Terrance Ferguson

Thunder Notes: Roberson, Dort, Ferguson, Bazley

Thunder forward Andre Roberson continues to make progress in his attempted comeback, writes Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman. Roberson was one of the NBA’s top perimeter defenders before suffering a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee in January of 2018, then an avulsion fracture later that year. Head coach Billy Donovan offered an encouraging update as Roberson tries to return to action for the first time in 30 months.

“He’s doing great,” Donovan said. “I think he’s gaining confidence. I think he’s got confidence in where he’s at physically. I think he’s trying to gain confidence right now in terms of being out from playing competitive basketball for two years.”

The injury has kept Roberson sidelined for almost the entirety of the three-year, $30MM contract he signed in 2017. He is earning $10.74MM this season and a strong performance could make him an intriguing name on this year’s free agent market.

There’s more on the Thunder:

  • Luguentz Dort was effective during his time as a starter, but there’s no guarantee he will keep that role in Orlando, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Dort began the year as a two-way player, but seized an opportunity when Terrance Ferguson missed eight games in January for personal reasons. Dort impressed OKC’s coaches with his defense and started the final 21 games before the shutdown. Dort, Ferguson and Roberson are all candidates for the starting wing spot. “Lu’s done a really good job,” Donovan said. “For me to sit here and say that he’s starting when we get back to playing, I wouldn’t say that. I’m really trying to be open-minded to let these guys play and compete and find out where they’re all at and how well they’re playing with one another.”
  • No Thunder player is enjoying his time at Disney World more than 20-year-old Darius Bazley, Mussatto writes in a separate story. Part of Bazley’s excitement comes from being fully healed after missing the final 11 games before the break with a bone bruise in his right knee.
  • Donovan said his younger players in particular did a great job of staying in shape during the hiatus, telling Paris Lawson of NBA.com that Dort, Ferguson, Bazley and Hamidou Diallo look different than when he last saw them in March. “You can see a physical difference I think when you’re dealing with young players that are 19, 20, 21 years old,” Donovan said. “Their maturation and how much they can develop through four, five or six months can be really amazing.”

Northwest Notes: Grant, Ferguson, Gallinari, Porter Jr.

Retaining Jerami Grant will be a priority for the Nuggets this offseason, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. Grant was highly productive filling in for Paul Millsap when Millsap was injured this season and could be the team’s starting power forward of the future. Grant has a $9.3MM option for next season and while the hiatus and subsequent league-wide loss of revenue could play into his decision, he’s still likely to opt out. Denver would then have to try to re-sign him as an unrestricted free agent.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Oklahoma County prosecutors have decided not to press charges against Thunder guard Terrance Ferguson regarding a rape allegation, Maddie Lee and Nolan Clay of The Oklahoman report. Ferguson was not arrested and there was a lack of evidence to support the allegation that the sexual conduct was not consensual. The incident dated back to a house party in 2018.
  • Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari wants to finish his career in Italy with Olimpia Milano, Nicola Lupo of Sportando relays. Gallinari played for that organization before heading to the NBA. “Absolutely, it would be great to play a couple of seasons at a high level in the EuroLeague and win with that team. I’d like to finish my career in this way,” Gallinari said in an Italian radio interview. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after this season, though the 31-year-old seems several years away from the end of his career.
  • While Michael Porter Jr. had some rocky moments this season, he was productive in his rookie campaign and also avoided a major injury for the first time in three years, Singer writes in a separate story. The Nuggets forward made a monumental step in his career, Singer adds, and appears to have a bright future with the franchise.

Thunder Exercise Options on Gilgeous-Alexander, Ferguson

The Thunder have exercised their 2020/21 options on point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and swingman Terrance Ferguson, according to a team press release.

Gilgeous-Alexander’s option for 2020/21, which will be his third season in the league, is worth approximately $4.14MM. Ferguson’s fourth-year option is worth $3.94MM.

Oklahoma City had until the end of this month to exercise those options.

Gilgeous-Alexander had a strong rookie campaign with the Clippers and was the key component for OKC in the Paul George blockbuster. He averaged 10.8 PPG and 3.3 APG while appearing in every regular-season game.

Ferguson started 74 games last season and averaged 6.9 PPG in 26.1 MPG. The 21-year-old was the team’s first-round pick in 2017.

Thunder Notes: Ferguson, Felton, Abrines

Despite Andre Roberson missing the entire season to this point, the Thunder have continued to thrive as Paul George has developed into a serious MVP candidate and other role players have stepped up in their respective roles. The main example of such improvement is Terrance Ferguson, who has maintained his hold on a starting role past the halfway point of the season.

As Maddie Lee details for The Oklahoman, the Thunder put the ball in Ferguson’s hands more during Summer League, which he believes has translated to his improvement and confidence so far this season.

While his statistics suffered during the Summer League experiment, Ferguson is finding open teammates more often and is playing with a confidence that has unlocked more components of his game.

There’s more for the Thunder:

Northwest Notes: Gobert, Exum, Wittman, Abrines

Jazz center Rudy Gobert and members of the organization are furious over his All-Star snub. Gobert told Aaron Falk of the team’s website and other media members that he can’t understand how coaches can preach defense and then leave him off their ballots. “It’s disrespectful not only toward me but toward the team, the organization and toward the game,” said Gobert, the league’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Jazz coach Quin Snyder echoed Gobert’s gripe, ESPN’s Tim McMahon tweets. “We talk about defense being valued, but when we have a chance to reward it, we reward scoring again and again.” Jazz president Steve Starks tweeted that there should be more transparency in the voting. The coaches select the reserves. “Complete nonsense and we need more integrity and accountability. If the coaches vote than their ballots should be made public.”

We have more from around the Northwest Division:

  • Reserve Jazz guard Dante Exum will not return to action until sometime after the All-Star break, Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News reports. Exum hasn’t played since suffering a left ankle sprain against Detroit on January 5th. He has been participating in on-court work but won’t even be re-evaluated until after the break. Exum signed a three-year, $33MM contract last summer.
  • The Timberwolves have hired former head coach Randy Wittman as an advisor to first-year coach Ryan Saunders, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Saunders was on the Wizards’ staff when Wittman was the head coach there. “He’s an ear for me,” Saunders told Hine. “Another basketball mind to bounce things off of. I’m comfortable with him, known him for a long time.”
  • Thunder shooting guard Alex Abrines has returned to action but he’ll have to work his way back into the rotation, according to Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. Abrines played six minutes against Orlando on Tuesday after missing 17 games due to an illness and a personal matter. During his absence, Abdel Nader seized a rotation spot. Abrines will have battle Nader and Terrance Ferguson for minutes.

Northwest Notes: Beasley, Ferguson, OKC, Wolves

The Nuggets have been one of the feel-good stories of the season. Despite relying on a core of young players leading the way through countless injuries, the team has continued to win at a strong pace and stay in the top two in the Western Conference. Throughout the first half of the season, many role players have stepped up, including Malik Beasley.

As Sean Keeler writes for The Denver Post, Beasley made some tweaks to his shot over the summer and things have been clicking for him this season. Beasley is currently averaging career-highs across the board as his production has increased with his new role on the team.

Beasley is just another age-23-or-under player who is contributing to the Nuggets’ success, which is a good indication that Denver will be strong for many seasons to come.

There’s more from the Northwest division:

  • The Thunder have certainly benefitted from Terrance Ferguson admirably filling in his role as the team’s fifth starter. Considering Ferguson’s youth and low contract, the value he is providing has helped an expensive Thunder team that has limited young talent contributing to their success.
  • Speaking of the Thunder, Brett Dawson of The Athletic detailed the possible moves that the team could make at this season’s trade deadline, such as a possible acquisition of a strong 3-point shooter.
  • The Timberwolves will have to decide if they are going to be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. Chris Hine writes for The Star Tribune that such a decision will be tough to make when factoring in team chemistry and the status of their coaches.

Northwest Notes: Roberson, Teague, Adams

While the Thunder have gotten off to a strong start, they would surely love to have Andre Roberson back in the lineup. Roberson has had several setbacks in his recovery from the ruptured left patellar tendon he suffered nearly a year ago. However, as Erik Horne reveals for The Oklahoman, Roberson has stayed active during his recovery and has led some defensive film sessions with the team’s young wing players.

Most notably, Terrance Ferguson has benefited the most from these film sessions, as he has stepped up to a bigger role in the starting lineup as a result of his much-improved defense. Led by quality defenders such as Paul George and Steven Adams, the Thunder have length and versatility throughout their number-one ranked defense.

The Thunder have been below average offensively this season, which highlights how much of their success is derived by their defense. And even when Roberson can’t play, he is still making his mark on the defense.

There’s more from the Northwest division:

  • Erik Horne also details Steven Adams‘ case for being an All-Star this season, highlighted by the advanced metrics that paint the picture of Adams being one of the best centers in the league. However, as Horne also points out, Adams isn’t focused on being an All-Star.
  • Unfortunately for the Timberwolves, they will continue to be without starting point guard Jeff Teague for another 7-10 days, according to Alan Horton (via Twitter), the radio voice of the Wolves. The Timberwolves have struggled in recent games as they continue to adjust to life without Jimmy Butler.
  • Speaking of the Timberwolves, Chris Hine of The Star Tribune writes that Derrick Rose has struggled with an ankle injury and could miss some time, which would leave the Wolves short at point guard as they look to bounce back from recent losses.

Hamidou Diallo To Be Re-Evaluated In 7-10 Days

Thunder rookie Hamidou Diallo was taken off the court on a stretcher on Wednesday night after suffering a scary fall, but he appears to have avoided a major injury (link via ESPN’s Royce Young). The Thunder announced this afternoon that Diallo sustained a left ankle sprain and will be re-evaluated in seven to 10 days (Twitter link via Brett Dawson of The Athletic).

Diallo, who has played regular minutes off the bench for Oklahoma City during his first NBA season, landed awkwardly after going up for a defensive rebound during the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s win over Golden State.

There was initially a fear that Diallo’s injury was severe – possibly a broken leg – but X-rays performed at the arena were negative, per Young. The 20-year-old had a boot on his left foot after the game and was using crutches, but was in good spirits after having avoided a major injury.

Although Diallo’s injury could have been worse, the Thunder may still find themselves short-handed on the wing when they resume play after today’s Thanksgiving holiday. With Diallo and Andre Roberson sidelined, Oklahoma City will have to see if Alex Abrines and Terrance Ferguson are ready to go. Abrines has misses the club’s last three games with an illness, and Ferguson suffered a left ankle sprain of his own during the first quarter of Wednesday’s contest.

Thunder Exercise Option On Terrance Ferguson

The Thunder have exercised their 2019/20 team option on Terrance Ferguson‘s rookie contract, the team announced today in a press release. The move locks in Ferguson’s $2,475,840 cap hit for next season.

Ferguson, the 21st overall pick in the 2017 draft, appeared in 61 games for the Thunder in his rookie season, averaging 3.1 PPG in 12.5 minutes per contest. The Tulsa native has moved into a starting role this year with Andre Roberson still sidelined, but has struggled in the early going, posting just 2.8 PPG on .273/.077/.500 shooting in 20.8 MPG. Still, he’s just 20 years old and his affordable contract provides value for an Oklahoma City team above the luxury tax line.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2019/20 Rookie Scale Team Options]

Interestingly, the Thunder’s announcement today doesn’t mention Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, who has a fourth-year 2019/20 option worth $2,529,684. Oklahoma City has until Wednesday to pick up that option, but teams often announce all their rookie scale option pickups at the same time, so the club may be opting to make Luwawu-Cabarrot an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Thunder Notes: Westbrook, George, Grant, Patterson

The Thunder remain the only winless team in the Western Conference but Russell Westbrook said it’s far too early to push the panic button, Royce Young of ESPN reports. Oklahoma City is 0-4 after blowing a 16-point halftime lead against the Celtics on Thursday. Westbrook had a brutal fourth quarter, missing all seven of his shots while making three turnovers. “We’re OK. We’ll be all right,” Westbrook said. “It’s early. I’m confident in my guys in this locker room, I’m confident in myself and my abilities to make sure that we have an opportunity to win a ballgame. There’s no need to panic. Obviously we’re not starting the way we wanted to, but we’ll be OK and I will make sure of that. So, not worried.”

We have more from Oklahoma City:

  • While Westbrook rubs some people the wrong way, he was an integral reason why Paul George decided to stay instead of joining one of the Los Angeles teams in free agency. “A lot of it was I liked our chemistry,” George told Young in a detailed piece on OKC’s year-long recruitment of George. “I liked what he brings to the table, I liked his competitiveness and I loved him as a teammate, as a friend, as a brother, as a dude in the locker room. He had a lot to do with me coming back here.”
  • Jerami Grant and Patrick Patterson continue to share starting duties at the power forward spot, Thunder digital reporter Nick Gallo relays. Grant got the nod against Boston because coach Billy Donovan wanted to play a smaller, quicker unit. Against a more rugged frontcourt, Donovan will go with Patterson. “For us, it’s going to be game-to-game in terms of the roster and having a plan of how to utilize those guys,” Donovan said.
  • What can the Thunder do to fix their issues? Erik Horne of The Oklahoman takes a closer look.
  • The Thunder have until the end of the month to decide whether to pick up the rookie scale options on Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Terrance Ferguson. Find out more here.