Now that the dust has settled from Paul George’s wonderful decision to stay loyal to the Oklahoma City Thunder who so brazenly traded for him before the start of last season with no guarantees, it’s time to have a look over the Thunder roster and see where the improvement will come from in the quest for an NBA Championship.
The uncertainty that has now disappeared with PG13’s long term commitment will undoubtedly help, as will another off-season of bonding and pre-season of chemistry. The Thunder lost more than a handful of games last year by single digits on “clunky” late game situations – so you’d expect those to be an anomaly moving forward and the statistics will balance themselves out.
Roberson and his advanced defensive metrics should be back from injury, but the rest of the roster (as it currently sits) is in flux The Thunder are looking to move Carmelo Anthony, they have added Nerlens Noel who is full of potential and rim protection, Raymond Felton returns to continue his reserve role as a veteran leader and floor general and potentially some second round draft picks, but there will be a penchant for internal development.
Enter Terrance “2K” Ferguson.
Ferguson played in 61 games last season and started in a handful of those, although he rarely saw more than a dozen minutes a night. At 20 years old, he is still incredible young and raw, but having already played a year of professional basketball in Australia with the Adelaide 36ers and with his NBA rookie season in the books already, it’s now time to move the needle.
2K is well known for his athleticism, length, and improving long-range shot. All of these could do with a little more polish and consistency, but the tools are most certainly there. In short, he is very well suited to the modern NBA and for the Oklahoma City Thunder roster. OKC have been desperately seeking bench help to keep the scoreboard ticking over when Russell Westbrook sits, and Ferguson was drafted with this role in mind. He was able to do this sporadically last season (as evidenced by games such as his 24 point outing vs the Los Angeles Lakers) but the key will now be to bring some stability and consistency to the role while not killing his team defensively.
It appears as though Ferguson is on the same page. After taking just a week and a half off, he was straight back on the daily grind of workouts, both weight room and court based workouts to give himself the leg up for the upcoming season. There has never been any doubt over his skillset or his work ethic, but Billy Donovan and the rest of the Thunder brass would be pretty happy about his dedication to improving himself and the team.
Fans have already been given a taste of the work that has been put in during the Summer League. Presti has said that OKC like to push their players into roles that are challenging so they can really get a good gauge for where the player is at and what they can do. Although Ferguson hasn’t set the boxscore on fire in the Thunder’s first couple of outings (and has been overshadowed in Game 2 by the impressive display that Hamidou Diallo put on!) he’s already been impressive in the way he is locking in defensively, working hard at both ends of the floor and most importantly, making the extra pass and fitting into the flow of the team out on court. This will be a key component of a Thunder team that has some real firepower out on the floor at times). If Terrance Ferguson can show the steady improvement that a certain raw big man out of Pitt has shown since his rookie year, the Thunder are going to be very well-placed heading forward.
Plus, going head to head with Thunder superstar Paul George (it never gets old typing that!) in practice is only going to improve the skill and strengthen the resolve of the 20 year old phenom.
If Terrance Ferguson can carve out a solid 15-20 minutes per game, expect to see some stark improvement in his numbers. We know he can run the floor and we know he can shoot, so it’s just bumping up those minutes from 12.5 per game to 20mpg and the output will also come. And don’t be surprised if we see a few more of those 20+ point nights this season.
Will Ferguson make a 2nd year leap for the Thunder?
This poll is closed