NBA Fantasy Basketball Draft News 10-13-2015
Thunder Looks For Deep Run in Playoffs to Keep Kevin Durant from Escaping Oklahoma City in His Free Agent Walk Year
The 2014-15 Oklahoma City Thunder finished off play with a record of 45-37 and failed to make the playoffs as a ninth seed in the Western conference. As expected the team made a coaching change and its Billy Donovan the former Florida Gators head coach now in charge. He inherits a roster with a good big three in Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka. Part of Donovan’s job is to assemble a supporting cast who can defend, rebound and blend with the teams three star players. There is no pressure on a head coach greater than Billy Donovan. He stepped right into a pressure cooker because if Durant leaves it could send the team to the lottery for several years.
The pressure is heavy on the shoulders of the rookie head coach as the team must position itself near the top of the Western conference. There is going to be a lot of speculation throughout the year about Kevin Durant’s upcoming free agent year. If the Thunder is battling for a fourth seed it could become a rather difficult year for the franchise with the Durant rumors about his new team next year. This Thunder team needs to be good and good fast to give their star player hope that it can win a championship with the cast of characters assembled around him.
The team was in the lottery but drafted 14th and selected Cameron Payne a sophomore guard who played at Murray St. He shot 50% from the field in college and 38% from the three point line. Payne averaged 20 points per game.
Oklahoma City Thunder PG:
With Durant sidelined last year Westbrook played in 67 games and averaged 28 points per game in 34 minutes. He adds much value for one day real money NBA fantasy leagues because he chips in with 7 rebounds and 8 ½ assists per game.
Oklahoma City Thunder SG:
Third year man Andre Roberson averaged 19 minutes a game last year and shot 45.8% from the floor. He is a very poor free throw shooter so his minutes on the court will be very limited until he improves in that area.
Oklahoma City Thunder SF:
Durant had an injury plague year last year which forced him to miss 55 games. It is a foot problem and it required a second surgery and that is a main issue when it involves his fantasy value. Keep an eye on back to back situations. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Durant’s minutes limited on those nights. Like with most injured players coming back, keep an eye out when he enters a game with lots of rest. He will be his most productive. Before his injury he shot 51% from the floor last year with 40% from the three point line. He grabbed 6 ½ rebounds and dished 4 assists per game. It will be interesting to see how he handles all of the in season drama and distraction about his decision in the offseason.
Oklahoma City Thunder PF:
Ibaka is a really good staple for OKC because he has a good ability to defend and rebound the basketball. He pulled down 8 rebounds a game last year. He did pick up his scoring because Durant was out of the lineup for much of the year. He averaged 14 points a game last year and shot 47.6% from the field.
Oklahoma City Thunder C:
Adams enters his third year in the league and has seen extended time on the court with the Thunder. He averaged nearly 8 points a game last year and grabbed 7 ½ boards. He is a career 53% shooter but really scraps for his shot attempts off offensive rebounds. Free throw shooting is an issue as he is a career 53.4% from the line so don’t expect much of any plays going through Adams. He simply defends and rebounds.