February 20, 2009
Sorting through the chaos of yesterday’s deadline-day dealing doesn’t reveal too much to get excited about. Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Shaq, Gerald Wallace and the other high-profile names being thrown around as the deadline drew near all stayed put. But one move has flown under the radar that caught our eye. Chicago’s Thabo Sefolosha was shipped to Oklahoma City for one of the Thunder’s five stockpiled first-round picks from the next two drafts.
It’s probably ETB’s favorite move of the day – although it should be noted that we’re unabashed Thabo Sefolosha fans. We’ve listed him as one of the ten players in the league with the most untapped potential. We’ve said on two occasions that we think he has a breakout season in him. It’s safe to say we have a little man crush on 6-7 “shooting” guard out of Switzerland. The kid just oozes potential.
His offensive game is still raw, although he hasn’t been given much opportunity at that end of the floor, but he’s a purebred athlete who can earn his keep with defense and energy. Last season then-Bulls coach Scott Skiles, who’s known for his focus on defense and hustle, had this to say about Thabo:
“Thabo’s got great physical gifts that, frankly, a lot of guys in the league just don’t have. He’s got tremendous length and has really quick hands. He grabs your attention whenever you watch him play. It’s easy to see that he knows what he’s doing out there. You can tell he likes to play defense, too. He’s eager to get after it.”
He’s a great fit with the youthful Thunder squad and fills a need at the two. We’re assuming that OKC GM Sam Presti sees what Skiles and we have seen in the young man and that head coach Scott Brooks will give him significant run down the stretch. The 13th pick from 2006 doesn’t look for his shot, but he plays a heady game and he can get up and down the floor. Just 24 years old, he’s still got plenty of room to grow. On a team that has been surprisingly good on offense and poor on D this season his lanky presence on the perimeter is a welcome addition. Sefolosha should take a lot of defensive pressure off of Kevin Durant and Jeff Green. And he can also do this…
Thabo Sefolosha photo credit: Icon SMI