Now that the season is over, I am already thinking about how this team might look come training camp in October. The particulars of course can not be known until they happen, but I thought it might be time to look at the odds of our four free agents coming back for next season or not.
I don’t have any special insight on these matters, I just thought I would examine the salary implications, the fit, and the intangibles surrounding each player and the team going forward.
Desmond Mason : odds for returning 30%
Desmond is in a unique situation in that he’s stated publicly that he would like to be back, and he has connection with the fans from his playing days at Oklahoma State and with the relocated Hornets. He seems to be a positive influence in the locker room, and despite his puny offensive production, the Thunder played some of their best basketball of the season in January with Des in the starting lineup. Des replaced Damien Wilkins as a starter for the Dec. 19th game against the Toronto Raptors. Prior to that game the team had lost 8 straight. As you may remember the Thunder got the win against the struggling Raptors that night. Over the next 6 or so weeks the team had some of it’s best success, but a closer look reveals there is more to the story.
Mason started 18 games during that stretch and the team was 8-10, which was a revelation for the team at the time. But during those 18 games, the Thunder also had it’s easiest schedule of the season. In those 18 games with Desmond as a starter, 10 of the teams we matched up against were sub .500 at the time, and 11 of the games were at home. It should also be noted that in the run up to that win against Toronto, the Thunder had been very competitive, almost getting wins despite Brooks experimenting with Wilcox in the starting lineup for 5 games and Petro for three; so there was a ton of roster changes during this time. Also, after the win against Toronto with Des as the starter, the Thunder lost five consecutive games. Keep Reading…