Wednesday Bolts: 9.5.18
Nick Gallo sat down for a Q-&-A with Abdel Nader: “It’s great. I met a lot of the younger guys mostly, and even Russ, PG, Raymond (Felton). Everybody has been great. It’s a great group of guys. High character guys. I’m just really excited to get to be able to start playing with this team and build chemistry on the court as well as off the court… I play very hard all the time. I’m very versatile. I can do a lot of things. I can defend multiple positions and play multiple positions on the offensive end. So I can bring a lot of things to the table. I just hope to help us win some games.”
Jared Donnelly (NBA Analysis Network) on whether or not the Dennis Schroder deal will be a bust: “Figuring to lead the second unit, Schroeder’s time likely won’t coincide too much with Andre Roberson, which is helpful in many respects. While a great defender, nobody is going to mistake Roberson for someone that demands attention anywhere outside of the key, saving the occasional night he gets hot from the corner. Alex Abrines is a good enough shooter but struggles to get to his spots with or without the ball to get open looks. Being a good shooter that can’t get shots is like being a great chef that has an empty pantry. Not doing anyone much good. The other issue with Schroeder is personality fit and off-court concerns. An arrest in September of 2017 had Schroeder staring down the barrel of possible felony charges. There are reports from Atlanta that he was far from a locker room favorite, griping about a bevy of things, even after being handed the reigns as the team’s undisputed starting PG after Jeff Teague was moved in 2016. A move made, at least in part, because Schroeder had both earned and lobbied for more minutes from his coaches. The last time OKC had a backup PG that wanted more minutes, didn’t shoot well, and was a disruption in the locker room was Reggie Jackson. That ended somewhat bitterly when he was moved to Detroit on a crazy trade deadline afternoon.”
Speaking of Schroder:
Cody Taylor (Thunder Wire) on if the Thunder should pursue Luol Deng: “With the ability to sign one more player to the roster, should the Thunder pursue Deng? It appears as though the Thunder could still use some depth behind Paul George at small forward by a proven veteran like Deng as the team will be relying on a combination of Terrance Ferguson and Abdel Nader. The idea has been floated on social media as some have speculated whether or not the Thunder should look to add Deng, but the reality is he may not prove to be a good fit at this time. Deng, a 14-year NBA veteran, has proven to be a good two-way player during his time in the league and it was only three years ago that he averaged 12.3 points per game with the Heat. As the Thunder showed this offseason, the front office prioritized adding young, athletic players to the roster and adding Deng would go against that philosophy.”
Chris Bengel (24/7 Sports) on Nerlens Noel having a lot to prove this season: “Nerlens Noel was one of the top prospects in the 2013 NBA Draft and landed in a good situation with the Philadelphia 76ers. “The Process” was in the early stages in the City of Brotherly Love and Noel started off his career with two very strong seasons with at least 9.9 points and 8.1 rebounds in each of those campaigns. Then the team had a logjam in the frontcourt during the 2016-17 season with Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, and Richaun Holmes also on the roster in addition to Noel. At the 2017 trade deadline, Noel was traded to the Dallas Mavericks and started off his tenure strong, but saw his playing time dip in a big way. In the offseason, Noel signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder and figures to be the primary backup to Steven Adams at the center position. Noel is in a great situation in Oklahoma City where he isn’t going to be expected to do a ton offensively. A resurgence from Noel this coming season is certainly in the realm of possibilities.”
John Chick (The Score) grades the offseason of every Northwest Division team: “The Thunder get top marks for re-signing George alone after few believed they’d be able to. He, Russell Westbrook, and Steven Adams remain a force to be reckoned with, and the departure of the stubborn Anthony could turn out to be a case of addition by subtraction. However, OKC’s failure to address spacing this summer is a concern, and some are questioning how Schroder will integrate into a backup role behind Westbrook. Grade: A-”
Around the League: What if Steve Nash flipped his mindset?…. LeBron says he stands with Nike…. Doc Rivers hates the rift in the 2008 Celtics team…. Can the Warriors surpass the modern NBA’s greatest dynasties?…. Nate McMillan signed a multi-year extension in Indiana.