Setting the Bar: Thabo Sefolosha

We took a look at a list of goals for the entire Thunder team a couple weeks ago. But let’s get detailed. Let’s get specific. I’m going to dig in and hit on some individual goals for a few players that would define a successful season. So what meters for success should we set for Thabo Sefolosha?

Thabo Sefolosha ThunderSecond Team All-Defense. This is probably unrealistic. In the current landscape of the NBA, most postseason accolades are won over a couple of seasons by gaining reputation. And nothing is more true than in the All-Defense teams. A lot of those guys get by on reputation alone instead of actually being elite defenders. So if Thabo can spend a whole season catching people’s attention with his lockdown skills, maybe he can grab a little traction. Plays like this go a long way in building a reputation, so hopefully we have a season full of them.

Develop his “shot”. Like Bruce Bowen’s deadly corner three, Thabo needs his shot. It could be from the corner, it could be from the top of the key, it could be from the wing for two. He just needs a spot where when he fires it up, we know it’s going down.

Shoot above 35 percent from three. This is similar to the previous one, but he needs to be consistent from three from everywhere. Thabo isn’t a big offensive threat, but he’s a valuable piece to have on the floor. Not just for his defense but for his leadership, passing abilities and knack for spacing the floor. He’s not going to score a bunch of points but if he can hit open threes, he’ll become a very important piece to the puzzle.

Move his PER from the 11-12 range to around 13-14. Thabo’s usage should go up this year because he’ll play an entire season in an important role. But he needs more efficient numbers and needs more production on the glass and assist-wise. He’s too good a passer to only average 1.7 a game. And at 6’7, he should average more like five rebounds a game instead of 3.7.

Update his website. If you go to ThaboSefolosha.com, the color scheme is still that of the Bulls. At least the picture, news section and scoreboard are current to what team he’s on. But give me some Thunder blue. Oh and ditch that autoplaying music thing. That’s just about the most freaking annoying thing in the world. I’ll just hit play if I want to hear some crappy song by Jamie Foxx.

Basically keep up what he did with the Thunder last year. Before he got to OKC, he averaged 4.5 ppg with Chicago in 17.1 minutes per game. But with the Thunder, those numbers jumped to 8.5 ppg in 31.1 minutes a game. His percentages went down a little, but everything – literally everything – else went up. If he sustains the production he finished the last 23 games of the season with, coupled with his defense, he’ll have had an extremely productive year.

Picture 1

Ideal stats: 9.0 ppg, 2.5 apg, 4.0 rpg, 2.0 spg, 45 percent from the field, 35 percent from three. Thabo is a defensive specialist and he’s knows it. He doesn’t try to be anything more and that’s key for him this year. His job on this team is to defend the other team’s best scorer, wreak havoc in help defense, tip passes and move the ball offensively. He can’t try and compete with James Harden in terms of offensive production because that’s not what makes him valuable. But at the same time, he needs to be productive while he’s on he floor.

Steve H
2009-09-10 14:23:13
Not Thabo related, but I have read repeatedly that the Golden State franchise is potentially up for sale, and that team stars- Jackson and Ellis would prefer to play elsewhere. If that team melts down this year, and the owners start looking to slash salary, I wonder if we would have any shot at landing Biedrins and his 5 yr, 45mill contract. Guy is just 23, and would be EXACTLY the kind of guy we could use patrolling the paint. I would be willing to part with Collison's expiring contract and all 5 of our picks next year. It would be a salary slashing, instant make-over for them.
Joe
2009-09-10 16:47:29
My goals for him would be simply to develop the corner three, and to take it to the hole a lot. He is money when he gets to the rack (according to 82 games he hits 65% of his close shots), and as you can see from the above stats he only gets to the line 2.1 times per 31 minutes, or just about 2.4 per 36. He should pattern his game after Gerald Wallace of the Bobcats. Gerald can't shoot a lick, but averages 16 and 7 from the small forward position, and has a PER of 18.6 because he goes to the hole all the time. His close shot percentage is 60% and he gets to the line 6 times per 36 minutes. Oh, and keep up the defense.
Vega
2009-09-10 11:16:23
Thabo + consistent corner three = Younger, cheaper Shane Battier.
Royce
2009-09-10 11:22:02
<a href="#comment-22251" rel="nofollow">@Vega</a> Exactly what I have in mind too.
Nix
2009-09-10 11:27:02
If there is anything we've seen from our young Thunder players, it's that they always improve their FG%. Of course I have KD and Green in mind, but RW looked like he was shooting a lot better in the summer league. As well as White and Weaver. Hopefully we can expect the same from Sefoloiauesofuoasblah.
Warren
2009-09-10 14:56:24
<a href="#comment-22276" rel="nofollow">@Steve H </a> I see your point. If it took all 5 picks, I really would not have an issue with it.
Warren
2009-09-10 10:45:21
That block on Kobe was one of my favorite plays of the season. I never thought I would say that since I was a Lakers fan for more than 20 years. I hope Thabo becomes our version of Bruce Bowen. Of course more athletic though.
Big Fred
2009-09-11 04:35:35
Another video about his shooting training in Belgium : http://www.vimeo.com/5138699
Jax Raging Bile Duct
2009-09-11 08:17:21
<a href="#comment-22305" rel="nofollow">@Keith</a> General consensus for hitting your peak is 5 years of full time game playing experience. Bench players never fully develop in their career if they can't play starter minutes. LeBron and Carmello didn't develop their current defensive games until their 5th year. Tyson Chandler didn't develop until his 6th year, because he was short on playing time. Jermain O'Neal couldn't see the floor till his 4th year, but then blew up after that. It just depends on the player I suppose. Thabo is young enough to develop a jumpshot from the corner. If he focuses just on that skill, like Carmello focused on D this past year, he could meet his potential. But I see your point that he's not going to be a league scoring leader or even a third scoring option on his own team. But I'm sure hitting 45% from the corner 3 is possible, and would greatly enhance his value.
Vega
2009-09-10 12:00:25
It's time for the newest version of Vega's Nicknames! Kevin the Humble Jeff the Unremarkable Russ the Unstoppable Thabo the Suffocating Nenad the JUST GO AHEAD AND SHAVE YOUR DOME! Nick the Misunderstood Kyle the Good-looking D.J. the Enigmatic Shaun the Gag-reflex Trigger Kevin the Assistant Coach who takes up a Roster Spot Byron the "Massive Upside Guy" James the Awesomely Bearded Etan the Artistic/Eccentric/Kooky SERGE THE IBAKA (His name is so awesome, it requires no nickname, and must be spelled in all caps.) Steve Novak the Should be on the Thunder Roster but isn't
Andrew
2009-09-10 12:12:58
Any chance the Thunder can hold the rights to Juan Carlos Navarro.... i know with Harden we really don't need him, but he could be the back up 2 with Thabo the back up 3........ he would be an excellent addition...
Nix
2009-09-10 12:31:09
I am definitely a Navarro fan...Isn't he a PG though? He would be a lot better then Ollie. If I remember he had some character things in the past, but I'm not positive.
Andrew
2009-09-10 12:35:57
<a href="#comment-22259" rel="nofollow">@Nix</a> I think your right..... so he would be a great backup pg with livingston filling in spots 1-3 as needed.....
Keith
2009-09-10 21:59:08
Just something I've been mulling over recently, but at what point do we stop talking about development and start talking about "this is who he is?" I mean, is it based on age, or is it based on years in the league? We all love to say, "Oh, if only player X could hit threes/post up/defend well, he'd be perfect for us." The thing is, all of these guys have been playing for ages. It's not like they are just picking up a basketball and learning the different positions. There really isn't a great percentage of players who came in as one thing and ended up being so much better in other areas. Thabo should focus on hitting open shots. We're not going to ask him to do much on offense, but he can't be a liability. Players who are a liability on offense simply don't play much. With his defense, he could really be a factor against the Kobes, Wades, and Lebrons of the league. But if he can't make those same guys work at all on defense, we'll be better off with Harden forcing the opposing team to get worn out paying attention to him.
Jax Raging Bile Duct
2009-09-10 11:05:42
Very close to what I had in mind originally. Thabo: Add 6% to his 3P%, making it 30%. Add 3% to his FG, making it 44%. I think improving by 6% is a reasonable goal. Getting to 35% is an 11% gain, which is a heck of a lot to ask for. But, if he can find that corner three like you say, maybe he can get there.
Steve H
2009-09-10 14:44:55
<a href="#comment-22272" rel="nofollow">@Warren </a> As best I can tell, a bad-assed center is the only need left to fill on our roster. If Uncle Jeff continues to improve, he could be our PF of the future, and already IS the best back-up 3 in the league for my money. We also have young pups Ibaka and White, either one of which could grow into a future all-star at that position. With Russ, Livingston, Thabo and Harden we have a smoking guard rotation. Our starting 3 ain't bad either. What do we need those draft picks for anyway? Hell, I'd throw in our 2011 pick if league rules would allow it.
Warren
2009-09-10 14:29:27
<a href="#comment-22271" rel="nofollow">@Steve H </a> I don't know about all 5 picks, but I do like your idea.
Steve H
2009-09-10 14:11:35
You missed the most important one- get signed to a long term extension. I loved what I saw from Thabo last season. Even without improving his 3-ball, he is a solid back-up player on the wing. If he improves from long range- and I really think he can (still just 23), he could really turn into the next Bruce Bowen, though without all the cheap shots. Presti needs to lock this guy into a contract extension before the rest of the league gets wise and starts bidding against us.
John-o
2009-09-11 13:55:37
<a href="#comment-22248" rel="nofollow">@Warren</a> And hopefully without that nagging habit of undercutting jump shooters and the occasional kick at players' Achilles tendons.
PC игры
2009-09-16 09:42:28
Спасибо. было очень интересно.
Big Fred
2009-09-11 02:13:39
Thabo worked quite hard on his shooting skills this summer, with the help of a special shooting coach from Belgium. Check out this video, if you are fluent with french : http://www.tsr.ch/tsr/index.html?siteSect=500000&amp;channel=sport#channel=sport;tab=search;vid=11114557 If you need translation, I'll be glad to do it