OKC Thunder: Deonte Burton better shot selection is key to finish season

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 prepares for the stretch run TI examines the one area each player can improve to bolster the team’s performance. First up Deonte Burton.

With the OKC Thunder not making a move at the trade deadline, they must look internally for growth from the team. To that end, Thunderous Intentions dives into examining each individual player with a view to the one thing they could improve to best help the Thunder down the stretch. We begin with reserve Deonte Burton

Burton brings energy to the court when he manages to make it there during game time. He has the ability to be a true momentum changer. He is never afraid to put up a shot when the offense is stalling. He is also an extremely hard worker on defense, deflecting a ball, blocking a shot or generally just pestering the opponent.

Unfortunately for Burton, there are enough energy players at small forward and shooting guard with greater offensive ability for the OKC Thunder. This means that he has to find ways to be better on the offensive end because he already has the hustle on defense.

As an example, think back to the game against the Los Angeles Lakers back in November. Coach Billy Donovan tried everyone against superstar LeBron James with no success.

Finally, he turned to Burton who slowed James down effectively. This type of defense is just part of what Burton brings to the team.

Shot selection

One of the strengths of Burton is also one of his greatest weaknesses. His shot selection is something that keeps defenders on their toes.

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However, Burton is shooting the ball at 17.9 percent from deep. This is a decrease from 29.6 percent last year.

When he drives to the rim, Burton is hard to stop. He is capable of thunderous dunks that can quieten an away crowd or hype a home crowd.

Burton is taking 1.3 of his 3.1 shots attempts from deep. As he is hitting less than 20 percent, Burton is an easier cover on defense.

If he makes hard cuts through the key, similar to Andre Roberson, this will continue to draw his defender away from the play.

If Burton can make this simple adjustment, the OKC Thunder can utilize his defense to greater effect. Clearly, putting in some more time on his shooting wouldn’t hurt either, but by simply recognizing where he adds value and the type of shots he takes are the keys to him getting on the hardwood.

Next. Thunder Film Room: The evidence continues to mount to free Deonte Burton. dark

Ultimately, Burton’s ability to impact a game is an x-factor that can make a difference in the playoffs, so these tweaks open all sorts of opportunities for the OKC Thunder.