaller stature compared to most other centers, coupled with his average athleticism, will be a liability on the defensive end unless he can do the work early and not let his man get position.

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Each will seek to make the best of this opportunity and hope by season end to be with the varsity squad or to have made a big enough impression to become a regular rotation player next season.