The Oklahoma City Thunder pulled off two great trades this offseason as they managed to land Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. While the Thunder boast one of the top starting units in the league, they have continued to struggle as they search for their identity. Any team that has Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony should have NBA Finals dreams, however, they’re still missing one element.
This is where the Philadelphia 76ers and J.J. Redick come into play.
The Thunder have two of the best two-way players in Westbrook and George. And while Anthony is not the best defender, as a unit, the Thunder are one of the league’s best. But where they fall flat is perimeter play. With a player like Westbrook leading the charge, it’s easy for George, Anthony, and Andre Roberson to get a few open looks at the rim from three-point range. For the season, the Thunder as a team is shooting 35 percent. According to Sports Reference, Roberson is shooting a paltry 21 percent while averaging just five points per game.
If the Thunder were to bring in a shooter like Redick, this will cure a few issues with the Thunder. Imagine how fluent the offense would run if Carmelo wasn’t forcing up 5.9 attempts or George taking 7.3 per game from beyond the arc. Both players are streaky shooters but their game is better served elsewhere. Carmelo is a mid-range assassin, whereas George is a take-it-to-the-basket guy. Adding Redick, along with his 16.8 points and 39 percent shooting from beyond the arc, will give the Oklahoma City Thunder better spacing while cutting down on turnovers and ill-advised shots.
For Redick, there’s a big difference in Ben Simmons passing the ball or Westbrook hitting him in motion. See, with Simmons, there’s no threat that he will take the outside shot, which gives the defense an advantage of playing their perimeter player tight. However, with Westbrook, defenses must respect his driving ability thus resulting in defenders often doubling and leaving a player like Roberson open. Redick could have a field day in a Thunder uniform.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@P76ersNews) December 26, 2017
A starting five that includes Westbrook, Redick, George, Anthony, and Steven Adams will be a scary sight for any team to see come playoff time. The 76ers signed Redick to add a shooter and a veteran presence to a young team. However, with Redick only on a one-year deal, his services are strictly for rent until Markelle Fultz is ready to take over. While the contract is heavy ($23 million), the Thunder can exhale a bit that the majority is already handled by Philadelphia.
While this deal will push Roberson to the bench, it will make the Thunder one of the favorites in the Western Conference right along with the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors.