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The Thunder Report Card: Questionable Pieces

The Thunder Report Card: Questionable Pieces

Ty Jerome- Grade: B-

 

No one expected much from Ty Jerome coming from the Suns where he only averaged three points per game. But when given more minutes on the Thunder and learning from Mark Daigneault’s system, he finished the season averaging 11 points per game. 

 

Daigneault praised his work ethic in the gym and his confidence grew from seeing his hard work pay off on the floor.

 

Once Theo Maledon became the starting point guard due to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s injury, Jerome stepped up to lead the second unit. In this position, he showed sound court vision and grew into a more consistent shooter. 

 

His best game was against Cleveland in April where he shot 56 percent from behind the arc and finished with 23 points. Jerome shot so well throughout the season that he was top 10 in the league in bench scoring. Keeping a hot hand like this could be beneficial for Oklahoma City to keep in its back pocket.

 

Svi Mykhailiuk- Grade: B

 

The Thunder acquired Svi Mykhailiuk from the Pistons in February. When Mykhailiuk played in Detroit, he was averaging six points per game and shooting 33 percent from behind the arc. After one month in Oklahoma City he doubled his scoring output, recording 12 points per game and shooting 39 percent from three-point range. 

 

“He’s kind of fearless on offense, he’s not bashful,” Isaiah Roby said.”He knows exactly what his role is, he knows what he’s good at and he attacks the game on both sides of the floor.” 

Even though the biggest strength is his shot behind the arc, Mykhailiuk proved he’s more versatile than anyone realized. He began to penetrate the lane, force steals, even recorded a few electric dunks throughout the season. 

 

“He obviously can really score, but the thing that’s been most impressive about him is how complete of a player he is,” Daigneault said.”He’s more versatile than he gets credit for.”

 

His contract is expiring though, so Mykhailiuk’s future with the Thunder is yet to be determined.

 

Isaiah Roby- Grade: C+

 

Isaiah Roby went through a tough season as his assignment changed game to game. As his position constantly shifted, Roby did his best in whatever role was expected of him. Although because his spot in the offense was never consistent, Roby struggled to find his true skill set.

 

Roby showed glimpses of potential in certain areas though. He always knew his spacing in offensive progressions and displayed aggression on defense. But where Roby shone the brightest was in transition. Whether he was forcing the steal, pushing the pace of the play, or going coast to coast he proved to be dangerous in transition.

 

“It was great to see Roby taking different challenges playing different positions at times,” Al Horford said.”I believe his future is very bright.”

 

Kenrich Williams- Grade: B+

 

In the beginning of the season Kenrich Williams quickly became known as “Kenny Hustle” for his consistent effort on both ends of the floor. Williams is the kind of player every playoff contending team needs: someone who takes care of the basketball, sprints for every loose ball, and is a key contributor on offensive plays. 

 

As underrated as the fundamentals are, the NBA is all about scoring points. Over the season’s progression Williams became more and more comfortable taking shots from outside and driving to the rim. This was evident in the March 11 matchup against the Kings where he was 4-of-5 from behind the arc and finished with 20 points. 

 

“He’s a mature player on offense and I think a lot of his percentages this year is a result of his shot selection,” Daigneault said.” He takes good ones.”

 

Williams will never be the most explosive player on the floor, but you can always count on him to deliver on the intangibles. 

 

“He just keeps himself ready, it doesn’t matter what role you put him in you know when you put him in the game, he finishes the game just as hard as he started it,” Diagneault said.

 

Moses Brown- Grade: A-

 

Brown was given a few minutes here and there in January, but he lacked confidence in the paint and had a tough time moving on defense. He then spent the month of February playing with Oklahoma City Blue to grow his comfortability and skill set. After Brown returned to the Thunder in March it was evident his time spent in the G-League was the best possible thing for his game.

 

Brown showed drastic improvement on the offensive and defensive end. During the month of March, he recorded five double doubles out of 11 games. Brown became the Thunder’s most consistent rim protector. Securing rebounds on both ends of the floor, blocking shots, and finishing shots around the basket became Brown’s bread and butter. 

 

The Thunder faced the Clippers in their last game of the season and Brown gave them trouble all night long. He seemed unstoppable in the paint; he shot 12-of-19 from the floor, snatched 18 rebounds, and finished with a season high of 24 points. He was not just bringing the heat on offense though, defensively Brown blocked seven shots.

 

The improvement Brown demonstrated over such a short time frame is impressive. The Thunder would benefit from having a constant force in the paint next season. 

 

“As soon as he got his opportunity, he really embraced it and he took it by storm,” Horford said.

 

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