Despite one of the smallest markets among NBA franchises, the Oklahoma City Thunder have always captured the nation’s attention. From championship contenders to vigilante underdogs, the organization and its fans have embraced their situations and continue to strive for one goal: being competitive. Today, with another major off season trade, the Thunder took another step toward that goal.
New York has agreed to a deal to send Carmelo Anthony to OKC for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a draft pick, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 23, 2017
Last year, the Thunder featured the season’s MVP after losing a former one that very off season. Kevin Durant’s absence surely had an impact on the usage of Russell Westbrook. Surprising many with his leadership and clutch shot making throughout the season, Westbrook overwhelmed expectations and nearly carried his team to the 5th seed of the Western Conference. The potential Oklahoma City revealed with Westbrook at the helm instantly put the franchise in contention for many stars on the summer trading block. Now with Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, Westbrook’s efforts will surely be more meaningful.
The boiled down flaw of the Thunder last season was scoring, and that shouldn’t come as a surprise from the roster. Many times the offense was purely decision making on Westbrook’s terms, which led to heroics and shambles at different points in the season. When Westbrook’s jump shot wasn’t falling (42% FG% on the season) or he lost legs after all the bodies thrown at him, the Thunder too ran out of gas. There came a point where determined force just couldn’t cut it against skill. With free throw shooters like Andre Roberson and defenders like Enes Kanter, the talent issue was obvious.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 23, 2017
But these acquisitions aren’t merely about opening things up for Russell Westbrook. George’s talents were all the NBA talked about in June and July trade rumors, around the same time Anthony’s depreciating value in New York was the bud of every ESPN joke. They are now playing on the best team they’ve ever been a part of – something we weren’t sure would happen for Carmelo Anthony. However, make no mistake, Anthony was meant for bigger and better things.
Adding a premier two-way All Star in Paul George was the obvious answer, but many overlook the impact of an addition like Carmelo Anthony. On a team that has a precedent for forcing plays, Anthony will be able to convert some bad shots the Thunder tend to take into strategic isolation offense. Anthony is a unique scorer who takes advantage of his deceptive physique and dominates his opponents with relentless footwork and body control. He’s never had the kind of athleticism or team to open up easy buckets, but Melo always made it work. After all, the man is America’s all time international scorer and he’s the only player in NBA history to drop a 50-point game with no points in the paint. Surely, that says something about the situation for the scorer that is Carmelo Anthony.
It’s been a summer of new beginnings, and fans have every reason to be excited (at least about the West). Today’s stars in their prime are already reshaping tomorrow’s NBA. Luckily for Oklahoma City, whenever its offense runs dry they can go to one of the most buttery jumpers in the game.