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Patterson, not Anthony, could be offensive spark for Thunder's lagging offense

From NBA media reports

* Tonight on NBA TV: Nuggets vs. Thunder (8 p.m. ET)

When it was mentioned in the opening days of training camp, when the trade was still fresh and Carmelo Anthony was convinced that the Oklahoma City Thunder were on the cusp of something big with he and Russell Westbrook and Paul George, he laughed off the mere though of it. Come off he bench? Seriously?

Well, Christmas is just days away and the question has lingered throughout the Thunder’s tough start to this season and won’t go away. Might is serve he greater good if Anthony, who has struggled of late, were to come off the bench? Erik Horne of the Oklahoman examines the topic in advance of the Thunder’s game tonight against Denver (8 ET, NBA TV):

En route to a disappointing 14-15 start, the Thunder’s path to the “right way” has been a struggle. The questions about how Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook would mesh have so far been answered with career low field goal percentages for each All-Star.

The game was supposed to be easier with more firepower surrounding the Thunder stars. Would it be easier if Patrick Patterson played more with the starters than Carmelo Anthony?

Patterson has played just eight minutes this season with the foursome of Westbrook, George, Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Any judgment about their effectiveness with Patterson compared to Anthony is premature.

It is important to consider, though, the type of touches and possessions Anthony gravitates toward at power forward, and the type of touches and possessions Patterson doesn’t require.

Twenty-two percent of Anthony’s possessions this season have been in isolation, seventh in the NBA, which wouldn’t be an issue if he was more efficient. Anthony is in the 41st percentile in scoring in isolation. George has been even worse (32nd). Too often when Anthony or George get the ball, it stops, as do the players without it.

Patterson isn’t the Hall of Fame scorer Anthony is, but there’s urgency to his offense. “Being able to decide as soon as I catch the ball if I want to drive or pass is something I’ve been carrying along for years,” Patterson said.

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