Dennis Schröder was named player of the week thanks to his stat-stuffing heroics in the Thunder’s 4-0 stretch.
Joe Mussatto (The Oklahoman) on Schröder’s case for Sixth Man of the Year: “Schroder hasn’t started this season, but he’s the No. 1 point guard in the league, ahead of Damian Lillard, according to ESPN’s real plus-minus. Schroder’s net rating is tops on the team. The Thunder are outscoring opponents by 6.8 points per 100 possessions with Schroder on the floor. Schroder has no logical explanation to explain his surge. Instead, he offered an emotional one. “I got a baby now,” Schroder said through a grin. “That calms me down. I’m just putting it all out there every night. I got a family who’s behind me. Ups and downs, you know, it don’t matter.”
Dwyane Wade says Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is special:
Royce Young on the Thunder’s 14-spot in the latest ESPN power rankings: “Four straight wins put the Thunder on the right side of .500, but even more so, they’re 9-3 dating to Nov. 29. They’ve found a rhythm and an identity, playing egoless, fun basketball. Dennis Schroder is making a strong case as an early front-runner for the Sixth Man Award and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander set a career high with 32 points against the Suns, then matched it Sunday against the Clippers.”
Adrain Wojnarowski (ESPN) reports that the Jazz traded for Jordan Clarkson and waived Jeff Green to make room for forward Rayjon Tucker. At least for a while, I’d cross Utah off the Thunder’s potential suitors list as they have made bets on smaller, cheaper changes at the positions of need the available OKC players would address. RIP, Chris Paul for Mike Conley trade machine fun.
John Hollinger (The Athletic) predicts there will be more moves in this vein, rather than big blockbusters: “So, while fans may ask Santa for a Chris Paul under the tree, the reality is that trade season is much more likely to involve stocking-stuffers such as Jordan Clarkson, Malik Beasley or Dennis Schroder. These might not be hot names who get radio jocks in a lather, but they won’t cost a fortune, have matchable salaries, and can plug clear lineup holes.”
In the same piece, Hollinger cites Thunder G-Leaguer DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell as a promising player to watch: “Akoon-Purcell has shown a strong handle for his size and funky Euro-stepping finishes. His handle is strong enough to play on the ball at 6-5, while his 3-point shot seems juuuuuust capable enough to keep defenders honest. Akoon-Purcell also rebounds very well for his size and should be able to guard 2s and 3s (he played 4 in college).”
There’s some Thunder talk in the latest Dunc’d On podcast (54:58 mark):
A surprise: per Ian Levy (Nyon Calculus) Steven Adams is among the league leaders in holding the ball. He’s racked up a lot of time of possession without dribbling, while initiating offense from the elbow.
Chandler Parsons tells Dale Zanine (USA Today) he’s healthy and frustrated that he’s stuck to the bench in Atlanta: “It’s always been about health with me and I’m the most healthy I’ve been in a long time. I’ve just got to sustain that and keep managing it. My knees feel great, my body feels great. Hopefully, it’s just a blessing in disguise that I’m not playing now and I’ll be ready. It sucks, but at the same time I’m preserving my body and like I said… I’m dying to play but it’s out of my control.”
Think he’d be happy getting DNP’d behind Mike Muscala?