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5 Questions with Welcome to Loud City

We caught up with Chris Grenham from SB Nation’s Welcome to Loud City to talk about tonight’s matchup.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder is considered a mere afterthought for most Memphis Grizzlies fans, as the news circulating the trade deadline for the conversation. For that reason, and plenty more, I’m terrified of this matchup.

The Grizzlies have yet to play the Thunder this season, so it’s tough to gauge the matchup. However, the Thunder’s two-way brilliance is a horrible matchup for this team. Russell Westbrook is a wrecking ball despite his horrendous shooting numbers. Paul George looks like a legitimate candidate for both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards, and it’s hard to identify a potential stopper from this Grizzlies team. With Marc Gasol potentially out, Steven Adams may have a field day on the glass.

I’m not ready for it, but I still caught up with Chris Grenham from SB Nation’s Welcome to Loud City to talk about tonight’s game.

1. What’s been the key in unlocking Paul George’s MVP-caliber season?

It sounds simple, but letting him be himself. Paul George is a free flowing player on both sides of the ball. He adapts with each individual game. Last year, OKC ran a lot of structured sets for George. That’s not the case this year. They’ve increased their offensive flexibility by letting George be himself. In turn, that’s caused Russell Westbrook to pass more than he ever has, creating more ball movement than OKC had last season. George has been a huge beneficiary of this.

2. Could someone like Terrance Ferguson or Hamidou Diallo become a piece next to the Thunder’s core?

Yes on both counts. Terrance Ferguson, in my opinion, has already proven his worth. He’s started 45 games on a Thunder team that currently sits in 3rd place in the West. Ferguson has shown versatility on both sides of the ball, which is a pleasant surprise considering some of the concerns that he had when he came into the league. Diallo is an extremely athletic young player who is great in transition and can help stretch the floor in any lineup. He’s still raw, but at 20 years old he has plenty of potential to be a part of OKC’s core for years to come.

3. What are some deadline moves you want the Thunder to make?

OKC could use some help in the three-point department or depth on the defensive glass. My ideal acquisition would be Wesley Matthews. Obviously he’s a potential buyout candidate, but his outside shooting could really help the Thunder down the stretch. Any veteran shooter, for that matter, would be ideal.

4. How do you think the Thunder will finish out the season, both in the regular season and in the playoffs?

I see OKC finishing in 2nd or 3rd in the West. The Thunder are one of the most well-rounded teams out there. If they can acquire some depth at the deadline or in the buyout market, they’ll be in great shape. Don’t be surprised if they make it to the Western Conference Finals, but nobody is getting past Golden State.

5. What matchup are you looking forward to in this game?

The Thunder have the fourth best defensive rating in the NBA, thanks to guys like Paul George and Steven Adams. I’m looking forward to watching how Jaren Jackson Jr. performs against that onslaught. I’m always curious to see how young players react to good systems, and this is a great example of a tremendous young player going against a solid defense.

Thank you, Chris, for joining this edition of 5 Questions. Be sure to follow Chris Grenham, as well as Welcome to Loud City, on Twitter for fantastic Thunder coverage.

Follow @sbngrizzlies for trade deadline updates and coverage on tonight’s game.