By James Blackburn
Note: James scouted the Charlotte Bobcats vs. Oklahoma City Thunder match up a few weeks ago and offers some keen insight into the scouting reports for several players you may not be familiar with.
October 6, 2010
Thunder win 97-93
Notes- Shaun Livingston recorded a DNP as well as Kwame Brown for medical reasons.
Game Recap/ thoughts
DJ Augustine (21 min., 4-6 FG, 2-3 3pt, 6 ass. 1 TO, 10 TP)
Strengths- Ran the offense sets well, uses body well to shield taller defenders in the air and finishes well in the open court with good upper body strength. Is a solid 3pt. shooter. Primarily a scoring PG- will be counted on to score a good bit this season.
Weaknesses- Not the quickest or fastest guy on both sides of the ball- needs to improve passing ability, even though he did lead the team in assist tonight.
Overview- Augustine should be OK this season taking over the starting PG responsibility from the departed Felton. He is mainly a scoring guard- but so far this preseason has looked good and I think he is capable of leading the Bobcats back to the playoffs.
Sherron Collins (28 min, 2-8 FG, 0-2 3pt, 1 reb, 2 ass, 5 TO, 4 TP)
Strengths- Shows good leadership qualities and the potential to run a team. Is a decent shooter. Good upper body strength.
Weaknesses- Too may TO’s- he jumps in the air to pass and gets caught with no where to go- he also over penetrates too much at times and picks up his dribble. He does not look in shape- look winded early ( 220 lbs at 5-10, needs to lose some weight- At Kansas his playing weight was 200lbs). He is too small and not quick enough to be an NBA PG.
Overview- Collins has received the balk of minutes so far as the back up PG and has been given more than enough time to prove himself. D not be surprised to see Livingston take over the second string PG duties once healthy. The PG situation is no sure thing for the Bobcats after Augustine. They desperately need someone who can lead the second unit if they hope to return to the playoffs.
Javaris Crittenton (17 min, 0-2 FG, 2-2 FT, 2 reb, 4 ass, 2 st, 3 TO, 1 blk, 2 TP)
Strengths- Did a nice job of leading the break and made a nice pass to Brown for the dunk. Does a good job of attacking the rim.
Weaknesses- Needs to improve shooting. Has very slow feet on defense. Westbrook drove by him several times for the dunk. Needs to improve PG skills.
Overview- Crittenton is playing for a roster spot after cutting ties with the Wizards following the gun incident with Arenas. He could be a 3rd string PG or a 3rd string 2G- not good enough shooter but has good size for the 2- not good enough dribbler and does not have the speed to guard a 1. It will be interesting to see what happens. My prediction is that he makes the team.
Tyrus Thomas (20 min, 7-10 FG, 7 reb, 4 TO, 16 TP)
Strengths- Nice 15’ jumper with high release. Very long and athletic. Good rebounder and active defender.
Weaknesses- Forces the issue sometimes.
Overview- If he can stay in good favor with the coaches, Thomas will be the key and the X factor on whether the Bobcats return to the playoffs. Will be asked to take on the main scoring load for the second unit.
Boris Diaw (20 min, 6-6 FG, 2-2 3pt, 2 ass, 14 TP)
Strengths- looks trimmer and in better shape than the end of last season. He is running the floor well. Has a great spin dribble move. Takes good shots and is a great passer.
Weaknesses- Needs to make a bigger impact on defense and on the glass- 0 rebounds this game.
Overview- If Diaw can stay in shape- he is a still very underrated forward in this league, because of the matchup problems he causes. He can hit the 3 as well as put the ball on the floor and create. He has several unorthodox moves and loves the pump fake- very tough player to guard.
Matt Rogers (5 min, 0-4 FG, 0-1 3pt, 1-2 FT, 5 reb, 1 blk, 1 TP)
Matt Rogers is also fighting for a roster spot coming from Southwest Baptist, a D-II school. He had a nice block in the 4th quarter and is a decent rebounder, but other than that he did not really impress me.
Kevin Durant( 17 min, 5-10 FG, 2-6 3pt, 1 reb, 2 ass, 2 st, 12 TP)
Weaknesses- Sometimes he looks a little too relaxed. Dribbles too high. Has slow feet on defense. He forces some shots on defense when he does not need too because his teammates do a great job of dribble penetrating to get him open shots. He sometimes holds the ball too long and plays 1 on 1 and then shoots a fade away with a hand in his face. Needs make himself more involved when he does not have the ball.
Overview- Great scorer and player- in my opinion he is a top 3 player in the world. He needs to realize that this years Thunder team is a lot more talented than the teams from the previous 2 years. He does not have to force shots and do it all himself as he used too. I agree with the GM’s and I think he will win MVP.
Cole Aldrich( 19 min, 1-5 FG, 7 reb, 2 ass, 2 st, 1 blk, 3 TP)
Strengths- Great rebounder on both ends- always grabs the ball with 2 hands. Boxes out well and sets good wide screens.
Weaknesses- Raw offensive game. Slow getting up and down the floor. Not the most athletic- but knows his limitations.
Overview- Big man, with good size who had a nice career at Kansas. Has skills that will translate to the pros. Could find his way into the rotation as a 2nd string C, with Collison out with injury.
Elijah Millsap (13 min, 0-5 FG, 6 reb, 1 ass, 1 blk, 1 TP)
Strengths- Athletic, hustles at both ends, good defensive player. Good rebounder.
Weaknesses- Has a lot to learn to make an impact at the NBA level. Not a great decision maker.
Overview- Rookie out of UAB. Good kid with a good work ethic who will be find a job in this league. I just don’t think there are enough roster spots on this deep Thunder team.
Jeff Green (27 min, 9-14 FG, 5-7 3pt, 4 reb, 1 st, 25 TP)
Strengths- Good scorer who reminds me of Carmelo Anthony in the fact that he can score from anywhere- off the dribble, shoot the 3, athletic player who will dunk on you. Well rounded.
Weaknesses- Needs to improve passing skills
Overview- Will be one of the top scorers behind Durant this season. He is a player Durant trusts. Will have another good year for a deeply talented Thunder squad.
Russell Westbrook (21 min, 2-8 FG, 6 ass, 6 TO, 9 TP)
Strengths- Very explosive and athletic. Reminds me of Derrick Rose.
Weaknesses- All right handed- no left. He is out of control going left. He needs to improve jump shot.
Overview- The Thunder have 2 great PG’s with Westbrook and Maynor. Westbrook continues to be overlooked as one of the games elite PG’s in the west.
Serge Ibaka (26 min, 5-13 FG, 11 reb, 1 blk, 12 TP)
Strengths- Is a BEAST on the boards. Has developed a nice 18-20’ midrange jumper that he can knock down with consistency.
Weaknesses- Raw back to the basket game- either a dunk or a mid range J.
Overview- Ibaka is going to surprise a lot of people this season. He has worked hard this summer and will make GM’s wish they had picked up this PF/ C in the 2008 draft.
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