Whenever TNT or ESPN goes into the timeout or locker room to listen into what coach Scott Brooks has to tell to his team, he always says the same thing: “Play your role.” A pure example of someone who plays ‘his role’ is Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha. Even though the guy doesn’t rack up the stat sheet, he does the little things to help the Thunder team. Sefolosha is known for his ability to defend the opposing team’s player, give them ‘the business’ and make it difficult for them, similar to what Bruce Bowen did for the Spurs back in the day.
One of my favorite moments of Thabo’s season last year was in the Western Conference Finals in Game 3. After Tony Parker giving the Thunder problems in games 1 and 2, Thabo took on the role of defending Parker in Game 3. If you were ready to ask what his stat line was in Game 3, it looked like this: Sefolosha had a playoff career best with 19 points and six steals, while Parker had 16 points and four assists.
With James Harden stealing most of the playing time at the shooting guard spot, Sefolosha only plays on average 21 minutes a game. However, late in games you see Sefolosha in the game because of his defensive ability. This year, I’d love to see the same late in games. I wouldn’t mind pushing Kevin Durant to the four and having Russell Westbrook at the one, Sefolosha at the two, Harden at the three, Durant at the four and Serge Ibaka at the five.
In Oklahoma City, there are a handful of players who play a certain role on the team, and a pure example of one of those players is Sefolosha. Just look at his stats over the years:
2008-2009 Stats: 8.5 points, 5.2 rebounds per game
2009-2010 Stats: 6 points, 4.7 rebounds per game
2010-2011 Stats: 5.1 points, 4.4 rebounds per game
2011-2012 Stats: 4.8 points, 3 rebounds per game
2012-2013 Projected Stats: 6.5 points, 5 rebounds per game