Benefit of healthy Andre Roberson to rebuilding OKC Thunder is invaluable

OKC Thunder, Andre Roberson (Photo by Layne Murdoch Sr./NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder, Andre Roberson (Photo by Layne Murdoch Sr./NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder: Andre Roberson versus Carmelo Anthony (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Once again, Roberson’s length, plus size, plus IQ give him the ability to easily contest shots from elite offensive players such as Kawhi Leonard and James Harden.

Contesting Shots:

In 2017 among all guards who played under 30 minutes a night, Roberson ranked second in contested shots (0.2 behind Danny Green) according to tracking.

In addition to that, from 2016-2018 opponents shot only 43 percent from the field when guarded by Roberson and an average of 3.4 percent worse when defended by him.

Keep in mind Roberson was defending the best players on the opposing team almost the entire game.

I remember this game very vividly, the 2016-2017 season where Roberson put on an absolute defensive master class vs Carmelo Anthony.

Melo finished 4 of 19 from the field on the night and 0 of 1 from the perimeter. Roberson played Melo physically and contested every single shot he put up.

Roberson’s coming out party vs the Spurs, contesting every Kawhi Leonard shot

Another one in the same series, not giving up any ground to Leonard and contesting his shot at the apex

Again, another one. Leonard tries to fake him with the post-spin and then tries to bait him into a foul with the up fake, ends up a very difficult shot.

While defensive metrics arent up to par with offensive metrics in the NBA, Roberson has placed significantly well in ESPN’s Defensive RPM (Real Plus-Minus) over his past two healthy seasons.

DRPM Rankings:

  • 2016-2017: Overall (25th) Forwards (8th)
  • 2017-2018: Overall (2nd) Forwards (1st)

Additionally, Roberson ranked sixth in FiveThirtyEight’s new DRAYMOND defensive metric among defenders since 2013-2014, ranking as the second-highest forward behind Draymond Green.

No non-center matched Robersons steal (2.2) plus block percentage (3.1) with a minimum of 26 minutes a game in 2017-2018.

As a matter of fact, Draymond Green, one of the best defenders of this era has only matched those percentages once in his entire career, and it was his 2016-2017 Defensive Player of the Year season.

Not only does Roberson excel on the ball defensively, but Roberson also shows tremendous off-ball ability with his capacity to track shooters and deny the ball.