It was a busy offseason in Oklahoma City
With their first preseason game in the books, it becomes apparent that the Oklahoma City Thunder have the makings for a great season. Both Carmelo Anthony and Paul George looked very comfortable in their new environment in the short time they saw the floor, with Melo shooting 7 of 13 from the field and 3 of 5 from deep in only 19 minutes and George scoring 15 on 6 of 13 with 2 assists and five boards in 26 minutes.
The Thunder did fall to the Rockets, but it was without 2017 MVP Russell Westbrook, Patrick Patterson, and Alex Abrines. Once Westbrook comes back it will give a clearer picture of how the team will look in the regular season. One of the major problems that plagued the Thunder last season was that their team crumbled when Russ wasn’t on the floor, but with their shiny new offseason acquisitions, they should have one star on the floor at all times. With one star always on the hardwood, Oklahoma City should always be able to put the ball in the basket, assuming head coach Billy Donovan knows how to properly space out his big three.
With all of this buzz of having a big three in Oklahoma City, it can’t be understated the importance of signing Patrick Patterson and Raymond Felton. Patterson brings a solid bench presence and can be a perfect three and d guy who can help space the floor for Oklahoma City. With the lack of three-point shooters on Oklahoma City, the addition of Patterson brings in a career 36.8 career three-point shooter which will certainly help the Thunder who, as a team, shot about 31% from deep last season.
Additionally, bringing in Raymond Felton gives the bench a competent veteran point guard who can reliably run the offense. Felton may not look like much, but he is a definite improvement over Semaj Christon and Norris Cole who, for the most part of last season and the playoffs, were incapable of running the offense when Westbrook wasn’t playing. This became very apparent in the Thunder’s first-round playoff exit against Houston, in which they held large leads during most fourth quarters, but only managed to close out one of those games.
With Russell Westbrook’s historic contract signing of $205 million dollars over 5 years, Oklahoma City looks to have their star committed for the future of the team. This contract has caught the eye of Paul George who has said that re-signing with the Thunder shows commitment and that he might be on for the long haul.
Whatever George’s decision, Thunder fans can rest easy knowing that they have an MVP locked up for five more seasons. It is impossible to know how well Oklahoma City will do this season, but with the addition of some of the top guys in the NBA and a few undervalued role players, the Thunder should look to fight for the three seed with the new look Houston Rockets, and attempt to take down the mighty Warriors.