Recent OKC Thunder losses highlight positional disadvantage

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks dribbles the ball while being guarded by Steven Adams, Hamidou Diallo OKC Thunder (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks dribbles the ball while being guarded by Steven Adams, Hamidou Diallo OKC Thunder (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
DECEMBER 22: Terrance Ferguson #23 of the OKC Thunder and Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers look on during a game (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Why wings and forwards are a problem:

Part of this situation is bound to happen when you consider the use of the three point guard lineup. The benefit is having three playmakers on the floor, all who are above average defenders and can score.

The downside is Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder are undersized so it translates into difficulty defending lengthier clubs. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a natural point guard but can play one through three. SGA provides issues for smaller guards to defend it’s notable when he plays lengthier guards his shooting prowess and ease in scoring isn’t as efficient or as frequent.

Luguentz Dort has cemented his position with the starters but while he’s capable of shutting down backcourt stars and some small forwards when there are multiple shooting talents another player has to step in to help with the multiple assignments.

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Another reason this position creates so many issues is the regression of Terrance Ferguson and the slow development of Hamidou Diallo. Although Terrance Ferguson has dealt with off court issues this season many thought he’d get back on track.

The opposite seems to be the case. He’s done nothing to this point that would warrant him returning to the starting rotation. The same issues he had scoring and being aggressive offensively are evident with him in a reserve role.

In the situations outlined above, it punctuates precisely how special Andre Roberson was and his benefit to the club. By the same token having him on the court limited the offensive options. Still, the loss of both ARob to injury and Paul George via trade perpetuated the problem.

That said, there are benefits from the new roster to be reaped. Thunder Nation has witnessed that this season via the clutch time crew and the massively improved offense with particular success using the three point guards.

Ultimately, the shifts meant something had to give — and for the Thunder, it’s matchups with scoring wings. For the moment, just like the Thunder have to gang rebound at times they’ll need to adapt via a team defensive approach.

Moving forward, the likely priority of Sam Presti this offseason will be to add a player with the capacity to grow with SGA. Priority should be placed on their ability to mesh in the offense but most importantly defend wings and forwards.

Next. Thunder Report Card as team enters stretch. dark

Championship teams are built a step at a time and this is the one glaring hole of the current squad. Considering the copious positives of this roster and the benchmarks it’s achieved waiting for one major puzzle piece seems more than reasonable.