Over the past few years, the Oklahoma City Thunder bench has been a main reason for the success as of late. Unlike most team in the NBA, the Thunder play a deep, 10-man rotation. In the playoffs last year, that number would be reduced to eight with the time of Nazr Mohammed and Daequan Cook being cut. With the loss of Derek Fisher and Mohammed, the Thunder bench will look a little different this year. In a good way.
Eric Maynor: After being out for most of last season with a torn ACL, Maynor will make a return this season. Fans don’t realize the impact that Maynor gives this Oklahoma City team bench. In 2011, he only averaged 4.2 points per game, but changed the game in many ways. Maynor stretches the floor with his ability to drive and kick to Cook, and Harden for an easy three. He can really finish at the rim with his nice floater, and gives this Thunder team a nice weapon behind Westbrook in the rotation.
James Harden: Well, Harden took home the Kia 6th Man of the Year award last year and had a great year, despite a bad finals performance. Harden averaged 16.8 points per game last year, and down the stretch came up clutch. Late in games, the Oklahoma City’s number one option sometimes for a big bucket would be Harden, as he proved he is a candidate for that job with this clutch three in San Antonio. Harden is prime for another big year in the blue and yellow.
Daequann Cook: Cook is if not the best spot up shooter in the league right now( besides Ray Allen). I would like to see Cook get a little more minutes because of his ability to stroke the ball.
Nick Collison: Westbrook and Durant are the dynamic duo for the Thunder, and that’s for sure. But, the dynamic duo off the bench has to be Harden and Collison. Collison’s ability to free people open with his screens are deadly, and hard to guard. Anyways, there is nothing like a Collison hand-off to Harden.
Cole Aldrich/Perry Jones III: Battle time
So, there are probably 5 guys off the bench. Now, its time to see who wins the battle of Aldrich and Jones III. All I know is, I can’t wait for the return of Eric Maynor.