NBA

Thunder News Roundup: New Uniforms, Dakari Johnson, and Enes Kanter as Woj

Thunder News Roundup: New Uniforms, Dakari Johnson, and Enes Kanter as Woj

While the late part of June and the early part of August had a slew of NBA news coming across the wire, the last week or so has been a slow trickle at best concerning NBA information.

Let’s take a look at the last few days of Thunder news and notes:

New NBA Uniforms

The NBA is switching from outfitters: Nike will now be responsible for designing and manufacturing team uniforms. No longer will teams wear traditional home and road uniforms (although certain teams like the Cavaliers had been eschewing that tradition for a while now), but instead will have four different combinations to choose from, each with their own naming convention.

So far, only the Kings’ and Warriors’ ‘traditional’ uniforms have been released, with only minimal design changes. Honestly, the biggest change to my eye is the big swoosh where a logo was once absent.

I’ll be interested to see how the Thunder’s uniforms are altered by their new outfitter. As Daily Thunder’s Weston Shepherd points out, this move effectively phases out the orange sunset uniforms and the sleeved “Pride” uniforms.

The Come-Up of Dakari Johnson

Dakari Johnson has been on the Thunder roster since he was drafted in 2015, but few fans have ever seen the Kentucky big man in action because he’s spent all of his time across the street with the Thunder’s G-League affiliate, the Blue.

He’s worked hard to expand his game, and it’s shown in the Orlando Summer League, Jay Siskin of A Sea of Blue writes.

Johnson is still just 21 years old, and his transformation so far has been impressive. Will he be able to make the Thunder roster?

Enes Kanter’s Wild Summer

Nobody has had a weirder summer than Enes Kanter. Erik Horne sat down with the Thunder big and discussed a lot, including his detainment in Romania and his pre-emptive tweet about Rudy Gay supposedly signing with the Thunder.

He just wanted to be like Woj.

Kanter on the Rudy Gay tweet:

“I seriously thought he signed with us, but they just didn’t say it publicly,” Kanter told The Oklahoman Tuesday from New York City.

“After I saw he signed with the Spurs, I was like, ‘man I need to get a new source.’”

Another interesting tidbit is that Kanter is supposedly working on his three-pointers. The last Thunder big to emphasize outside shooting was Serge Ibaka, and that didn’t end in a fairy tale fashion. In today’s league, though, stepping out a bit is practically a requirement.

Thunder Defense: Stingiest in the League?

Thunder insider and frequent 107.7 The Franchise guest Fred Katz writes about the re-tooled Thunder defense. While they were no slouch on that end of the ball last season, the addition of Paul George and the retention of Andre Roberson could make defense an OKC speciality.

One popular trope is that, of all the teams in the league, the Thunder may be the best equipped to handle the death-wielding, flame-throwing, world-crushing starting lineup of the Golden State Warriors. Even without George, the Thunder defense is scary:

  • Russell Westbrook is a riverboat gambler, but he typically posts one of the best steals tallies in the league. PG’s offensive contributions should help Westbrook expend a bit more defensive energy.
  • Andre Roberson is one of the three best perimeter defenders in the league right now. He’s a terror on the wing, and capable of switching out to a big if needed.
  • Patrick Patterson is no defensive stalwart, but his ability to switch on screens will help with Billy Donovan’s defensive philosophy of throwing multiple bodies at the other team’s best scorers.
  • Steven Adams didn’t get paid $100 million for his prodigious offense. His talents lie on the defensive end of the spectrum, and he’ll be free to focus on that with the addition of PG.

 

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