It wasn’t a Shams Charania tweet that was going to break the internet.
“The Mavericks have traded Isaiah Roby to the Thunder for Justin Patton and cash considerations,” it read.
It wasn’t even a tweet that excited most Thunder fans at the time, but 48 games worth of 8.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists from Roby later, there’s reason for Oklahoma City to celebrate what seemed like a nonessential trade at first glance.
After seven full seasons of a traditional-style center in Steven Adams, the Thunder got a glance this year at what a stretch big would look like the form of 28 games from veteran Al Horford.
With Horford’s time in Oklahoma City likely done, the team has turned to Moses Brown and Tony Bradley, two more traditional-style shot-blockers with a knack for playing around the rim.
But Roby, the second-year prospect acquired on a random Thursday in February, offers the Thunder versatility.
At 6-foot-8, Roby splits the middle between traditional center and stretch big.
Scoring nearly nine points a game over an average of 23 minutes, Roby works the paint well. While he isn’t a threat from deep, he’s shooting 3-pointers at a 34% clip, which is enough to respect as a defender.
That was on full display in Wednesday’s matchup against the Pacers, who played small-ball a majority of the night with center Myles Turner out due to injury.
Roby scored seven points, grabbed three rebounds, dished out three assists and drained his only 3-point attempt of the night.
“He’s gotten a lot of minutes this season at both spots, and he’s proven he can be effective at both spots,” head coach Coach Daigneault said after the game. “They were obviously really small tonight so we played him at the five some to try to match that.”
Going forward, it’s clear the Thunder will continue to explore Roby in different combinations of lineups.
“It is good to see that we’re continuing to explore his versatility, the fact that he can do so many different things just makes him more and more playable.”