Northwest Notes: Schroder, Lillard, Towns, Crowder

In an extended analytical piece, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer takes a look at how the Thunder‘s soon-to-be acquired point guard Dennis Schroder will fit with incumbent starter and All-Star Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City’s backcourt.

Consistently ranked near the bottom of the league in passing metrics, Thunder head coach Billy Donovan has regularly spoke about how he wants better ball movement on offense. But, as Donovan admits, “There’s a balance between [giving the ball to your stars] and then trying to play faster with more ball and player movement.”

Enter Schroder, who can create against a defense with his quickness perhaps better than any other point guard the Thunder have had in recent years outside of Westbrook, including Reggie Jackson.

Only time will tell whether or not Westbrook and Schroder will be able to play together, but if they can, Donovan will be able to install more pace and ball-movement concepts featuring multiple ball handlers running the show, rather than relying on Westbrook alone, which should help the Thunder be less one-dimensional against the better Western Conference teams come playoff time.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • While the Trail Blazers may not have been able to bring in as much talent as they had hoped for during this summer’s free agency period in an effort to improve upon last season, Damian Lillard says that he’s ready and excited for the upcoming season and that he has a “deeper connection” with the city of Portland that goes beyond basketball, per Sean Meagher of The Oregonian.
  • As part of a Wolves’ mailbag, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic opines that although the relationship between Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves could obviously use some work right now, the opportunity for repair remains, as Towns likely would have cancelled his recent basketball camp in the Twin Cities had he already completely written off Minnesota as a long-term home.
  • After struggling on-court to adjust to a new role and new teammates at the beginning of last season and coping off-court with the death of his mother from cancer, Jae Crowder finally feels at home with the Jazz, writes Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult,” Crowder told The Tribune. “It was hard being thrown into the fire. But, from Day One, the locker room and my teammates [in Utah] were great. The coaching staff was great. … It helped build toughness.”
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10 thoughts on “Northwest Notes: Schroder, Lillard, Towns, Crowder

  1. supercollider

    Getting rid of Anthony will make the Thunder immediately better. If they want more ball movement, Westbrook will have to buy in to make it work. He has to stop chasing triple-doubles to improve the offense.

  2. That could be a very intriguing pairing of Westbrook & Schroeder playing together with Roberson & PG13 & Noel/Adams in the middle, not bad, definitely OKC looks better than they did last year.

  3. Usually the issue with playing two “PGs” together is about defense. Not here. This tandem can match up defensively with any pair of guards in the league. But there’s perhaps a bigger issue – shooting, 3 pt shooting in particular. Both had their worst years last year, but neither has been that good at any point. Certainly, you couldn’t use both of them and Roberson and a big who can’t shoot (Adams / Grant / Noel) in the same lineup very much.

  4. Realtalk

    Carmelo wasn’t a good fit but Russell had a lot to do with that! Don’t know why people don’t see that. Russell is Russell but Russell alone is not winning anything! I could be wrong but I have a feeling Carmelo will be a much better fit in Houston.

    • afsooner02

      I don’t. You think harden and Paul will be tons different than Russ and PG were? Plus his lack of defensive talent will remain

  5. Rewane

    Didn’t the Thunder just resigned Felton. Now they have 3 sub-par shooting PGs.

  6. oriolesravenstimberwolves04

    Sam Presti is clearly the best GM in the NBA: He significantly improved their roster in a way Donovan can utilize. One of the best element of Donovan’s coaching is his lineup creativity and ability to adapt to games. Melo handicapped his ability to do so by demanding that he starts. Now Donovan can run what he pleases depending on their opponent.
    A Westbrook-Schroeder-George-Patterson-Grant will be one of the fastest lineups in the league. And it will match up well against both the Warriors and Rockets.
    Noel is also a very underrated pickup as well. Noel and Adams are interchangeable: again Presti maximizing Donavan’s adaptability.
    But I think the key is Melo’s HORRIFIC 15 SHOTS PER GAME. We are going to see those distributed around the team. Watch out for a career year from Schroeder or Ferguson!

  7. formerlyz

    It’s amazing how ridiculous the narrative is that Melo was their issue. Billy Donovan is complete garbage, and they have even less shooting somehow than last year

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