With less than 60 days until the Oklahoma City Thunder start training camp, we here at Thunder Obsessed took on the big offseason questions. Here’s what we had to say.
With Derek Fisher and Kendrick Perkins return to OKC, despite fan approval, is this a good move?
Rashad Alaiyan, @RashadAlaiyan: Derek Fisher is 39 years old. He passed his prime years ago, and he will only play a minimal role on the Thunder. It would have made much more sense to bring him on in an assistant coaching role. Perkins, on the other hand has struggled the past few years, and is a liability on offense. The Thunder would have been better off if they had decided to amnesty him.
Ryan Querbach, @RyanQuerbach: I’m okay with Fisher returning, especially considering his postseason performance and the fact there were some attempts made to get other guys like Mike Miller and Dorrell Wright to join the team. It’s also worth mentioning that Fisher took the veteran minimum. I can’t decide how I feel about the Perkins situation. It doesn’t make a whole lot of financial sense to amnesty the guy, considering OKC would still be eating his contract. However, he’s also coming off a pretty awful season and is the source of a lot of frustration. It seems he’ll be with the Thunder until that heavy contract is up though, so here’s hoping that he rebounds with a more productive season.
Joe Buettner, @JetRito: The move does not improve the team’s chances at a title. Derek Fisher has the big game experience you want in your point guard, but I don’t see Fisher making much of an impact a year older. Kendrick Perkins still does not provide much versatility, and only holds back production in the front court. I wish Presti would have ventured out for upgrades, but maybe to Presti, they weren’t any.
Jason Damiano, @JDonSports: Despite my basketball instincts telling me to hate these decisions, I can’t help but acknowledge that the Thunder’s main goal this year is post-season success. Derek Fisher will probably be pretty bad during the regular season, and if he takes time from Reggie Jackson or Jeremy Lamb, he will become an extremely frustrating figure on the team. But let’s be honest: we all know he is going to hit a couple of nice threes in the playoffs, and that is more than worth the veteran’s minimum. Kendrick Perkins, on the other hand, costs a lot more money, and is completely inept offensively. But, he’s a “locker room guy” and he plays good defense against the best big men in basketball. Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and others will all be lurking come playoff time, so I can’t call the non-amnesty a failure until we see the final result of the season.
Was the NBA Draft a failure for the Thunder?
Rashad Alaiyan: It is unfair to call this year’s draft a failure since none of the draft picks have seen any playing time in a real NBA game. Give it a few years, and then we can decide whether it was a failure or not.
Ryan Querbach: It depends on how you look at it. If you wanted someone to make an instant impact, then yes. There’s no telling whether or not any of the Thunder’s picks will amount to anything, but if they do it won’t be immediate. It’s hard to call it a failure until we can see what these picks can do when given the chance. That being said, it would have been nice to get someone to help now, especially considering Kevin Martin’s departure and Perkins’s struggles.
Joe Buettner: The draft wasn’t a failure IF Steven Adams turns out to be what we all want him to be. Perkin’s replacement. However, if the Thunder don’t find a role player in this class after failing to move up to add a formidable player such as Victor Oladipo, then yes, I’d say it was a failure and another missed opportunity by the front office.
Jason Damiano: Only time will tell, but it will be very difficult for it to ever be called a success. The final piece of the James Harden trade was added with the selection of Steven Adams, but it will take quite some time before the Thunder really know what they have. He is very raw, and definitely won’t be relevant this season, but there is definitely potential down the road. I doubt that he will ever be an all-star, but does that make the draft itself a failure? Or the Harden trade? If Steven Adams turns out to be the best player selected 12th or later, the pick has to be considered a success, regardless of how they ended up with it. Andre Roberson and Grant Jerrett look like they could be decent rotation players as well, but no one they selected will be helping them win any games this season.
Who’s going to be the better sixth man for the Thunder, Reggie Jackson or Jeremy Lamb?
Rashad Alaiyan: Reggie Jackson will definitely be the better sixth man option off the bench. He saw a lot of playing time during the playoffs, and that experience will surely carry over to next season. Clearly, he is no James Harden, but he will be a viable option to back-up Westbrook in the coming season.
Ryan Querbach: I’m going to say Jackson, just because I think he’s more ready and I think he’s better at creating his own shot. Lamb hasn’t had many opportunities to prove himself just yet, so I think the role is Jackson’s to lose. However, I anticipate a combination of these two on the second team, so there may not prove to be a clear-cut sixth man.
Joe Buettner: There’s more to go off from Jackson’s big minutes in the playoffs, so right now, I’d go with Reggie Jackson. However, Lamb could turn out to be a better overall player, and could surpass Jackson in the future. For now, though, Jackson is the answer in the backcourt, but still has much to prove with the Thunder losing Kevin Martin after one season.
Jason Damiano: I think the Thunder will be a better team if it becomes Jeremy Lamb. Reggie Jackson is the better player at this point in time, but Jeremy Lamb could fit in beautifully as a more traditional shooting guard. Putting Reggie Jackson and Russell Westbrook on the court together creates some spacing issues, and they are similar enough that it would be best to have only one of them on the court when possible. If Jeremy Lamb can develop into the three point shooting threat the Thunder need him to be, he will be the better fit to fill Kevin Martin’s spot off the bench from last season.