The Oklahoma City Thunder will have a week of baseball on deck! Well, not exactly baseball, and not even exactly a baseball schedule, but that is what the NBA world has elected to call these schedule anomalies! The Thunder will take on the Rockets tonight at 7 p.m. in Oklahoma City before these two teams meet again in OKC on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
For game one, both teams will miss out on key contributors. The Thunder once again will miss starting guard George Hill who is still nursing a thumb injury, while the Rockets will be without David Nwaba and Dante Exum. OKC will also miss Ty Jerome (Left Ankle Sprain) while Houston adds Kevin Porter Jr (G-League Assignment), Kenyon Martin Jr. (G-League Assignment), and Brodric Thomas (G-League Assignment) to the Injury Report.
It seems like a safe assumption that Theo Maledon will once again be in the starting lineup for the Thunder, the rookie sensation from France has been a welcomed addition to the starting five. After dropping 24 points on Friday, including tying the best shooting night in Thunder history from beyond the arc (6-for-6) as the Thunder are 2-1 with Maledon in the starting group.
As a starter, the 19-year-old is averaging 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. 60-percent from the floor, and 64-percent from deep.
Theo Maledon gives the Thunder a level of versatility, a trait Mark Daigneault loves. Maledon will allow for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to play off-ball at times throughout games, a role he thrived in a year ago.
Darius Bazley is putting together a good stretch of games this past week after a slow start to the season. A week ago the second-year forward averaged 14-points, 2-assists, 6-assists, on 45-percent shooting from the floor, and 31-percent from deep across the three games.
This matchup will have a fun storyline as Lu Dort and Jae’Sean Tate going toe-to-toe. Jackson Gatlin of Locked on Rockets calls Lu Dort a “poor man’s Jae’Sean Tate” to show off the similarities in their games. However, Lu Dort is not only better on the floor, but he is not even 22 yet. Jae’Sean Tate is 25. If you would like any more reason to root on the Thunder tonight, Jackson and I have a Twitter header bet on the outcome of tonight’s game. Let’s force Jackson to change his Twitter header to a baby Yoda Lu Dort photoshop.
No matter what side of the tanking argument you fall on, the Thunder will improve one of the draft picks they own with either result. OKC not only has their own pick, but they own the rights to the Rockets pick this year top-4 protected.
For Locked on Thunder listeners, the bet of the game is Houston -5.5, and the money ball pick is Lu Dort!