One of the contributing factors in OKC’s early season slump was starting shooting guard Terrance Ferguson’s shooting woes. Ferguson may not be the game changer his team needs at the SG position, but his spot as a role player matters. Through the first seven games, he was 7-24 from the field and 1-14 from three.
Ferguson needed some help to boosts his confidence. As The Oklahoman reported last week, Westbrook sought him out in order to send a message to get him back on track.
It was midnight, Terrance Ferguson was on his way to the gym after a tough loss, and he got a call from Russell Westbrook.
“Where you at?” Westbrook asked.
Ferguson told him, and Westbrook responded, “Ok, I’ll be there in 20.”
Since that conversation, Ferguson has gone 12-29 from the floor (41%) and 8-22 from three (36%) over a 5 game stretch. It was capped by Ferguson’s strong play against Western rivals the Houston Rockets, where Ferguson hit 4-9 from 3-point range, keying the victory.
This approach apparently is typical of Westbrook says Donovan stating he did the same for one of their rookies a couple years back.
“He could have went out to dinner,” Ferguson said, “he could have went home after a bad game, he could have done anything. But it was like, ‘I’m going to meet you at the gym, we’re going to talk, we’re going to get through this together.’ … That means a lot.”
Ferguson’s mental slump likely has resulted in him trying to think too much and not let the game come to him naturally, a shift that has been notable over the past week. Mental preparation comes before the game but if you mix too much of it into the game itself your mind blocks your natural ability. Obviously this happens to everyone but it is good to see the support that he received from his team.
Ferguson still has a ways to go before he can be considered a reliable shooting guard for the Thunder, but it is a positive sign in the right direction.