Russell Westbrook has officially extended his contract with the Thunder meaning he won’t be traded this season. So, it’s safe to say that the Thunder will be aiming to contend this year. This is what 4/5ths of their starting lineup will most likely look like to start the season:
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Victor Oladipo
PF: Enes Kanter
C: Steven Adams
The one position missing? Small forward.
Some of the main candidates currently on the squad include Andre Roberson, Kyle Singler, and Josh Huestis. We created a quick poll on twitter and this is what those who voted had to say:
Who should start at the 3 for the Thunder this year?
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) August 4, 2016
So, at this point, it does indeed seem like Andre Roberson will be the player to start at small forward, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be guaranteed that spot. Josh Huestis has great potential and Kyle Singler is a great shooter. Those two will definitely have their shot. Huestis is a supreme rebounder and defender while he can’t do much offensively, similar to Roberson. Singler on the other hand is a fantastic shooter, but not too impressive defensively.
There is one player, though, that we have not mentioned that could make a run at the starting spot. His name is Alex Abrines.
Most non-Thunder fans will probably not have heard of him, but Abrines is a supreme shooter from Spain. He was drafted in the 2nd round by the Thunder in 2013 and has been in Spain ever since.
Alex Abrines has shown an incredible upside, specifically in the shooting department. He has improved in the 3-point shooting department significantly from 2011. In 2011 he shot 24.6% from deep while this past year he shot 43.5%. His effective field goal percentage this past year was at 62.7.
For those of you who aren’t too into statistics, that might not mean too much to you, but the simple fact of the matter is that his shooting is incredible. His biggest problem is his size. He’s only listed at 6’6 and 190 lbs, but he still has time to bulk up before the season begins.
So, as stated before, it seems like Andre Roberson will be the player to start at small forward to start the season, but don’t be surprised to hear Alex Abrines’s name pop up during camp.