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D.J. Augustin should be a better fit than Reggie Jackson in Oklahoma City
The Oklahoma City Thunder were able to address some of their most glaring weaknesses before this season's trade deadline Thursday.
Here’s a look at where they benefited the most, with some help from NBA.com's player-tracking data.
The Thunder have averaged the fifth-fewest points on catch-and-shoot opportunities this season at just 21 per game. They've been the second-worst team in terms of efficiency with a 35 percent field goal percentage on such attempts.
New addition Kyle Singler is shooting a career-best 42 percent on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers this season. He’s also shooting a career-high 40.6 percent from the 3-point line overall. And his fellow new teammate, Steve Novak, is a career 46 percent shooter on catch-and-shoot opportunities.
For their careers, D.J. Augustin and Reggie Jackson have essentially the same player efficiency rating: 15.8 to 15.6.
However, Augustin is a better 3-point shooter and a more willing passer (as noted in the chart on the right), which fits Oklahoma City's needs.
Augustin attacks the basket at a high frequency; he's created an average of 8.1 points on 7.1 drives per game. Both of those figures rank ahead of Reggie Jackson's and within the top 30 in the league this season.
Augustin's averages of 20 points and 8 assists on 47 percent shooting over his last 10 games make him one of the hotter players in the NBA. He averaged just 8 points and 4 assists on 38 percent shooting in his first 44 games.
The Thunder have scored 11.6 points per game on close touches (touches that start within 12 feet of the basket) this season. That is the fourth-lowest average in the NBA so far.
New acquisition Enes Kanter is averaging a career-high 13.8 points per game this season, 8.7 of which have come in the paint. That latter figure ranks 21st in the NBA just behind Tim Duncan's 8.9 points in the paint per game. Taking a look at Kanter's shot locations - 55 percent of his attempts have come within four feet of the basket this season. He's converted 63 percent of those shots.
Oklahoma City rid itself of Kendrick Perkins and his 8.0 player efficiency rating since joining the team (NBA average: 15 PER). Kanter's player efficiency rating is 17.5 this season. He's one of six players age 22 or younger with a player efficiency rating of at least 17 this season. The others are in order Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, Jonas Valanciunas, Andre Drummond and Jared Sullinger.
Postseason in sight
Entering Saturday, ESPN's Basketball Power Index gives the Thunder an 85 percent chance to reach the postseason, with the Suns at 10 percent and the Pelicans at six percent. Oklahoma City's additions should make the Thunder a lock to make the playoffs, and the team is primed to become one of the toughest eighth seeds in postseason history.