Lineup Madness

By Chet Kennedy

With the 2017-18 season still months away, it’s never too early to take a look at potential lineups. What options does Billy have to play with? Which five gives us the best chance against the Warriors? Where does Paul George fit in? Time to put on our lab coats Thunderers. Let’s get weird with it.

“The Starting 5” paul george Westbrook

PG: Russ

SG: Roberson

SF: George

PF: Patterson

C: Adams

No real surprises here, this is basically the lineup everyone expects. You can make an argument about a Grant/Patterson swap but in the end, this is the right call. PG’s addition creates a domino effect in the starting unit. George’s shooting/playmaking will take pressure off Russ allowing more space to operate, Roberson will have less pressure offensively and can focus on his offensive strength(s) in cutting to the rim more and Patterson’s stretch-4 ability opens up the paint for Adams and the pick and roll game. The x-factor here will be how much havoc Adams can create in the paint, whether it is off pick and roll or just cleaning up the messes around the rim, he holds the keys in keeping opposing teams truly off balance defensively.

“Defending the Champs” thunder hornets

PG: Russ

SG: Roberson

SF: George

PF: Grant

C: Adams

If we painfully look back at the 2016 Western Conference Finals, more specifically the success defensively that they had in games leading up to KD’s no-show and Klay Thompson nuclear meltdown, they had seemed to unlock the Warriors puzzle and found the kryptonite needed to jump out to a 3-1 lead. How? Length. Disrupting passing lanes/bothering shooters, these are things the Durant/Roberson defensive pairing thrived at, and it damn near won us the series. With this lineup, not only do you have length but 2-4 are completely interchangeable when it comes to switching, something that matters deeply when fighting through the jungle of ball screens the Warriors throw at you. Is it enough? Probably not, but it’ll give Steph Curry something to think about knowing that every time he gets a screen, a 6’7-plus, athletic, wing with length will be in his grill.

“The Derek Fisher” Oklahoma City Thunder v LA Clippers

PG: Russ

SG: Felton

SF: George

PF: Kanter

C: Adams

Ever since Fisher’s departure, OKC has been trying to fill his role, finding that next pg that can slide in alongside Russ in certain situations, being the main distributor and allowing Russ to play off the ball. Felton looks like our man. Despite being shorter, he has remarkable toughness and tenacity defensively, allowing him to switch and body up 2’s and even 3’s on the perimeter. He’s also a fantastic floor general, capable of running pick and rolls as well as playing at multiple tempos. His shot isn’t terrific but he can hit the 3 when open. In a lineup like this, you are forcing the defense to respect the pick and roll game, no matter who initiates it, from both sides. Don’t respect it; you’re hit with an Adams lob or an open Kanter around the rim, Respect it, and you’ve got an open Paul George stalking the 3-point line.

“Flight Privilege” THUNDER vs Memphis

PG: Russ

SG: Abrines

SF: Roberson

PF: George

C: Grant

 

Not many teams could match the pace of this lineup, and it says a lot when you have a lineup that includes Russ and George but you still aren’t sure who the best athlete is. Obviously, Russ can get out in transition but so can every other player, you can switch on defense, there’s enough length and just sheer talent to be able to conceal Abrines on that end so he can run out and spot up on the break. This team will make it tough to score and then murder you on the counter break.

“The Doc Holliday” McDermott&Abrines

PG: Russ

SG: Abrines

SF: George

PF: McDermott

C: Adams

Remember when our 3-pt guy was Daequan Cook? Things have certainly changed these days with the Thunder, they now have as much shooting talent ever in the fold, which is good because they were one of the worst teams from 3 last year. Simply put, this lineup can light you up from deep. Defensively it’s heavily dependent on George patrolling the wings but offensively it allows you acres of space for Russ to find passing/driving lanes. If teams don’t get burned by the MVP attacking the rim, kicking out to that trio on the perimeter will put you in Nash territory assists wise.

 

 

 

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