By the time the final buzzer sounded Monday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder were down to eight healthy players they could throw out on the court. Injured are Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeremy Lamb, Anthony Morrow, Mitch McGary, Grant Jerrett, and Andre Roberson.
They have applied for and likely at some point Wednesday will receive a roster exemption to allow them to add some help (the injuries have to be confirmed by an independent doctor per league rules so it takes some time).
When that comes through, the Thunder have their man — Ish Smith. So reports Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman (and confirmed by others since).
Smith has bounced between the NBA and D-League for four years since leaving Wake Forest. He was in the Rockets’ training camp this season but they let him go.
What does Smith bring besides an upright body? Quickness. He is fast. That makes him a decent pick-and-roll defender and a guy who can get steals. However, that quickness has never translated for him on the offensive end where he is a poor shooter (career .416 true shooting percentage) and he turns the ball over a lot more than you want out of a point guard.
Smith doesn’t bring a lot, but right now the Thunder will take whatever they can get. This is a team that needs to find a way not to fall too far behind in the deep and shark-filled Western Conference waters before Durant and Westbrook return next month.