OKC Thunder 30 for 30 round table: Who benefits from suspension most?

Danilo Gallinari #8, Chris Paul #3, head coach Billy Donovan, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2, Dennis Schroder #17, and Steven Adams #12 of the OKC Thunder look on against the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Danilo Gallinari #8, Chris Paul #3, head coach Billy Donovan, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2, Dennis Schroder #17, and Steven Adams #12 of the OKC Thunder look on against the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The writing team at Thunderous Intentions is serving up a 30 by 30 OKC Thunder roundtable with a question a day for the next 30 days.

With the NBA announcing the league will be suspended due to the coronavirus it means all action has ground to a halt. The OKC Thunder along with all players on every team are under lockdown via self-quarantine. The initial lockdown has been outlined as 14 days although that period could be extended as more information is provided by health organizations who are staying on top of the pandemic.

As fans, we’re all dealing with the withdrawal of not having basketball or any live sporting events to watch. It’s an unusual situation as during times of trouble sporting events have typically provided an outlet for fans — an escape if you will. Suffice to say these are uncharted waters for everyone as we learn to navigate the pandemic and move back toward health and safety for all.

At a minimum, the NBA won’t be playing games for 30 days. With that in mind, the writing team at Thunderous Intentions is diving into a 30 by 30 round table series. Over the next 30 days, the team will answer a question a day. We’ll touch on the OKC Thunder specifically along with some league-wide queries and throw in some humor along the way.

We hope you’ll enjoy the series and invite you to share your thoughts in the comments section each day.

With that, here is question one in the series…

Which 3 players on the OKC Thunder benefit the most from 30 days off?

Rylan Stiles:

The three OKC Thunder players that are helped by this layoff the most are Darius Bazley, Luguentz Dort, and Chris Paul.

Of course with the rookie Bazley, he is trying to recover from an injury, and this delay just saves the team that lacks wing depth to get him healthy before the league resumes.

For Chris Paul, he is on pace to play all but one game this season. We all know the injury concerns with the 34-year-old in the postseason, and this layoff helps try to avoid that for OKC.

With Lu Dort, it is simply just avoiding the rookie wall. The two-way guard has played in a record-breaking 29 games and has been tasked with chasing around some of the league’s elite offensive players. Normally around this 29, to 30 game mark, Dort’s season is done. It is when we see rookies hit the wall, this layoff helps Dort re-energize for a playoff push.

Shontelle Matano

Chris Paul: CP3 has played in 63 of OKC’s 64 games. In the past injuries have hampered Paul late in the season so this will give him some well-earned rest. When the NBA returns he’ll be even better which is a scary thought for the rest of the league.

Darius Bazley: Bazley was nearing a return from his knee bruise and this break means he doesn’t have to rush to get back. This will enhance the OKC Thunder depth approaching the playoffs.

Andre RobersonThe break gives A-Rob extra time to get to 100 percent and a greater chance to get back on the court.

Matthew Hallett:

The player who benefits the most is Darius Bazley, the rookie gets to miss fewer games through his rookie season. He also is able to rehab his body with less pressure. He is also going to have time to watch more film and really learn more about himself and the team.

The second player is Danilo Gallinari who has been kept out on the second night of back to backs. His ankle has been an issue for most of the season. His priority over the All-Star break was rest, he can do that now. He can also focus on family and friends who have been impacted by the virus.

The third player who will benefit is Steven Adams. His physical style of play has him banged up for the playoffs. A month of rest before playing 20 odd games to sharpen up for the playoffs could see Adams dominate the postseason in a way we have not seen.

Dustin McGowen:

Steven Adams will benefit the most from the extra time off. He always seems to start the season better than he ends it. The main reason usually given for this in the podcast world is that he plays very physically, and added time off will allow him to heal for an eventual(?) playoff run. This decline draws the ire of Thunder Nation not only because he plays so well when healthy, but that he is also the second-highest paid player on the team. In a possible playoffs matchup with Houston, Adams could be invaluable against Houston’s diminutive defense.

Andre Roberson hasn’t played since suffering a left knee injury in a game versus the Pistons on January 27, 2018. He has faced many setbacks in his recovery, and if he ever hopes to come back and makeover the vet minimum, he has to play for the Thunder sometime this season. He is in the final year of a 3-year/$30 million contract, but if he ever wants more, he has to prove it on the court. I agree with Rylan that he probably won’t come back, but if he could, more time to get ready would most definitely help him.

Luguentz Dort hasn’t yet played thirty games for the Thunder, but his impact on the season has been immense. The time off will help him learn how to be a full-time NBA player if the Thunder decide to sign him off of a two-way contract (PLEASE, DO IT!). Dort has a huge upside and could be a great asset in possible playoff matchups against dynamic scorers like Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and Houston’s James Harden.

Tamberlyn Richardson:

More from Thunderous Intentions

The writing team touched on the main players who’ll need rest either due to their age or health. Having the benefit of pulling this together I elected to consider some players who aren’t necessarily top of mind on the OKC Thunder squad.

Terrance Ferguson has suffered through a season of regression and personal problems. Perhaps this time off will help to remind him of the importance of refocusing his efforts. To this point in the season he’s not given Billy Donovan a reason to put him back in the starting rotation nor is he delivering off the bench despite facing other reserves.

On one hand, the suspension might be the worst thing for Dennis Schroder given how well he’s been playing. Yet, on the other hand like Danilo Gallinari, Schroder spent a good portion of his offseason involved with his national team.

That equated to the German not getting much downtime. This break will afford him some R & R with the family and a chance to rest his body in order to be fully healthy and dialed in for the finish of the season and playoffs.

The off the beaten track player selection would be Hamidou Diallo.  Through this point in the season, his sophomore year hasn’t lived up to expectations. Suffering a hyperextended elbow didn’t help his case, but the lack of consistency on both sides of the hardwood is disheartening. During the suspension, Diallo should spend time watching film and refocusing on committing to delivering aggressive effort when games resume.

Comparing Westbrook small ball success vs Thunder system. dark. Next

Question two is up tomorrow as the team dives into some suggestions for Billy Donovan and how he can take advantage of the suspension time.