The Oklahoman staff writers discuss three topics surrounding Andre Roberson:
1. Andre Roberson's first NBA season was ___________.
Darnell Mayberry (beat writer): Unexpected. He went from a relative unknown, to a first-round draft pick, to a starter for a championship level team. He got rare experience that will help him going forward.
Anthony Slater (beat writer): About what I expected. We heard how great a rebounder he was. He showed it. We heard about his relentless energy and disruptive perimeter defense. We saw it. We heard about his awkward shot and inability to hit a three. We definitely saw it. Overall, a solid first season for Roberson when given the chance. He has his strengths. Now it's about shoring up his weaknesses.
Berry Tramel (columnist): Better than expected. I mean, Roberson made 16 starts in Thabo Sefolosha's absence and had just 22 fewer offensive rebounds than Kevin Durant in 2,723 fewer minutes. No one could have expected Roberson to dent the rotation, even in the case of injury.
2. What kind of role do you expect for him next season?
Mayberry: Spot minutes. Or starter. Who knows? If the Thunder doesn't go get a proven player to starting at shooting guard, my guess is Roberson starts over Lamb. But if OKC upgrades at shooting guard via the draft, trade or free agency, then I see Roberson playing in Tulsa a lot and being summoned only in the event injuries set in.
Slater: Depends on his development and who the Thunder bring in this offseason, but I think it'll be expanded some. There's even a small chance, with Thabo Sefolosha expected to be gone, that Roberson starts. Scott Brooks likes defensive-minded players surrounding his stars at tip-off. But his future in the league as a rotation player depends on that shot. It's gotta at least get to the point where teams aren't completely backing off, begging him to take it.
Tramel: I think Roberson is headed for much the same season as before. I doubt he's in the top 8-9 of the Thunder rotation. Will he be a fill-in for injuries? Sure. But until Roberson's outside shooting improves, it's doubtful he can be counted on for extended minutes.
3. Will he ever be as effective an NBA player as Thabo Sefolosha used to be?
Mayberry: Yes. Even if Roberson never becomes a great shooter, his defense, rebounding and nose for the ball make him an impact player. If he concentrates on those things and develops them to the point where he can supply them consistently, he'll be a fantastic role player.
Slater: As effective as Thabo was last season? Yes. As effective as Thabo used to be? Ehh, that’s likely Roberson's ceiling. In different ways, they both affect the game on the perimeter defensively. Sefolosha more with length and smarts, Roberson more with quickness and tenacity. Roberson's ceiling is as a defensive stopper. He just has to get more polished on the offensive end.
Tramel: I will say yes. For this reason. Roberson has a distinct talent that is extraordinary. His rebounding is world class. So if his defense improves, he'll have a job. If his offense comes along to any degree, he'll have job security.