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Oklahoma City Thunder: How Andre Roberson's gamble on himself paid off

Former Colorado player Andre Roberson heard plenty of people say his decision to turn pro was a mistake. But he won that gamble, going 26th overall to the Thunder.
by Anthony Slater Published: June 29, 2013

And relentless, too, in his defensive effort, which is largely what attracted teams.

Roberson is lengthy, with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, regularly disrupting offensive flow with deflections. He averaged 2.2 steals per game last season (second in the conference) and 1.3 blocks (eighth in the conference).

“His defensive impact is certainly supported by the numbers, as well as what you're seeing when you evaluate a player on film or in person,” Sam Presti said.

“Andre is someone who caught our attention a few years ago. His persistence, his activity and his endurance within the game as a competitor are all signs of a player that's going to continue to improve with hard work and development.”

Of the three rookies, Roberson may have the best chance to make an immediate impact. At 21, he's a bit more older and polished than the other two 19-year-old rookies and, as Presti said, already “knows his game” and “understands his role”.

And part of that role will be guarding the stars in practice, including three-time scoring champ Kevin Durant, who earlier this week said: “It's not like any rookie is going to come in and have an immediate impact, especially on our team.”

“I guess that's a challenge to us,” Roberson said when told of that statement. “I'm willing to take that on for sure. He hasn't seen any of us play yet, I don't think, so he'll be shocked.”