Eleven days ago the Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans played what may ultimately go down as the Game of the Year. The two teams went back and forth all night, and appeared to be headed for overtime after Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hit a stepback three to tie it with 1.4 seconds remaining. Of course, that was not to be. Devonte’ Graham proceeded to hit the longest game winner in NBA history to lift his team to the win. (Here is a clip of the whole sequence for anyone who hasn’t seen it). At the end of the day the game was of little consequence, but nonetheless extremely entertaining. And I am happy to report that the rematch did not disappoint either. SGA GETS HIS REVENGE
Star of the Game
Tonight was a breakout game for Aaron Wiggins. The 55th pick out of Maryland has bounced around so far this season, spending much of his time with the team’s affiliate Oklahoma City Blue. *Okay, I’m going to go off on a bit of a tangent here- Why would anyone ever name a team the “Blue”? Come on. The G-League is full of teams like the Mad Ants, Skyforce, Thunderbirds, and Valley Vipers, but Clay Bennet decides to name his team the “Blue”. The people of Oklahoma City need to stand up for what is right and demand that their team gets a better name. End Tangent*
Okay, so let’s get back to Aaron Wiggins.
Because this kid absolutely needs to be on your radar. He’s a 22 year old rookie which makes him a very flawed prospect in the sense that he is incredibly raw but lacks the luxury of being 19 or 20 years old with time to develop. Essentially he has crazy potential but needs to harness it soon before he is viewed as being “too old”. A twenty year old like Aleksej Pokusevski can have all the bad games he wants but at twenty-two you’ve got to start showing some consistency. That’s just the nature of the NBA. (I will have an article about the nuances of age and how teams view their prospects out soon.
Aaron Wiggins has not shown much consistency thus far in his young career. He is averaging just 3 points per game on a PER of 6.73, which ranks 342nd among the 353 qualified players this season. Needless to say, it’s been a struggle for him. But Mark Daigneault has continued to show a belief in Wiggins, and tonight that trust was rewarded in a big way. Wiggins scored 24 points on 8/10 shooting while also grabbing six rebounds. He was a clear difference maker. With Darius Bazely having been moved to bench it appears as if a starting spot has opened up, and it looks like that spot has Aaron Wiggins’ name on it. What a night for the rookie.
I love Luguentz Dort. This should not be news to anyone who has read my writing. But I am willing to admit that he definitely has a consistency problem. He is averaging just under 17 points per game, which is a great increase over last year. But we are seeing it come in a very inconsistent fashion. He will go through a five game stretch where he can’t miss and then proceed to shoot 3/14. He’s strung together three dismal performances in a row now, going 5/14 tonight. His defense also looked off today, as Josh Hart torched him for 29 points.
A lot of this has to do with his supporting cast. Better spacing would provide him with more open threes and better driving opportunities, and he absolutely suffers from a lack of help defense. I am sure that a week from now he’ll score thirty and lock up an all-star and we’ll all be right back too singing his praises, but we do have to admit that this problem does exist.
Number of the Night
4. That is Josh Giddey‘s current ranking on the Kia Rookie Ladder. The sixth overall pick out of Melbourne was honored tonight as Western Conference Rookie of the Month for the month of December. He has been making a profound impact on both ends of the court, leading the team in rebounds and assists. Tonight he went 0/8 from the field but still made himself productive. Giddey posted a double-double with ten rebounds and ten assists. The nineteen year old has been incredible so far this season. SG
OKC will look to continue to move up in the standings with a game in Sacramento on December 27 at 7 PM PST.
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SGA GETS HIS REVENGE SGA GETS HIS REVENGE SGA GETS HIS REVENGE