Starting Over

By Sam Agnitsch

Well it’s been nine full days since The Front-Runner left.  That’s 12,960 confusing, scary, melancholy minutes we’ve had to process the Bay-Area bomb dropped on Thunderland. But now that the statewide pity-orgy is over what kind of lineup can we expect? More specifically who starts now that Phony has left us? Let’s take a look at the options and the probability of each happening.

“The Twin Towers”

PG-Westbrook

SG-Oladipo

SF-Roberson

PF-Kanter

C-Adams

This lineup appears to be the most popular pick at the moment. Kanter and Adams surprised many with how effective the duo could be on the court together this season, dominating the glass and generally playing well off each other’s skill sets. Combine that with Russ’ exceptional pick and roll game with both Adams and Kanter.  A Russ-Dipo-Dre combo could be absolutely frightening defensively on the wings as well. However, 3-point shooting is scarce in this lineup which doesn’t really jive with Donovan’s system. Plus it leaves the bench thin on firepower, even if Dion Waiters returns, which isn’t really the Thunder’s style.

Probability: 20%

“Mr. Sensible”

PG-Westbrook

SG-Oladipo

SF-Roberson

PF-Ilyasova

C-Adams

To me, this is the likely opening night scenario. Ilyasova does a decent Serge Ibaka impersonation offensively (37% from three) and is athletic enough to make some noise on the boards. He’s not known as a defender but isn’t completely inept in the area either. This lineup seems more in sync with the Thunder identity and allows for Kanter to resume his 6th man role. The question is how many minutes do you give him considering the front court depth? You still have the shooting issue but Ilyasova softens that just a bit. Sam Presti loves rookie Domantas Sabonis, but starting a rookie right off the bat seems like a stretch.

Probability: 45%

“Dr. Dion’s All Natural Good-Time Family Basketball Solution”

PG-Westbrook

SG-Waiters

SF-Oladipo

PF-Roberson

C-Adams

Admittedly this one is a little out there. You sacrifice size and length by going small but how much fun would this be? We could potentially see some version of this once we play certain teams, with certain small ball lineups, that may or may not be from Oakland. The glaring problem with this group would be the similarity in styles between the guards, teams would pack the paint making getting to the rim difficult for even the most super-hero level athletes.

Probability: 3%

“Stop It Already”

PG-Payne

SG-Westbrook

SF-Oladipo

PF-Kanter

C-Adams

I’m only mentioning this because it’s become embarrassingly obvious the “Russ should play SG” faction of fans won’t just let this die. Russell F. Westbrook is the best overall PG in the game. Not SG, not combo guard, POINT GUARD. Now smarten up and stop humiliating yourselves.

Probability: 0

“Thunderdome”

PG-Westbrook

SG-Waiters

SF-Oladipo

PF-Kanter

C-Adams

Perhaps the sexiest starting option on paper, this unit is a diabetes inducing amount of offense. A mix of break-neck speed, physical giants, and Dion Waiters, what could possibly go wrong? Chances are slim we will see this unit starting, especially with the burden it puts on the bench, but it might feature as a closing option assuming Oladipo and Waiters can continue to improve from deep. Kanter’s ability to stretch the floor will be key here as well. If he can consistently, this becomes more than a pipe-dream. If not, the wreckage will make the Hindenburg look like a camp fire.

Probability: 8%

“The Mitch Is Back”

PG-Westbrook

SG-Oladipo

SF-Singler

PF-McGary

C-Adams

Maybe I’m just clinging to the nostalgia of “Mitch Fever” that infected us back in the 2014-2015 season but it’ll take a few more failed drug tests to get me off this wagon. The High energy (get it) big would be amazing to watch alongside the kiwi anchor. His inclusion would maintain a potent bench and provide offense without taking shots away from the guards. Then there’s Kyle Singler. Wait, before you immediately dismiss the little credibility I have left just hear me out. Despite currently having the appeal of basketball Ebola, Singler can actually play, but for whatever reason, he’s been in a year and a half long slump. Having to no longer play in the shadow of Mr. 88 dollars should help ease the mental pressure and make it simpler to find his role. If he can get back to his sweet-shooting Pistons days, he’ll become an entirely different player and finally bring the value we envisioned after he was acquired. Or not and we’ll all pity him for more than just his haircuts.

Probability: 1%

Just 87 days, or 125,280 minutes until we get our answer.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s