2018 Thunder Offseason

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Lab Rat

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Jan 5, 2012
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#1
There are a lot of unanswered questions for the Thunder right now, but it appears that Paul George won't be coming back but Donovan will. That's unfortunate, IMO, especially with Mike Budenholzer on the market. It's possible, although unlikely, that Presti will find a way to dump Carmelo, but I think he's probably going to return.

The Thunder don't have a 1st round draft pick this year (the #20 pick now belongs to Minnesota), but they do have two very late 2nd round choices (#53 and Boston's #57). There's not much value in either of those picks. Since 2010, 64 players have been drafted at #53 or later. Of those, only 29 have ever appeared in an NBA game. Here are those 29 players, as ranked by career Win Shares. Isaiah Thomas is clearly the outlier, but the 4th best player listed here is Joffrey Lauvergne. Meh...
Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 2.04.15 PM.png


My biggest problem with the Thunder, and the primary reason why I would prefer Budenholzer over Donovan, is the inconsistency of their defense. They should be among the top 3 or 4 in the NBA in defensive rating, but they finished a modest 10th in Team Defensive Rating(6th in the Western Conference, behind the Jazz, Spurs, Rockets, Blazers, and Warriors).

When people criticize OKC's defense, fingers are generally pointed at Russell Westbrook. I'll admit that his defense is sometimes inconsistent, but his defensive field goal percentage was pretty good this year.
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Among guards, he's one of the best rim protectors in the NBA.
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On the other hand, Paul George is typically credited with being OKC's best (or 2nd best, next to Adams) defender. However, his defensive field goal % is terrible. Carmelo's is similarly bad.
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Steven Adams is clearly the best on-ball defender on the team for his position. No surprise there.
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All of this just indicates that OKC's problems defensively are much more extensive than Russell Westbrook's effort and awareness. The current defensive system tends to leave players out of position, and so really good defenders like Andre Roberson and Paul George have modest-to-poor defensive shooting percentages. This is in contrast to teams like the Spurs, Jazz, and Celtics, who have great defensive FG% at every position, not necessarily due to personnel, but due to their defensive system.
 

Hbuchanan

Deputy
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Aug 2, 2010
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#2
There are a lot of unanswered questions for the Thunder right now, but it appears that Paul George won't be coming back but Donovan will. That's unfortunate, IMO, especially with Mike Budenholzer on the market. It's possible, although unlikely, that Presti will find a way to dump Carmelo, but I think he's probably going to return.

The Thunder don't have a 1st round draft pick this year (the #20 pick now belongs to Minnesota), but they do have two very late 2nd round choices (#53 and Boston's #57). There's not much value in either of those picks. Since 2010, 64 players have been drafted at #53 or later. Of those, only 29 have ever appeared in an NBA game. Here are those 29 players, as ranked by career Win Shares. Isaiah Thomas is clearly the outlier, but the 4th best player listed here is Joffrey Lauvergne. Meh...
View attachment 60857

My biggest problem with the Thunder, and the primary reason why I would prefer Budenholzer over Donovan, is the inconsistency of their defense. They should be among the top 3 or 4 in the NBA in defensive rating, but they finished a modest 10th in Team Defensive Rating(6th in the Western Conference, behind the Jazz, Spurs, Rockets, Blazers, and Warriors).

When people criticize OKC's defense, fingers are generally pointed at Russell Westbrook. I'll admit that his defense is sometimes inconsistent, but his defensive field goal percentage was pretty good this year.
View attachment 60858


Among guards, he's one of the best rim protectors in the NBA.
View attachment 60859

On the other hand, Paul George is typically credited with being OKC's best (or 2nd best, next to Adams) defender. However, his defensive field goal % is terrible. Carmelo's is similarly bad.
View attachment 60860
View attachment 60861


Steven Adams is clearly the best on-ball defender on the team for his position. No surprise there.
View attachment 60863
View attachment 60864


All of this just indicates that OKC's problems defensively are much more extensive than Russell Westbrook's effort and awareness. The current defensive system tends to leave players out of position, and so really good defenders like Andre Roberson and Paul George have modest-to-poor defensive shooting percentages. This is in contrast to teams like the Spurs, Jazz, and Celtics, who have great defensive FG% at every position, not necessarily due to personnel, but due to their defensive system.
I'm pretty sure that they were in the top five defensively with Roberson and fell when he got hurt. I don't think hardly anyone realized how valuable he was.
 

El Gato Bandito

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Jan 5, 2009
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#3
The return of Roberson will be the most obvious boost to our team defensive numbers, but I also wonder how much of a positive jump we will see from a new starting PF. (at this point I am telling myself that Melo is gone no matter what, because that's what I want to believe dammit) Removing Melo from that starting lineup and inserting either Patterson or Grant will have a pretty dramatic effect. Both of them are strong enough shooters to also potentially help with spacing issues and boost assists as they both play a stretch 4 role. Grant is obviously the more athletic rim protector type, while Patterson is a vast improvement in awareness and defensive positioning. If we lose PG though, I am not sure what happens to our starting lineup. At that point a trade would almost certainly be in the works as we don't have an alternative on our bench for him right now.
 

Lab Rat

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Jan 5, 2012
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#4
I'm pretty sure that they were in the top five defensively with Roberson and fell when he got hurt. I don't think hardly anyone realized how valuable he was.
The Spurs finished 4th in Defensive Rating without Kawhi Keonard. It’s the system and coaching, not the personnel.
 

GodsPeace

Joshua 1:9
Aug 20, 2004
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#5
The return of Roberson will be the most obvious boost to our team defensive numbers, but I also wonder how much of a positive jump we will see from a new starting PF. (at this point I am telling myself that Melo is gone no matter what, because that's what I want to believe dammit) Removing Melo from that starting lineup and inserting either Patterson or Grant will have a pretty dramatic effect. Both of them are strong enough shooters to also potentially help with spacing issues and boost assists as they both play a stretch 4 role. Grant is obviously the more athletic rim protector type, while Patterson is a vast improvement in awareness and defensive positioning. If we lose PG though, I am not sure what happens to our starting lineup. At that point a trade would almost certainly be in the works as we don't have an alternative on our bench for him right now.
My predictions...

1. Paul George is staying. I honestly think he stays, and I think Melo moving on would probably help with that.

2. Melo gets traded

3. Grant will start at PF Next year unless they keep him coming off the bench.

4. Not sure at this point because I assume draft will come into play, but no idea how.

5. I wouldn't be shocked to see almost anybody get moved. This team needs rid of Melo, but also needs serious scoring off the bench. This offseason is going be wild, IMHO.

6. Adams becomes much more active on offense next season, maybe even some pick and pop. I don't know if people know this but he CAN shoot reportedly. He just hasn't been asked to in our current set up.

7. They better next year than this year was, but I don't know how much.
 
Jun 9, 2008
403
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The Water
#6
My predictions...

1. Paul George is staying. I honestly think he stays, and I think Melo moving on would probably help with that.

2. Melo gets traded

3. Grant will start at PF Next year unless they keep him coming off the bench.

4. Not sure at this point because I assume draft will come into play, but no idea how.

5. I wouldn't be shocked to see almost anybody get moved. This team needs rid of Melo, but also needs serious scoring off the bench. This offseason is going be wild, IMHO.

6. Adams becomes much more active on offense next season, maybe even some pick and pop. I don't know if people know this but he CAN shoot reportedly. He just hasn't been asked to in our current set up.

7. They better next year than this year was, but I don't know how much.
They can’t trade Melo. He has a no trade clause. Melo has all the power this summer. Best bet is a large buyout. People have this crazy idea that you can just trade anyone at anytime lol it depends on the players status and contract terms. The Thunder knew what they were getting when they traded for him.

The Thunder can’t really afford to keep Grant. He will test the market.

Adams has a nice shot but his offensive role is to help Westbrook get open shots and get to the lane. Pick & Roll. Russ would not like Adams shooting over passing. Russ wants his stats. Adams shooting more hinders Russ.
 

El Gato Bandito

that log had a child
Jan 5, 2009
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#7
Yeah Melo isn't getting traded, he is either exercising his player option and staying another year to get that fat paycheck, or he can decline that player options for the final year so he can be a FA signing to play somewhere for less money that is maybe a better fit.
 

teibbor

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Jul 29, 2004
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#8
Yeah Melo isn't getting traded, he is either exercising his player option and staying another year to get that fat paycheck, or he can decline that player options for the final year so he can be a FA signing to play somewhere for less money that is maybe a better fit.
Dont think B is realistic. I think the better chance is he accepts a lower buyout amount around 20M and then goes on to sign with someone else. No way he just walks completely away.
 

GodsPeace

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#9
They can’t trade Melo. He has a no trade clause. Melo has all the power this summer. Best bet is a large buyout. People have this crazy idea that you can just trade anyone at anytime lol it depends on the players status and contract terms. The Thunder knew what they were getting when they traded for him.

The Thunder can’t really afford to keep Grant. He will test the market.

Adams has a nice shot but his offensive role is to help Westbrook get open shots and get to the lane. Pick & Roll. Russ would not like Adams shooting over passing. Russ wants his stats. Adams shooting more hinders Russ.
I'm under no illusion that trading Melo will be easy. He does have all the power, but the key will be finding a spot. Agree that buyout is more likely. Presti seems adept at unexpected trades though.

Grant will likely test the market. I do not want to lose that guy whatsoever.

Adams shooting will never likely be a mainstay, but adding a wrinkle to the pick and roll could be beneficial to him and Russ both for stats reasons. Think Serge Ibaka, but modified with less range attack. Adams needs to be more involved more often in the offense beyond screening. In fairness, shooting in practice is vastly different from games. We'll just have to wait and see.
 

GodsPeace

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Aug 20, 2004
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#10
Yeah Melo isn't getting traded, he is either exercising his player option and staying another year to get that fat paycheck, or he can decline that player options for the final year so he can be a FA signing to play somewhere for less money that is maybe a better fit.
If only Melo was already wealthy. Maybe then he would consider declining. He won't, but it would be incredibly helpful.
 
Dec 19, 2012
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#11
If only Melo was already wealthy. Maybe then he would consider declining. He won't, but it would be incredibly helpful.
I'd be surprised if Melo was in a Thunder jersey next year. It's just a matter of how it happens. I don't think he walks from the money, so he'll either request a trade or get bought out. Both sides are motivated, the Thunder can't afford him and couldn't find a way to make him work, and Melo wants to start and still be one of "the guys" that the team goes to. The culture fit is really poor for Melo with his late season comments.
 
Feb 27, 2018
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Tulsa
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#12
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City Thunder improved its depth on Thursday night, selecting Devon Hall and Kevin Hervey in the second round of the NBA draft and reportedly trading for Hamidou Diallo, the 45th overall pick, from the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets got Diallo in a trade from Dallas, which drafted him.

“It’s a real team effort to get these things done, and I am really excited about the guys we were able to add this evening,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said at a late-night news conference. “Anytime you are picking in the late 50s, your main objective is to shift the odds and give yourself a chance of finding a player that has a chance to play in the NBA.”


With just two picks in the draft, Presti opted to stay put at Nos. 53 and 57 instead of moving up. The news of the trade with the Hornets was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski following the draft. That trade, which Presti said he could not comment on, will not become official until July 6, according to Wojnarowski.




Hall, 22, was the 53rd pick and played at Virginia for four seasons, averaging 11.7 points per game as a senior. He shot 89.4 percent from the free-throw line and 43.2 percent from 3-point range last season. He started in every game during his junior and senior seasons.


“We had him in here for a workout and got time with him at the the Portsmouth Invitational, so we feel like we know him really well,” said Will Dawkins, Thunder vice president of identification & intelligence. “He’s a guy who was an All-ACC defender and improved his shooting each year. We are interested in seeing him get on the floor and fit in with our other wings.”
Link
 
Feb 27, 2018
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Tulsa
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#13
“Paul George and his representation, we built a relationship built on transparency, trust and collaboration,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said Thursday following the draft. “I am happy to say that’s continued during the period of time that the season ended until now, which I think says a great deal about Paul George. It’s just how he operates. Things don’t change.”

...

“We’ve had several conversation with Carmelo’s representation,” Presti said. “I wish I could tell you a whole lot has changed since the end of the season, but we are still in June and the season doesn’t start until October. We will continue to have that dialogue going forward, but I can’t speak to what he is going to do with the early termination option.”
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