Erik Horne (The Oklahoman) spoke with Andre Roberson’s father about being cautiously optimistic for Roberson’s return to the court this season: “I think he’s at that point where training camp will tell a whole lot.” Despite national chatter that the Thunder can scrap for a playoff spot with a healthy roster, it’s still uncertain when Andre Roberson will return and if he’ll even be able to play extended minutes. Since his last game, Jan. 27, 2018, the Thunder has transformed. With Russell Westbrook, Jerami Grant and Paul George traded, the Western Conference loaded, and uncertainty around the futures of Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari, Roberson playing immediately isn’t as high of a priority as the previous two seasons.”
Horne also covered Danilo Gallinari’s performance in Italy’s blowout of Angola: “Gallinari was less splashy offensively than in Game 1 against the Philippines, finishing a couple of dunks while struggling to finish against contact and missing an open 3-point attempt. He excelled more at the dirty work. His involvement as a screener opened opportunities for teammates to create. He fought on the offensive glass to give Italy second-chance opportunities. But Gallinari had a couple of possessions in the first half that showed his versatility at his size off the dribble. In the first quarter, he had a drive and dunk, then a long jumper in transition after bringing the ball up. Both came against pretty soft defense.”
In a “Ball in the Family” episode, LiAngelo Ball says the Thunder had interest in giving him a Summer League look. (H/T Ralph Orense of ClutchPoints). Theory: some early feet-wetting on dealing with the Ball family would have been more about LaMelo as a draft prospect down the road than LiAngelo as a flier now.
Speaking of the OKC savior-to-be, Ricky O’Donnell (SBNation) scouts the youngest Ball and likes what he sees: “Ball’s vision is the first thing that stands out. He always keeps his eyes up the court and has a keen awareness of where his teammates are going to be. He’s already programmed to find shooters dotting the three-point line. He’s comfortable throwing passes with either hand when he’s on the move. He also plays with a unique sense of creativity that uses overhand and right-handed hooks passes that combine velocity and accuracy. There could have been another entire reel of quality passes Ball threw to teammate who couldn’t corral them.”
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander just didn’t want to go to China for FIBA play this summer:
Nate Duncan and Danny Leroux both give the Thunder an “A” offseason grade on the Dunc’d On podcast:
Bobby Marks (ESPN) reports that the Thunder agreed to a team-friendly buyout of Patrick Patterson’s contract: