In the 2013 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder used the 26th overall pick to select Andre Roberson, a shooting guard out of the University of Colorado. While at Colorado, Roberson averaged a double-double his final year with 10.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. Roberson also received first-team All-Pac-12 honors as well as the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award.
During his rookie year with the Thunder, Roberson played sparingly, often being assigned to the Thunder NBA Developmental League team the Tulsa 66ers. He showed a knack for intense on-the-ball defense early, which would eventually earn him a starting spot for the Thunder.
In only his second year in the NBA in the 2014-15 season, Roberson started 65 of the 67 games that he played. This was not a popular choice in Oklahoma City, as Roberson was young, inexperienced, and not savvy on the offensive end of the ball, averaging only 3.4 points per game, including shooting a dismal 24.7% from beyond the arc.
His offensive numbers have never been impressive, but that is because he is more of a defensive specialist. Roberson is typically tasked with guarding the opposing team’s best player, which he has excelled at as a young player.
The experience that Roberson received in his second year paid off in his third year. In the 2015-16 season, Roberson started all 70 games that he played in, seeing a career high in minutes per game (22.2), field goal percentage (49.6%), three-point percentage (31.1%), and points per game (4.8). However, the real growth that Roberson had experienced showed up in the playoffs, where he started and played in all 18 of the Thunder’s games, averaging 26.2 minutes, 5.6 points, 5.6 rebound, 1.3 steals, and 1.1 blocks.
In Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, Andre scored a career-high 17 points to go along with 12 rebounds as the Thunder defeated the Warriors 118-94 to take a 3-1 series lead. The Thunder would go on to lose the series to the Warriors, but Roberson’s contributions were essential nonetheless.
Coming off his best season and an impressive playoff run, Andre Roberson is expected to improve even more this year, potentially even becoming more included in the offensive end due to some major roster changes. One thing is never in doubt when it comes to the young fella: he works as hard as anyone on the court, and he has fun doing it. Thunder fans should not be surprised if Andre Roberson has career highs this season in a number of statistical categories.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @thethunderguys on Twitter.