The Oklahoma City Thunder have continued to shine in a season where their chemistry was often questioned. However, after a rough start to the year, the Thunder have quietly become a favorite in the Western Conference along with the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets. With Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony finally on the same page, the Thunder are on a roll. However, there is one glaring issue. A perimeter threat is needed, and Lou Williams could be the missing piece.
With the season-ending injury to Andre Roberson, the Thunder lost probably their best on-ball defender. Even so, Roberson’s absence will not cause a ripple effect of substandard play, but Westbrook needs a player who can help take pressure off his shoulders once the ball crosses halfcourt.
With the Los Angeles Clippers engrossed in a fire sale of sorts after the Blake Griffin trade and then announcing, according to Bleacher Report, that DeAndre Jordan and Williams are now on the block, the Thunder must make a bold move. Adding Williams will be for the short-term, but it could be just the move that gets them out of the West.
Look at what the Thunder have accomplished so far this season. How many figured a team that features Carmelo Anthony would be known as one of the better defensive teams in the NBA? With the rumors that have followed Paul George last season and this about his possible departure to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Thunder have managed to block it all out and focus on the now. With such positivity surrounding them, there’s no wonder they have managed to crawl their way back to respectability in the West. But still, there’s that lingering feeling that something is missing.
As great as Westbrook, George, and Anthony have been, the Thunder must find a way to improve on their three-point shooting and ball movement. For the season, Westbrook is shooting 31 percent from beyond the arc followed by George at 42, and Anthony at 35. Not bad numbers, however, considering that between the three of them, they take 17-18 per game while making just six. This is one area where Williams will come in handy with his 39 percent shooting.
The other area where Williams will provide a great service for is ball movement. One would think a team with Westbrook would rank high in assists totals but he’s the only player averaging more than three per game. Adding Williams and his five assists per will give the Thunder’s offense another ball handler to get players like Steven Adams more involved, plus take a bit of pressure of Westbrook, much like Chris Paul has done for James Harden in Houston.
With the future of the Thunder’s Big 3 still uncertain past this season, a trade for Williams, who’s under contract until 2018, will fit with their current situation. There’s no need to think long-term here unless a championship is won or the chemistry works, but Sam Presti is all about the win now. If the Thunder can pull off this trade, they could very well be the team to beat the Warriors and Rockets and whoever comes out of the Eastern Conference.