OKC Thunder should unleash the beast in Deonte Burton

Deonte Burton, OKC Thunder (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Deonte Burton, OKC Thunder (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Deonte Burton, OKC Thunder (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images) /

Deonte Burton has the necessary skill set to push teammates for minutes and become a spark the OKC Thunder need down the home stretch.

Deonte Burton, the latest addition to the OKC Thunder roster, is in a unique position. Fans have shown him love since he first entered the Thunder organization. And, he made a name for himself in the G League before being called up as a full time team member, but he lacks significant playing time both with and against the big boys.

Burton hasn’t sat idle, however. He kept his ball skills sharp as a leading player for the Oklahoma City Blue, OKC’s G League team, and earned his opportunity to secure a full time roster spot with the Thunder.

Now, the real work begins as he must continue his development and upward momentum to carve out a role for himself on a team that seeks nothing less than an NBA championship title. Beyond the starting lineup, there are no guarantees as to who Head Coach Billy Donovan will give the nod for playing time.

There are multiple players Burton will be competing against for playing time, including Dennis Schröder, Terrance Ferguson, Abdel Nader, Markieff Morris, Raymond Felton, and Patrick Patterson. These guys are listed at various positions, but position names often don’t describe a player’s actual role on the court. With that said, I believe all of these players fall into a similar enough category that they can all flex a bit into one another’s roles on the team, thereby warranting a reasonable enough comparison.

Outlined in the next few slides, I’ll make a case for Deonte Burton deserving the opportunity to push comparable teammates for increased minutes as the OKC Thunder makes its final push down the home stretch into the playoffs.