Deonte Burton Vegas highlights – Inside the film room with the hidden gem

Deonte Burton, OKC Thunder dunks the ball during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Deonte Burton, OKC Thunder dunks the ball during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /

As the OKC Thunder move into the R and R era roster spots are open. Diving into the Summer League film room Deonte Burton could be the hidden gem on the roster.

With the shift in the OKC Thunder roster and loss of two superstars, the team enters a new phase for the first time in 12 years which will focus on reloading and replenishing.

Given those dynamics, the youngsters who participated in Vegas could be featured more predominantly. At a minimum, these are players fans should expect to see more of as the franchise navigate it’s new R and R era.

Deonte Burton is one such member of this youth brigade who most fans recognize from pre game warm ups due to his electrifying dunks or having witnessed him with the OKC Blue. While some pundits felt his Vegas showing wasn’t much to speak of, based on the film it seems Burton was given a similar role to what Terrance Ferguson was last season.

TFerg was tasked with being more of a playmaker and initiating ball movement. If I’m correct and those were the parameters for Burton’s role in Vegas his performance through four games provided a reason for optimism.

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Most of Burton’s highlight is of the dunking nature but several will pop up on the other four player highlights via the dimes he was dropping in their direction.

Last season besides shooting efficiency from the perimeter and free throw line, playmaking was something the team was in short supply of, so Burton’s ability to utilize his Swiss army knife assets will be a great benefit to a squad who were in short supply of players who could create both for themselves and others.

Vegas highlights:

The following offers up some of Burton’s best highlights from his Summer League Vegas stint.

Facing the Jazz in Game 1, Deonte Burton drives the paint pulling multiple defenders and does something last year’s team was in desperate need of — he creates the play for his teammate by delivering the spot on pass to Hamidou Diallo who awaits in the corner.

Diallo’s 3-point shot sinks as the defender closes out on him. While some felt Burton’s performance in Summer League wasn’t spectacular, plays like this which potentially offered an explanation. Perhaps the coaches wanted him to showcase more playmaking skills so they could determine the ability of the other players on the Summer League Roster.

Also in Game 1, Burton despite his slim downed physique is able to back down his defender into the paint, pulls a second defender to him and once again drops off a pass for an easy dunk by Emanuel Terry.

Against the 76ers in Game 2, Burton gets 3 players to collapse on him & this comes with the OKC Thunder struggling offensively while he is one of the few making cuts and keeping movement flowing on the hardwood. Burton then hits the five foot 2-point shot to go up 76-69

Game 3 versus Team Croatia the OKC Thunder battle early to stay in the match and Burton delivers a game changing dunk. First, he pulls his defender into the corner and then charges past him to drop one of his definitive dunks fans have become accustomed to seeing from the guard.

Although Thunder Nation knows Deonte Burton can dunk this particular example stood out just based on how he slipped the defense and got a clear path to the basket. Even when the opponent recovered Burton intelligently waited for his defender to jump before he raised to flush the ball.

Most of Deonte Burton’s highlights in Vegas centered on his dimes and you’ll note in the other four film room sessions he is often featured. In this case at the end of Game 3 versus the Blazers Burton put the game away stealing the ball off the inbound pass, streaking downcourt and punctuating the win with a slam.

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Deonte Burton is a bit of an enigma because he’s been listed both in roles which would find him playing in the guard position and even slated as high as the power forward role.

That may pay dividends for him because it speaks to his versatility. I’m a big fan of his overall game and would caution Burton will be a player which doesn’t automatically translate as a producer.

Although I wouldn’t put him on the same tier as Kyle Lowry I’ll use him as an example since the Raptors guard demonstrated during the NBA Finals just how much intangibles matter and how things not highlighted on a box score can affect the end result.

That said, Burton should still work on his shooting and continue to develop his handle. It’s expected we’ll see players on the court the OKC Thunder are invested in like Hamidou Diallo and possibly even the rookie Darius Bazley. But, don’t be surprised if Billy Donovan finally retires that quick hook he used on Burton last season and gives him an opportunity to shine.

Next. Vegas Observations: Which Thunder players stood out in Summer League. dark

Stick with Thunderous Intentions today as we serve up five player highlight profiles pulled from the film room. Enjoy your week