The Thunder picked up its second straight dominant victory in Summer League, beating the Toronto Raptors by a final score of 92-82 today in Las Vegas. Now at 2-1, the Thunder will wait to see who the opponent is for the final game of the preliminary round of games.
Wearing #35 comes with heavy expectations in Oklahoma City, and Dozier will never reach the heights of the former occupant of that jersey, but he’s slowly but surely showing improvement with each and every game this summer. With 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists, Dozier put his mark on the game.
What is the most impressive part of Dozier’s Summer League to me is that he’s built on his performance with each game; steadily finding his role and finding new ways to maximize his skillset within those parameters. This is the type of Summer League that teams are thrilled about. If Dozier keeps this up he may just find himself with another two-way contract this year.
Rashawn has very quickly become one of my favorite players on this OKC summer roster. With 17 points and 12 rebounds, he does so many things right. He’s an absolute beast in the paint, but not through finesse or footwork, rather through smart play and effort.
Much like Dozier, Thomas understands his role and clearly came into summer league with the intention to not just put up big numbers, but to find ways to put up big numbers within his role — the antithesis of Daniel Hamilton at this point. Thomas finally did show a bit of weakness as he struggled to keep his same level of effort late into the third quarter when he was visibly gassed, but after returning from the bench in the fourth he was back to being the first person down the court in transition, opening up easy buckets for OKC when the team needed it.Terrance Ferguson
Ferg once again played exceptional defense. At one point he contested a shot in the paint, closed out on his man on the perimeter to force a pass, contested the second shot in the paint, then ran back out to the perimeter to prevent another three, before once again forcing a badly missed floater as he used his length to quickly recover onto his man after the closeout. This all occurred on the same possession!
He had a solid first quarter rhythm on offense, but when he came back in during the second quarter, that rhythm was lost. He’s got to find a way to stay consistent even when he has to sit for long stretches on the bench. He did show some exceptional passing from the perimeter with three separate cross-court passes in transition to an open corner three that left the Raptors scratching their heads on how they left the man open.
Hamidou Diallo is legit. He’s showing so many skills: PnR ball handling, off-ball curling, different transition attacks, more than adequate defense, and comfortable shooting both off-the-catch and off-the-dribble. This doesn’t mean he’s a master at all of these things, but rather that he has at least an average understanding of a wide array of the skills necessary to be a high impact player in the future.
The biggest flaw I see right now is that he needs to work on his timing on both his free throw shooting and his jumper. The actual mechanics of the jumper are fine — although I would like to see him leave his follow-through up until the ball reaches the basket — but he’s a half-second late on his release in regards to when he reaches the top of his jump.
But even with the slight flaws in his jumper, he’s showing that he at least has a firm grasp on a multitude of concepts and that within itself is more than you can say about many second or third year players.
This was Kevin Hervey‘s best game. I mentioned in the Game 1 recap that Hervey flashed great defensive footwork but his upper body length wasn’t on that same level, this game was different. Hervey did a great job contesting around the basket and on the perimeter. He’s not a strong enough defender to defend at an average level in the regular season, but he has all the tools to do so and, with a bit of mentorship from Jerami Grant, he could be something unique in the rotation.
Deonte Burton finally found his role. The first two games he failed to score within the role he needed to play and too often monopolized the ball after getting a rebound. When Burton sticks to the perimeter on offense and relies on his quick thinking and touch passes, he’s supremely more impactful. His perimeter defense needs a lot of work, but he’s a very smart paint defender that makes me think he does have a bit of Draymond Green-like defensive tenacity in him.
One of the problems that has been an issue every game though is any time he drives to the basket, he likes to jump at the baseline and kick out to the perimeter and it worked correctly only 1-of-6 times today — as shown by his four turnovers. The one time it worked it was a Spurs-like beautiful play, but realistically that’s not a play that will ever work in an actual NBA game with his lack of size and accuracy.
Dakari Johnson scored just 10 points — albeit only 6 FGA — but he ruined Shevon Thompson’s day as Thompson ended with 8 fouls after guarding Johnson for most of the game. Dakari continues to show that even with low usage he’s an impact player who has a bit of Al Horford in him offensively with some truly great high-post passing, but unlike years previous he’s not be given the leeway to handle the ball as much. I’d like to see him control the boards more — with his 7-foot, 255 lbs. frame, he should be able to dominate many of these smaller summer league players.
Last but not least, it wouldn’t be the Oklahoma City Thunder if the team wasn’t missing its free throws. The Thunder got to the line for 31 tries from the stripe but managed to make just 16. The coaching staff needs to focus on free throw shooting for both this summer roster and the regular season roster because Thunder fans are tired of this story.