While the acquisitions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony created a three-headed monster with Russell Westbrook, the OKC Thunder now find themselves struggling to protect the glass. With Steven Adams and Patrick Patterson the only legitimate bigs on the roster, the Oklahoma City are in need of another big man.
After just six games into the new season, one thing is noticeable – the Oklahoma City need more size. For 3 consecutive seasons, OKC led the league in offensive rebounds, total rebounds and held opponents to 9.2 offensive boards per game (5th).
After a front court exodus this offseason, the Thunder has regressed significantly in the rebounding department. Oklahoma City currently sit 6th in offensive rebounding (11.3), 13th in total rebounds (52.8) and allow the 5th most offensive boards to an opponent (11.8). In 4 of 6 games so far, OKC’s won the rebounding battle but have allowed opponents to out rebound them offensively in 5 of 6 games.
Another issue is dealing with physicality down low. In 3 losses to the Minnesota Timberwolves (2) and Utah Jazz (1), Karl Anthony-Towns, Taj Gibson and Rudy Gobert ran rampantly in the paint. OKC conceded 19 offensive boards to three players.
The ease in which they got inside is more frustrating. Thunder forwards have been pushed around down low which has resulted in open lanes and easy dunks.
Lastly, Oklahoma City lack interior scoring. Prior to his departure to New York, Enes Kanter guaranteed 12-14 points on the block. After top 5 finishes in points in the paint (2nd) and second chance points (5th) last year, the Thunder are only averaging 43.7 PIP (17th) and 13.0 on second chance (14th) points in 2017-18. With no offensive weapon inside, the Thunder are relying more on perimeter play to score.
Ideally, OKC must look for players who solve both issues.
However, finding a big who can fulfill either one is a priority. I have made slight changes to my original post with only 1 player making the cut second time around.