OKC Thunder: What you need to know about the seven newest Thunder players
Some of the names you know. Most of them you probably don't.
There are seven new players on the Thunder's roster this preseason.
Photoview all photos
NewsOK Related Articles
Four of them won't make the team.
But on Tuesday night, in the preseason home opener, fans will get their first look at this year's version of the Thunder — and the new faces are getting substantial playing time thus far.
Meet Perry Jones III, Hasheem Thabeet, Daniel Orton, Hollis Thompson, DeAndre Liggins, Andy Rautins and Walker Russell Jr.
“The new guys are all NBA players,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “As you go through a training camp, everybody knows you have to cut (the roster) down to 15 guys eventually. But all the guys we have on our team in this camp are definitely NBA caliber players. All of them.”
Here's a closer look at the strengths and weaknesses of all seven, as well as a look at what else is new with the Thunder this season.
PERRY JONES III
Last played: Baylor
2011-12 stats: 13.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.3 apg, 30.7 mpg.
Claim to fame: Slipping to the Thunder at No. 28 in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Has a skill: He's an elite athlete, and that allows him to run the floor and finish with consistency in transition.
Needs to drill: If he can develop his perimeter shooting and defense, Jones could become the type of versatile power forward that is starting to pop up on more and more NBA teams.
What they're saying: “He tries to do it all. He can dribble a little. He can (isolate), post up, pick and pop. There's not really much he can't do.” — Reggie Jackson.
Last played: Portland
2011-12 stats: 1.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 0.5 bpg, 7.7 mpg.
Claim to fame: Two-time Defensive Player of the Year at UConn.
Has a skill: Thabeet was the best shot blocker in college and still has the instincts to make an impact as a rim protector.
Needs to drill: Man-to-man defense in the post has never been Thabeet's strong suit. His lack of strength causes him to lose his position frequently and get knocked to the floor. But, at 26, it's asking a lot from Thabeet to develop that aspect of his game at this point in his career.
What they're saying: “For a guy 7-3, you don't normally say athletic. But he's pretty athletic. He gets up and down the court. He can move pretty good.” — Scott Brooks.
Last played: Orlando
2011-12 stats: 2.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.6 bpg, 11.7 mpg.
Claim to fame: Once shattered a backboard in high school.
Has a skill: Rebounding might be Orton's biggest strength. But he's also a hard-nosed player who isn't afraid of contact on either end and can use his imposing frame to clog up the paint on defense.
Needs to drill: Footwork. Orton has the tools to be a classic back-to-the-basket center, but he must first polish his offensive game. That starts with going back to the basics and working on the fundamentals.
Sports Photo Galleriesview all
VIDEOS FROM NBA TV
Buy Tickets View all
- 20415Oklahoma weather: Crews work to clear storm damage in Oklahoma City as the state braces for severe weather Sunday.
- 7078Oklahoma Severe Storm Updates
- 7023OKC Thunder: Thunder trio praise fans before potential departures
- 6616OKC Thunder GM Sam Presti won't amnesty Kendrick Perkins
- 5593Student shot dead during botched home invasion
- 4449Wild hogs continue to be a growing menace across Oklahoma
- 4211Oklahoma State football: Todd Monken thinks Wes Lunt should've stayed in Stillwater