The Oklahoma City Thunder have been in a rut as of late. The loss of Kendrick Perkins, and the poor play from key bench players has landed the Thunder on a three-game losing streak out of the All-Star break. This is a team searching for some serious answers.
Reports surfaced stating the Thunder and Caron Butler have come to terms and will soon make the deal official. Butler is a savvy 11-year veteran who knows how to score. The Thunder obviously recognize their problems, and signing Butler could be the answer this team needs to pull themselves out of the hole before the dirt starts to pile atop them.
Butler’s role will be to backup superstar Kevin Durant, and provide a much-needed spark off the bench. Butler will fit in perfectly, as OKC prepares to run with a smaller lineup over the next six weeks without Perkins. Butler may bring more to the Thunder than most expect of him. He is a great spot up shooter and he is a big body out there on the floor.
Butler will be a highly effective player when he is on the court with Durant and Russell Westbrook. He will also take the pressure off Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb, as their production continues to slip. Earlier this season, I questioned whether these two guys were ready to handle the pressure at such a young age. While I do believe they will improve soon, the Thunder need a productive veteran to come off the bench to assist the younger players on the roster.
Butler is averaging 11 points per game and 4.6 rebounds in about 25 minutes of action per game. The Thunder can surely use that type of production in their second unit. If Butler can come in and be effective, then I believe Lamb and Jackson’s play will improve as well. If they can all find a way to mesh, then OKC may be in the best shape they have been in all season.
Butler will prove a consistent spark off the bench — something they have not had all season. Jackson and Lamb have shown that they can be very inconsistent and that has ultimately hurt OKC. They need someone they can rely on each night, even if he is only giving you eight points off the bench. That consistency will trickle down to the young players, and OKC will be in prime position to make a serious run headed into the playoffs.