Roberson set new career-highs across the board last season with the Thunder, averaging 6.6 points and 5.1 rebounds over 79 games as the team's starting shooting guard. While he carved out a significant role in 2016, the addition of Paul George alongside MVP Russell Westbrook could leave Roberson with little opportunities on offense next season, especially considering his lack of three-point shooting capabilities (24.5 percent from behind the arc last season). However, the four-year pro is widely regarded as one of the league's better perimeter defenders, so the he shouldn't have any problems seeing plenty of minutes as a starter. The Thunder continue to retool a year after losing Kevin Durant, and now have a clear-cut starting rotation in Roberson, Westbrook, George, Steven Adams, a new-addition Patrick Patterson.
Roberson accumulated 13 points (5-9 FG, 1-2 3Pt, 2-12 FT), five blocks, four rebounds, and two steals in 38 minutes during Sunday's 113-109 loss to the Rockets in Game 4.
Roberson finished with a career high in blocks, but he was downright awful from the free-throw line. Roberson has countered the Rockets' plan to leave him alone on offense by filling in the lanes and cutting backdoor for easy layups, and he has also done a decent job of making shots from beyond the arc (seven-of-15) throughout the series. With that being said, his issues at the charity stripe (two-for-17) have helped the Rockets snatch a 3-1 lead heading into Tuesday's Game 5.
Roberson posted 18 points (7-10 FG, 4-6 3Pt), seven rebounds, three blocks, two steals and one assist across 34 minutes of play during Sunday's 118-87 loss to the Rockets in Game 1.
Roberson stepped up and delivered a postseason career high in scoring on a night when nobody else stepped up in support of Russell Westbrook, finishing second on the team in rebounding as well. His four treys were a career high in any setting and he played as well as one can in trying to contain James Harden for much of the game. Roberson could take on a magnified role in the series, benefiting his fantasy value, and even more so if his teammates continue to underachieve.
Roberson (rest) will not play in Wednesday's game, Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman reports.
Wednesday's game will mark the second consecutive day of rest for Roberson. With a playoff spot already secured and nowhere to rise or fall, the Thunder have opted to give the 25-year-old additional rest before postseason play. Roberson has played 79 games this season and just recently recovered from a knee injury.
Roberson is out for Tuesday's tilt against the Timberwolves for rest purposes, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune reports.
With the Thunder having locked up the sixth seed for the playoffs, they will opt to rest Roberson, a crucial part of anchoring their defense, to keep him fresh for postseason play. In his absence, expect more of Jerami Grant and Kyle Singler at the small forward slot, possibly along with Alex Abrines (knee) if he's cleared to play.
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