Is it time for the Thunder to make a change?

(Photo by TorreyPurvey.com)

By Michael Kinney

OKLAHOMA CITY- When Oklahoma City riding a four-game losing streak, coach Billy Donovan says a change in the starting lineup may be in order as they head into their matchup with Golden State Tuesday.

I don’t know yet, I’m not sure,” Donovan responded to being asked about keeping the starting lineup intact Tuesday. “I just think I have to evaluate. We’ve lost four games in a row. I think my job is to look at what’s best for the team. I’m not saying I’m going to do that, but I think I have to look at all those things right now.”

Oklahoma City’s four-game losing streak ties their longest stretch of the season. All have occurred since the season-ending injury to shooting guard Andre Roberson Jan. 27.

Roberson has been replaced in the starting lineup by rookie Terrance Ferguson. After early success during Roberson’s first injury stint, Ferguson has been unable to get on track. He is currently averaging 2.8 ppg.

I think one of the things that has gone with it is that one of our starters went down in Andre,” Donovan said. “So Terrance, I know everybody was really really thrilled in L.A. when he had the game he had. But I think I made the comment that over a period of time there will be different things he has to go through. It has nothing to do with Terrance. It’s about how do we best work our team now that a guy like Andre is out. What’s the best thing? Is the best thing having Terrance come off the bench? Is it Jerami (Grant), is it Alex (Abrines). Those are things we have to take a look at and bounce around as a staff to try and find the best way to go forward.”

If Ferguson is benched, he will more than likely be replaced by either Grant, Abrines or even Josh Huestis. All provide different skill sets to the team.

Donovan says matchups will go into consideration on who joins Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams in the starting lineup.

“The part of it is the matchup part of it,” Donovan said. “Who is matched up on who? Who is playing against who? That was the one thing about Andre is you never worried about who the other team was playing because he was such an elite defender. He was going to lineup against whoever he was playing against. I think Terrance and Josh (Huestis) have the ability to be really good defensive players. I think they are getting better and improving. But I also think you want to be able to evaluate where the group is at and what’s the best thing for the group.”

But no matter who starts, George says it is up to the veterans on the squad to make the game easier for them.

“I think it’s continuing to trust and just having a view on it that we’ve been there before,” George said. “We’ve been in their position, we’ve been in their shoes. It’s a cycle. Guys helped us along the way and we have to be there for them. That’s all it comes down to. It’s good that we’ve been in the thick of things, having some ups and downs. Not only is it continuing to build character among myself, Russ and Melo, it’s building character in the young guys as well.”

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with Eyeamtruth.com

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