Schuhmann stat warns Chris Paul could stall OKC Thunder offense

Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets, Russell Westbrook of OKC Thunder, Terrance Ferguson (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets, Russell Westbrook of OKC Thunder, Terrance Ferguson (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chris Paul. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images) /

What it all means:

In terms of the Rockets, they replace one iso heavy decent perimeter shooting ball handler (Paul) with another iso heavy ball handler who is a subpar perimeter shooter (Westbrook). As for the Rockets offense, D’Antoni has run a slow pace with very little ball movement in Houston.

Given how the OKC Thunder preferred to run with pace (and performed better when they did). it might behoove Mike D to tweak his offense more to the style of what he ran in Phoenix with Steve Nash. Remember the seven-second or less offense? It could be easily be credited with the trend of increasing pace in the modern era.  Also, let’s not discount how much more mobile Westbrook is than Paul, so D’Antoni could conceivably keep the pace slow but have Russ making more cuts, moving around multiple screens and running more patterns in order to make the Rockets offense more fluid and less stilted and isolation driven.

OKC Thunder extrapolation:

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As for the OKC Thunder, the ideal scenario should feature a faster pace simply because of the copious youngsters on the squad.

However, if Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams and let’s say Andre Roberson start with Paul and SGA than Billy Donovan has the option of running two different tempos.

The starters could run the offense with a medium to slower ranked pace while Dennis Schroder could push the pace with all the youngsters getting out on the fast break.

The immediate advantage that offers is it makes opposing defenses have to adjust. Similar to why teams have multiple players defend a star player. They don’t want the player to get used to one defender and adjust to them. Throwing different looks at the player makes them adjust instead. This is what the Thunder could do by utilizing two different lineups with varied pace.

One thing Donovan definitely has to change this season is adding more content to his starting lineups offense. Paul won’t be satisfied to run a basic offense. The Thunder need to take advantage of his expertise while he remains in OKC.  For Shai to learn the intricacies of a more complex and extensive offensive system it’s invaluable training. And, with no disrespect to Patrick Beverley (well – maybe a little shade) or Lou Williams they simply aren’t in the same category of basketball I.Q and playmaking ilk of Chris Paul.

dark. Next. How Thunder backcourt duo Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander can thrive together

Most importantly, ball and player movement need to be much improved over the past few seasons, there are simply too many talents and youthful athleticism on this iteration of the Thunder to not make that leap. And we’ll cross our fingers the dribble-dribble-dribble trend stayed in LA and Houston. Say it with me Billy Donovan- –  “things that make me go hmmmmmm”.