For the most part, criticism has surrounded the Oklahoma City Thunder’s offseason more than anything else.
NBA.com went about their grading of the Thunder’s offseason a little bit differently.
OKC fans have quickly learned that tight-fisted finances drive all personnel decisions, which is why Thunder management refused to amnesty Perkins last summer or this one. They don’t want to pay the remainder of his large salary, plus the salary of a replacement. Cap casualty James Harden now has a team in Houston to potentially rival his old one, and with the Thunder unable to retain Kevin Martin, scoring options behind Durant and Westbrook become even thinner.
Still, those two All-NBA performers are so lethal that OKC will again be in the thick of the West title race. Ibaka continues to improve and steady role players such as Sefolosha, Nick Collison and the emerging Jackson make OKC a threat to reach the mountaintop.
Really the only area where Caplan was critical of the Thunder was their bench. In losing Kevin Martin now too, the certainty of whether or not the bench will be able to perform is more unknown than ever. It’s hard to disagree with that.
This seems to be more of a grading of the Thunder as a team than of their offseason moves. The overall grade Caplan gives the Thunder is a B+. That is worse than the grades he gave Brooklyn, Indiana, the Clippers, Miami and San Antonio.
So it seems like Caplan may feel OKC will be worse next season than all of those teams, which is going a little too far in my opinion.
The Thunder didn’t make any big splashes this summer, but they should still be right up there at the top of the standings at the end of the year. Some of the teams Caplan grades better just aren’t as proven as OKC is.