The NBA Trade Deadline has now come and gone. Thursday saw its fair share of deals, but as a fan of Creighton basketball on the college level, there is one deal that stood out the most. That was a deal struck between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls.
Heading to the Thunder will be Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and a second round pick in the 2018 draft. Leaving Oklahoma City and headed North will be Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow and Joffrey Lauvergne. This is an extremely nice haul for the Thunder.
Let’s start with Gibson. Gibson is just one of those guys who you love to have on your team. He plays the game hard and simply does not get the amount of love he should. He is a strong defender, who will fit right in with the defensive-minded Thunder. He will pull down his share of boards while also stepping out and hitting a handful of jump shots as well.
Then we have McDermott, who has always been a personal favorite. The guy can simply drain the ball from long range. So far this season he has hit 37.6 percent of his three-pointers, which will help a team that is second to last in shooting it from beyond the arc. He also has the size and can move fairly well, giving the team another offensive weapon.
On top of that, they also add a draft pick! So despite this being a win now type of move, the team also did something to help down the road as well. But back to how this will be a solid move to help the club moving forward for the rest of this season.
As of right now, the team sits seventh in the Western Conference. Eight teams will make the playoffs from the West, so the Thunder are currently near the bottom of the totem pole. They do not really have to worry about slipping out of the postseason, as the ninth team is the Sacremento Kings, who are eight games back and not looking to win at the moment.
But this move certainly gives the team a better chance at moving up. They are only three and a half games back of the number four seed, currently held by the Los Angeles Clippers. Facing the five seed is a lot more attractive than going up against the number two.
The addition of Gibson will allow rookie Damantas Sabonis to take on a lesser role. While Sabonis is a nice player (loved watching him at Gonzaga), bringing in an experienced guy like Gibson to take on minutes and letting the rookie contribute when needed is a great move for the stretch run.
Add in the three point threat of Dougie Buckets and the Thunder have improved on many fronts. Only time will tell if this move will help the Thunder make a deeper run in the playoffs, but as of this moment, it certainly looks like a great move.