This Is Thunder Basketball

August 24, 2009 8:06 PM

Inside the Thunder: Shooting Guards

The Two was one of the Thunder's weakest position last season, and by drafting James Harden they are looking to make big strides.


Oklahoma City has three players who are likely to be competing for playing time at SG. Thabo Sefolosha, who was acquired by OKC at the trade deadline last season, started 22 of the 23 games he appeared in for the Thunder and will likely have the starting job at the beginning of the season. Sefolosha is the team's shut down defender, and he seemed to thrive in that role last season. Rookie James Harden will, likely, be the next SG off the bench and he showed, in Summer League, that he has the ability to score against NBA level talent. Oklahoma City looks for Harden to develop into the type of player who can draw defenses away from, franchise corner stone, Kevin Durant. Kyle Weaver can be one of the Thunder's most versatile players, but will likely see a lot of minutes in the D-League at Tulsa. Weaver started 19 games for the Thunder last season, and improved his game over the offseason. With the 66'ers Weaver played a lot of point, and if that skill can improve, he will be a contributor to this team.


Sefolosha is one of the team's best defenders. When he is in the game, he can help create a lot of fast break opportunities for franchise big men; Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, and Russell Westbrook. Harden is a scorer, and will spread out opposing defenses like no player last season could. He is also a good counter to Westbrook, in that he is more controlled and Harden can create offense at the Two. Weaver is somewhere in the middle of Sefolosha and Harden. Weaver can score 18 or 19 points, a hand full of rebounds, and assists; or he won't even be noticed on the stat sheet. In the Summer League, he showed that his defense has improved but he still has a ways to go.


Sefolosha has a dismal career scoring average of 5.9/game, though he has averaged 8.5 with Oklahoma City. When he is in, opposing teams don't have to pay much attention to him. Harden is unproved. Scouts claim that he is slow for a two guard, but he showed a lot of explosiveness during the Summer League. If he is too slow to be effective against NBA SGs, don't look for Harden to get many minutes against the Bryants and Roys of the League. As with his strengths, Weaver is streaky. Coaches and fans never know what to expect from Weaver. If he can develop some consistency, he will be a vital role player for the Thunder.

Even with the acquisition of Harden the Thunder have a lot to prove at Shooting Guard. But with a mixture of youthful energy, and veteran tenacity, this SG unit has a good chance at improving from last season. These players have a chance to be solid, but they still have to prove that they can be.

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