Oklahoma City Thunder

The Great Dre Debate

Zachary Low

zacharylow88

In January of 2018, Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard Andre Roberson was a key cog in OKC’s developing machine. He was well on his way to becoming First Team All-Defense, and while he was still a liability on offense, particularly from the free throw line, he was a sure-fire threat when it came to locking down an opponent’s scoring abilities.

After sustaining a ruptured left patellar tendon against the Detroit Pistons on January 27, 2018, Roberson has not played a single game due to a long—and often delayed—recovery. After being at about 90% ready to return to the floor, he suffered an avulsion fracture after going up for a dunk in practice and hearing a “crunch” as he hit the floor. This was the second setback of his recovery, and he ended up missing the rest of the 2018-19 season because of it.

His role with the Thunder is now a question mark, and while fans will speculate as to what Thunder GM Sam Presti will actually do with him, Roberson has his sights set on being ready to go by training camp.

I’m on a good track to return for training camp. As of right now…still waiting on the bone to kinda fully heal but making great progress. I’m running, so I’m happy about that.

Thunder head coach Billy Donovan, who is anticipated to return for the final season of his contract, hinted at the importance of Andre Roberson. While admitting that Paul Geoge needs some help—being sure to point out that includes on the defensive end—Donovan referenced the development of Terrance Ferguson over this last season while adding, “I also think having Andre (Roberson) back kind of helps that where you can move different guys around to different matchups and lineups.”

It certainly appears that the Thunder intends on having Roberson back in an Oklahoma City uniform for next season, but whether he is able to play at the same level as he did prior to the injury is yet to be seen. While it may be a pipe dream to expect him to be back in the starting lineup, one thing that cannot go overlooked is his role in the development of Terrance Ferguson.

Sam Presti certainly thought so as he mentioned in his exit interview.

Andre Roberson deserves a lot of credit for helping [Ferguson].

Andre Roberson still has two seasons on his contract, and at a price tag of $10 million, he might be a little hard to move in a trade. While a lot of fans think it’s time to move on from Dre, Thunder faithful should at least take some time to see if Roberson is still capable of playing his high-caliber defense. If he can, he will be a valuable asset either way, and he very well could be a difference maker in pushing the Thunder closer to the goals of winning a championship.

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