Tuesday’s trade of the day: Bringing in a sharpshooter
The biggest problem with the Thunder is their lack of a consistent three-point shooter. So I decided to add one of the best shooters in NBA history.
At this very moment, the Oklahoma City Thunder find themselves 29th in three-point percentage at 32.9%. The closest potential playoff team is the Memphis Grizzlies, who sit tied for 21st with a 34.6%; the difference is Memphis’ strength is having the best defense in the NBA.
If the Thunder want to truly be a dangerous playoff team, they have to add a consistent weapon from the perimeter. Anthony Morrow isn’t cutting it, shooting under 30% from deep on the season. Alex Abrines may be there next season but his defense isn’t ready for the intensity of the playoffs.
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The Thunder have been linked to guys like Rudy Gay and Blake Griffin throughout the season, but a big move like that doesn’t make sense for OKC. For one, they don’t have the assets (young impact players, high draft picks) to bring in a bona fide star. Secondly, starting next season they will be incredibly restricted when the Steven Adams and Victor Oladipo extensions kick in.
And that’s why Kyle Korver makes the most sense for Oklahoma City.
I like this trade for multiple reasons. Korver’s expiring contract means he will be off the books next year, when the Thunder have almost $110 million already locked up. At 35, Korver won’t be offered a huge contract so it’s feasible he would stay in Oklahoma City on a cheap contract.
Korver could help mentor Abrines on off-ball movement and getting his shot up quicker/more efficiently. Plus Korver has turned himself into a solid defender despite being a below-average athlete.
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Watch this video and tell me you don’t want OKC’s resident sharpshooter to learn from the 35-year old.
This makes sense for the Hawks as well (once we throw in a future second-round pick). By getting Anthony Morrow’s expiring contract they keep the luxury of flexibility going into free agency this summer. But the important piece in all of this is Josh Huestis surprisingly enough.
Huestis has been somewhat of a bust for the Thunder to start his career. His inability to improve on the offensive end has kept him off the court and in the D-League for a little over two years now. What are the Hawks known for? Turning non-shooters into above-average threats from deep.
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Ben Sullivan, the Atlanta Hawks shooting coach, has become one of the most influential behind-the-scenes coaches in the league. Kent Bazemore credits much of his success to Sullivan; he’s helped DeMarre Carroll, Dennis Schroeder and every other Hawk imaginable as well.
Huestis is in the mold of a Hawks project; he’s still young, long, athletic and a strong defender. He has the ability to play the three or four, a position that the Hawks need help in. At this point it seems like there isn’t a spot for Huestis in OKC (he has yet to record a minute this season).
The deal doesn’t seem like much, but the Hawks can’t expect a bounty for a 35-year old playing on the last year of his contract. Korver would be a perfect fit playing alongside Victor Oladipo and Russell Westbrook, and the Thunder may have just the right prospect to make the Hawks interested.