Oklahoma City Thunder: Versatile OKC roster capable of going small without Kendrick Perkins

Scott Brooks has never had as many rotational tools in his arsenal. He’s never had as many lineup configurations to toss out there. And he’s never been more willing to use them.
Oklahoman Published: February 25, 2014
Advertisement
;

photo - Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) shoots between Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng (5), forward Dante Cunningham (33) and forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (12) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. Oklahoma City won 106-97. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) shoots between Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng (5), forward Dante Cunningham (33) and forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (12) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. Oklahoma City won 106-97. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

So that leaves the Thunder playing small for a good chunk of its upcoming games. And with the roster OKC has compiled, that may not be a bad thing.

This season, the Thunder has had 23 lineups appear in at least 10 games together. Of the top six from a plus/minus standpoint, four are without a traditional center.

The best of those five-man groupings has been Westbrook, Jackson, Thabo Sefolosha, Durant and Serge Ibaka. In a limited sample size, it averages 123 points per 100 possessions and has outscored opponents by 44 points in 44 minutes.

And the unique part of that cast is the frontcourt, with Durant at power forward and Ibaka at center. Over the past couple seasons, Durant seems to be getting more comfortable playing the four.

In those rare situations, it creates a matchup nightmare for opposing teams. Because of his length and increased strength, Durant is able to hold his own against opposing bigs, like he did for a stretch against the Clippers’ Blake Griffin on Sunday. But teams are wary to cross-match the Thunder in that scenario.

“It forces other teams to put a perimeter guy on him, because there’s hardly any bigs that can guard him,” Collison said. “It’s good. We’re used to playing that way.”

Brooks doesn’t typically keep Durant at the four for large chunks of the game, likely because he wants to avoid foul trouble and fatigue for his best player.

But in the coming weeks, you’ll likely see more of that, as well as some other unique combinations. Brooks has the available tools. And now, with Perkins’ injury, he has less lineup congestion.


by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
+ show more


Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    10 Most Popular Wedding 'First Dance' Songs
  2. 2
    Psychologists Studied the Most Uptight States in America, and Found a Striking Pattern
  3. 3
    Facebook Post Saves Drowning Teen
  4. 4
    Saturday's front page of the New York Times sports section is simple: LeBron James and transactions
  5. 5
    The 19th-century health scare that told women to worry about "bicycle face"
+ show more