How could the Thunder possibly think that signing Serge Ibaka was a higher priority than James Harden?!?
Well, we have recent evidence.
If you’ve heard the phrase “Defense wins championships,” then you might have some idea as to why the Thunder decided to re-sign Ibaka to a four-year, $48 million deal that helped to ensure James Harden was shipped out of town to the Houston Rockets.
‘Defense’ is the word that helps people to understand Ibaka’s value to the Thunder, but his work swatting shots and challenging opponents’ forwards and centers isn’t the only significant portion of his game.
Last night against the Chicago Bulls, Ibaka showed his emerging value at the offensive end of the floor.
Ibaka started off the game by taking (and missing) two open outside jump shots from the left corner along with another 18-foot miss from the top of the key. Confidence shooting the ball has always been an issue for the fifth-year player from the Congo, but Ibaka seems to be turning a corner and learning that despite few misses, a ‘good shot’ will always be a good shot: If the forward takes a jumper within the flow of the offense with confidence (despite a few early misses), there is a much better chance for success. After all, Ibaka is probably one of the best jump-shooting bigs in the league.