Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Issues At Bay

The Oklahoma City Thunder are a pretty good basketball team when they have that Russell Westbrook guy out on the court. When he's on the bench things get a little ugly.

No player on the Thunder bench had positive +/- in Sunday's game. Westbrook led the team with a +14, but when he's out of the game the Thunder have trouble getting anything going offensively.

Something has to change for the Thunder to drastically alter the momentum in this series. Part of that is shortening the rotation. Just like last year when Billy Donovan staggered Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, he must do the same thing against the Rockets.

Victor Oladipo hasn't had a good series. He's been streaky and his confidence doesn't seem to be very high. But, for Oklahoma City to comeback he must become their second best player. The backup point guard situation is a mess. Neither Norris Cole or Semaj Christon can run a second unit effectively. So why not stagger the minutes between Westbrook and Oladipo?

Let Oladipo run the second unit as point guard, a position he ran frequently during his tenure with the Orlando Magic. This would allow the second unit to have some sort of playmaking ability with Westbrook on the bench, and hopefully an opportunity for Westbrook to breathe a little while he's there.

Also Taj Gibson has to play more. I understand what Billy Donovan is trying to do. The Rockets are littered with three-point shooters, so he wants to counter it by going small and matching their quickness (Oklahoma City's three-point defense is a whole different story). Gibson is rugged defender with the capability of knocking down shots in the post, or from 15 feet away.

In the one game they won, Gibson took 20 points on 13 shots.

The Thunder's season could end tonight, but with the right adjustments they could push the pressure against the Rockets

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