By A. Suave Francisco
The Oklahoma City Thunder played a crippled Indiana Pacers team Sunday night. Paul George was ruled out for the Pacers due to an injury but that didn't seem to matter as Jeff Teague led the team to a 115-111 overtime victory at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
It's clear, Russell Westbrook needs help. After notching his fifth double-double of the season with 31 points, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds, you can only help but think that this team needs another guy to take the load off.
Victor Oladipo was expected to be that guy when he was traded to Oklahoma City, but he's not quite lived up to that expectation. Looking at his stats, he averages 17.1 points, 4.0 assists, and 2.2 rebounds per game. Everything looks pretty acceptable for Victory Oladipo stat wise, but he hasn't been consistent. That's what's hurting this team right now. He's been able to string together a couple great nights in a row and then he'll have two or three poor showings. Those are the games that force Russell to sometimes do too much.
Being realistic, who on this team other than Oladipo do you expect to score 18-to-20 points on any given night? Probably nobody and that's the problem.
The most popular players in the trade talks surrounding OKC has been Sacramento's Rudy Gay and Indiana's Paul George. The best option for Oklahoma City, in my opinion, would be Paul George because of his complete skill set being a two-way player, his reputation as a high-character guy, and his experience in a small market. And rumor has it, Paul George and Jeff Teague aren't very fond of each other. Also, in the locker room, I witnessed no interaction between the two despite Teague's team-high 30 points and 9 assists. Sounds kind of fishy.
However, the trade won't be happening immediately so OKC has to find something to work consistently on offense and defense. Enes Kanter scored 16 points and while adding 4 rebounds and Oladipo finished with 14 points. There were only three players that scored in double figures. Steven Adams hasn't played well since he signed that monster contract extension. Against the Pacers, he finished with 8 points and 8 rebounds. It's really hard for the Thunder to win if Adams and Kanter don't combine for around 20 rebounds. Today, the team got out-rebounded, didn't get to the free throw line as much as Indiana, and didn't shoot well.
The season goes on, though, and there isn't time to dwell on bad games. The Thunder will travel to Los Angeles to play the Lakers on Tuesday night. This Laker team is (7-7) and they don't take games off, so if OKC takes them lightly, they'll end up dropping another one.