OKC Thunder: What you need to know about the seven newest Thunder players

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: October 14, 2012 at 6:58 pm •  Published: October 14, 2012
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photo - From left, Hasheem Thabeet, Perry Jones III and Andy Rautins are three of the seven new Thunder players vying for a roster spot.
Photo illustration by Phillip Baeza; Photos by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
From left, Hasheem Thabeet, Perry Jones III and Andy Rautins are three of the seven new Thunder players vying for a roster spot. Photo illustration by Phillip Baeza; Photos by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

What they're saying: “He has a good feel for the game. He has a good sense of where to be. He's an offensive rebounder. He gets us extra possessions with his tap outs. And he has some toughness.” — Scott Brooks.

Hollis Thompson

Age: 21

Position: Small forward

Height: 6-8

Weight: 215

College: Georgetown

Last played: Georgetown

2011-12 stats: 12.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.5 apg, 31.1 mpg.

Claim to fame: Ranked sixth in the Big East in field-goal percentage last year and second in 3-point percentage.

Has a skill: Thompson is an excellent 3-point shooter who has textbook form. He's most deadly when his feet are set and can be a spot-up shooter.

Needs to drill: Defense. It's becoming clear that the Thunder isn't interested in playing offensive specialists who are liabilities on the other end. If Thompson wants to truly make an impact, he'll have to learn how to contain wing players at the NBA level.

What they're saying: “Very good shooter. Runs the floor very well. Very athletic. He's a real good young player.” — Daequan Cook.

DeAndre Liggins

Age: 24

Position: Shooting guard

Height: 6-6

Weight: 210

College: Kentucky

Last played: Orlando

2011-12 stats: 1.9 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 0.3 apg, 6.8 mpg.

Claim to fame: Defense and toughness.

Has a skill: Liggins is walking proof that playing with heart can indeed be a skill. He hustles every second he's on the court and doesn't mind doing the dirty work to help his team win.

Needs to drill: Perimeter shooting. When you see a player hesitate on open 3-pointers, you know there's a problem, whether technical or mental. If Liggins can shore up his shooting, he could develop into a nice role player.

What they're saying: “He plays defense with everything he has. And you love guys that play with their hearts out every possession.” — Scott Brooks.

Andy Rautins

Age: 25

Position: Shooting guard

Height: 6-4

Weight: 190

College: Syracuse

Last played: CB Lucentum Alicante (Spain)

2011-12 stats: 7.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.2 apg, 16.0 mpg.

Claim to fame: Sharp-shooting ability at Syracuse.

Has a skill: Rautins is in Daequan Cook territory as a pure shooter. He's the type of player whose skills make the entire arena, home or away, think his shot is going in as soon as it leaves his hands.

Needs to drill: Creating his own shot is not something Rautins will ever be asked to do at the NBA level. But a blueprint for Rautins would be J.J. Redick, who entered the league as an even better shooter than Rautins but carved out a career by expanding his game and venturing inside the 3-point line.

What they're saying: “Every team can use a shooter. That's what I do. That's my craft. I feel like I could help out this team a great deal.” — Andy Rautins.

Walker Russell Jr.

Age: 30

Position: Point guard

Height: 6-0

Weight: 170

College: Jacksonville State

Last played: Detroit

2011-12 stats: 3.0 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 2.1 apg, 12.8 mpg.

Claim to fame: Son of former NBA player Walker Russell; recorded 19 assists in an NBA D-League game last year.

Has a skill: Russell describes himself as an old-school point guard, the type that makes everybody else better by creating shots for teammates.

Needs to drill: Perimeter shooting is not Russell's strength. He's streaky at best, which could limit his ability to break down defenses if opponents aren't forced to respect his outside shot.

What they're saying: “He definitely defends.” — Russell Westbrook.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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