The Thunder’s title defense is off to a rocky start as the Grizzlies whipped them 84-63 in their opening summer league game in Orlando. Some thoughts on it:
- First, the usual summer league disclaimer: Keep it all in perspective. The cliche is, you don’t find out who can play at summer league, but you can get an idea who can’t. Still, I remember Thunder fans last summer ruing the fact OKC passed on Kelly Olynyk as he showed solid offensive skills and lamenting the pick of Steven Adams. I strongly suggest just evaluating the players with perspective in mind, understanding this is summer league and that’s it.
- I was pretty disappointed, though, with how Jeremy Lamb played. Last summer, Reggie Jackson seemed to kind of flip on a switch in Orlando, showing off the things he’d be working on — mid-range jumper, defense, playmaking. Lamb struggled not just making shot (4-of-12 shooting, 1-of-7 from 3) but took a lot of bad ones. Honestly, it’s one of the uglier games he’s played in the last 12 months. The Lamb in that was an effective bench piece for OKC last season was a guy that understood his strengths and weaknesses, looking for open shots in the flow while running good sound stuff out of the pick-and-roll. Today, he turned it over four times and found only two assists. He was forcing the issue, almost like he had it in his head he needed to prove something.
- If Andre Roberson is set to start at shooting guard next season, it will genuinely be 4-on-5 most possessions. He showed a few solid slashing skills, attacking the basket off the dribble, but I’m more comfortable patrolling around Victoria’s Secret than Roberson is on offense. He did show off his trademark energy on the boards (eight rebounds) and solid wing defense.
- Mitch McGary came out with a healthy amount of energy, focusing hard on jumping pick-and-rolls and staying active on the boards. His numbers — eight points on 3-of-8 shooting with three rebounds in 21 minutes — don’t really pop, but McGary had a few nice catch-and-finishes and even showed off a quality spin-off-the-back post move that made me raise a little eyebrow. At one point McGary stepped out to 3-point range, and took it confidently. Don’t know if that’s going to genuinely be part of his game, but he at least looked comfortable with it.
- Perry Jones looked improved to me. The biggest issue I’ve had with Jones is that he doesn’t know how to play with his athleticism. He often drifts and just is kind of there instead of using his outrageous ability to impact the game. He showed a little more of an aggressive side, attacking the rim a few times — which produced a good dunk — and not shying away from any interior contact. He was OKC’s best player today, scoring 15 points on 5-7 shooting with six rebounds. He hit 2-2 from 3, and his stroke looked a little smoother. Jones has always had a good release, but had a tendency to rush it.
- Little scare from Steven Adams after his bumped knees/shins in the first half, but he returned and did a few decent things. He played 17 minutes and had seven points with two rebounds and two blocks. Biggest thing that stood out to me (besides his sick new forearm tat) was that little drop-step running baby hook he hit in the second half.
- Did Ron Anderson sign a lifetime summer league contract with the Thunder?
- Isiah Thomas was, not great.
- Josh Huestis had a putback dunk, but overall, his nine minutes were mostly forgettable. Take Andre Roberson’s offense and reduce it 15 points on your sliders, and you’ve got Huestis.
Next up: Sunday at 4 p.m. against the 76ers