OKC Thunder: The impact of the G-League shutdown on the OKC Blue

OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

COVID-19 has impacted most people around the world, seriously impacting the G-League including the OKC Thunder affiliate the OKC Blue.

With the NBA and NBA G-League in lockdown due to COVID-19, the OKC Thunder and OKC Blue are not able to practice or play. This has serious ramifications for the basketball future of many players in both leagues.

It is safe to say that if you are reading this article you are missing basketball. The NBA and NBA G-League undoubtedly made the correct call to suspend all games until they are sure that the threat of COVID-19 has passed.

This means that players who are normally in a routine are now in their homes, trying to stay in shape. Players like Darius Bazley and sometime OKC Blue squad member Hamidou Diallo have even taken to Instagram in an effort to curb their boredom.

Players are no longer allowed to even practice at training venues one on one and this is going to have a massive impact on the OKC Blue. They were just gaining some momentum having added Tyler Cook and Scotty Hopson to the squad.

These players were really having an impact on the squad. In seven games Cook has averaged 11.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in just 18.4 minutes per game. He has provided a great spark off the bench in his limited time with the Blue.

Likewise, Hopson, who played 35 games with the Blue last season has only played six games for the club and is also having a tremendous impact. He is averaging 18.3 points, 3.5 assists, and 3.0 rebounds in his 31.2 minutes.

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Hopson has slid into the starting shooting guard role during the injury to Abdul Gaddy. This has allowed Devon Hall to run the team, giving Gaddy time to heal. This has allowed the Blue to enter the season suspension in playoff seeding.

Just before the hiatus was announced, the Blue also announced that they had signed LiAngelo Ball. In order to sign the 6’5″ forward, they had to waive Tyler Davis who had not played a game for the season.

The Blue has been practicing with Ball for a while now and the OKC Thunder never does anything without a plan in mind. It is a possibility if he works out that Ball might be in a Thunder uniform in the future. We will have to wait until basketball returns before we can assess any of that.

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I fully support the decision to suspend basketball so that the spread of COVID-19 slows, but like everyone, I miss it terribly.