Thunder Notebook: Thursday, October 11
► Russell Westbrook Update
The long-awaited Russell Westbrook injury update is finally here via ESPN’s Royce Young:
“Russell Westbrook is “progressing” and getting nearer to a return Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan said on Thursday, but has not been cleared for full contact practice yet leaving his status for their opening game next week against the Golden State Warriors in question.
Westbrook had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Sept. 12 with a timetable set of four weeks until a re-evaluation. He was re-evalauated this week, and while Westbrook has been participating in more parts of practice — described as “controlled contact” portions — he still needs to clear more benchmarks before being made available.”
Classic Thunder, eh?
Here are Billy Donovan’s full comments on Westbrook and his availability for next week:
With Westbrook’s status still entirely up in the air less than a week before the season opener, it’s reasonable to assume Dennis Schroder will be the starting point guard on opening night. And while you’d certainly prefer to have the former MVP on the court while facing Kevin Durant and his MonStars, the safe play is resting Westbrook and waiting until he’s no less than 100 percent. There’s no use risking it when the other half of the starting backcourt (Andre Roberson) is likely out until early 2019.
Either way, I wouldn’t expect a ton of clarity on this until early next week. Does sound like he’s getting closer.
►Triple-Double Prop Bets
Oddsmakers have spoken when it comes to how many triple-doubles Westbrook will record in the 2018-19 season. According to BetDSI, that number has been set at 22.5.
Over the last four seasons, Westbrook has recorded 11, 18, 42, and 25 triple-doubles respectively. After averaging a triple-double for two consecutive seasons, 22.5 is certainly an obtainable number. Regression may not be a bad thing, but there is money to be made if you’re confident or clairvoyant.
►NBA Scouts Unfiltered
Sports Illustrated has a piece out that features the unfiltered opinions of anonymous NBA scouts. When discussing the Thunder, this stood out:
“I think they would have won that first round series if they had Andre Roberson healthy. His absence changed their whole defensive identity. Put him and George together, and that’s one of the very best perimeter defense duos in the league. Take him away, and they’re scrambling their lineups and they’re just not as imposing. Roberson would have helped so much against Donovan Mitchell.”
Roberson is criminally underrated in pretty much all circles, so this take was refreshing to see. It also drums up a decent amount of pure terror because, as you know, Roberson won’t be available for the first few months of the season. He’s set for reevaluation in early December with a return date coming even later than that. Jump back up and read the scout’s quote again if you’re not sure why that’s such a big deal.
With rampant Hamidou-Mania and a collection of other options to start at shooting guard in the meantime, it’s easy to overlook Roberson’s value and miss what will be lacking for the foreseeable future. He’s a monster cog in the Thunder’s wheel, irreplaceable in terms of his skill set, and there’s no telling when and if he’ll return to the All-NBA caliber defender he has been in the past. Don’t sleep on what his recovery means for this season and the future.
►Thunder Culinary Adventure
I posted this story in the Bolts this morning but it’s worth discussing again — the Thunder are really going all out with the concession options this season. I mean, check out some of these new culinary experiences:
- Concourse Level:
- Wing’n It — Hot wings are a sports food and I’ll allow it. Continue.
- Budweiser Brewhouse — Pasta dishes with a specialty in shrimp ceviche. Because who else was tired of smuggling your own shrimp ceviche into Loud City?
- Angie’s Southern Kitchen — Single servings of pie to satisfy your sweet tooth. With Oklahoma sporting an adult obesity rate of 36.5 percent (third-highest in the US), this just feels like low hanging fruit. (Don’t ask for fruit)
- Club Level:
- Thunder Drive — Pizza and taco pocket pies with a specialty in caprese. I don’t know what’s going on here at all.
- Gastro Pub — Introducing Impossible™ meat — a plant-based meat substitute. I’m not going to say anything but just know that I’m impossibly upset.
- Suite Level: 50 oz. Porterhouse steaks are now available in the suites. Now this — this is what the people wanted.
Snarkiness aside, it’s cool to see the organization making additions to the fan experience at ball games. I look forward to carefully examining every menu this season and ultimately ordering a hot dog.
A quick Thunder hype video courtesy of the organization itself:
Five days, folks. Five days.
That’s all. Enjoy your Thursday evening.