OKC Thunder season end round table – Best non-rookie addition to team

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

With the OKC Thunder committed to the rebuild and later acquiescing to a full-out tank Sam Presti sure was kept busy this year. Prior to the season even tipping off the Vice President of Basketball Operations retooled the roster trading captain Chris Paul, Sixth Man Dennis Schroder, beloved big man Steven Adams, as well as Terrance Ferguson, and Abdel Nader.

Just as quickly as trades were completed Presti was creating new trades to send out players added like Danny Green, Kelly Oubre Jr., and Ricky Rubio.

Several other players who were part of the trade packages spent time in Oklahoma City like George Hill while Trevor Ariza never donned a Thunder jersey but brought in value via a trade at the deadline.

OKC Thunder season end roundtable – Best Presti addition

The bespeckled VP added to his draft haul and brought in players who became the primary contributors for the club in the latter half of the season. With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shut down due to injury and Al Horford agreeing to be a healthy scratch it afforded head coach Mark Daigneault with an opportunity to dole out extended minutes to his reserve unit.

In turn, that group had an opportunity to carve out a niche within the roster and cement their position within the club’s future core. That’s the focus of the Intentions writing team in our round table question today.

Question 3: Sam Presti made copious changes to the Thunder this season. Aside from the rookies who was the best addition?

Mark Nilon@MarkNilon_NBA

Though some could argue Moses Brown, I’d venture to say Ty Jerome. He was viewed as a mere afterthought/ throw-in to the offseason Chris Paul trade and, in the beginning, spent a large portion of his time in the G League.

However, once getting a shot at some substantial minutes within the rotation for the OKC Thunder during the latter part of February and onward, he never looked back.

Now, of course, we’re not saying he’s a star in the making. That said, his production throughout the season has provided reason to believe that he could be a quality long-term offensive spark plug off the pine who can handle backup point guard minutes and knockdown much-needed 3-point attempts.

Finishing the year with 10.7 points, 3.6 assists, and 2.8 rebounds a game on 45 percent shooting from the floor and 42 percent shooting from deep, Jerome proved to be one of the most consistent and productive players on the Thunder’s roster this past year.

Not bad for an “afterthought” player, huh?

Tamberlyn Richardson – @TTOTambz

I’m inclined to agree with my co-expert Mark Nilon that Ty Jerome was a substantial find particularly because of all the boxes he checks off in terms of leading the bench. If you’ve read any of the postgame grades this season you know I’m also a huge Kenny Hustle fan as he brings a similar ability to the court that players like Marcus Smart provide for the Celtics.

However, to spread the wealth I’ll note the addition of Gabriel Deck who was only with the team a short period of time but provided quality contributions in just 10 games. That was barely enough time for Deck to learn the system yet he averaged 8.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.4 assists while showcasing talent on the defensive end as well.

I’m looking forward to seeing how he fits in next season when he has a better feel for Mark Daigneault’s system. Deck could be a vital part of the reserve unit and he fits the positionless mold the team wants to advance. His ability to handle the ball to either create his own shot or play make for others will be beneficial.

Next season with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luguentz Dort back playing every game it will equate to players like Kenrich Williams, Ty Jerome, and Isaiah Roby likely coming off the bench.

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Adding Deck to that group could net positive results for a bench unit that was decimated this season due to all the injuries (and purposeful tanking). In the games where Jerome and Williams played with Deck, they were already developing chemistry so I’m optimistic about that unit improving next season.

Matthew Hallett – @mervsports78

For me it was Ty Jerome who was a hidden gem in the CP3 deal. He is averaging 10.7 points, 3.6 assists, and 2.8 rebounds shooting 42.3 percent from deep. He did not play the first half of the season but what a second half. Not bad for a player who seemed to be a throw-in to get a deal done

Brandon Dale: @MrOKCtober

Kenrich Williams was the best addition to the roster this year. He played the most games for OKC this season, and his presence on the defensive end is unmatched. If Sam Presti can retain him moving forward, the Thunder will have found their Andre Roberson 2.0.

Shontelle Matano: @ShontelleMatano

I think the best addition outside the OKC Thunder rookies was Kenrich Williams. You can acquire talented players, but it’s sometimes difficult to bring players who fit in seamlessly and whose values align.

I feel like with Williams, he has come in and had a smooth transition. He’s so fun to watch. Another great talent spot by Presti.

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