Every season brings with it unanswered questions. For the Oklahoma City Thunder, there are plenty heading into the 2013-14 season.
The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry recently brought up five major questions heading into next season.
The biggest, of course, is how Russell Westbrook will return. I’ve written and I feel pretty confidently that we will quickly forget Westbrook injured his knee at all. The injury really wasn’t serious and we should see the old Westbrook back from the start of the season.
The next two questions Mayberry brings up kind of go together in my opinion. They’re about how Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb will perform.
That is definitely the biggest question in my opinion. James Harden was a huge loss last season but Kevin Martin was a proven NBA player taking his place. We knew we’d get something from Martin. The same can’t be said for Jackson and Lamb.
It will be their duty to replace Martin, and Harden still in a sense. The greatest success of the Thunder these past few years has always come largely due to a strong bench unit. Harden two years ago was perfect at this and when Martin was playing well last season, OKC was at its best.
Jackson showed a lot in the playoffs, and really all season. He is a confident player that seems to be feeding off his success. My bet is that he will be fine next year.
Lamb is a bigger question mark. His talent is unquestionably there, but it takes more than just that to be successful in this league. He will get a chance, probably from the start of the season to be a big part of the rotation. No DeAndre Liggins helps with that.
Ideally, Jackson and Lamb will quickly look comfortable in the Thunder rotation and we will see an OKC team that appears to not have missed a beat.
The last two questions Mayberry asks kind of complete the others. How will the coaching staff progress and how will Kevin Durant?
One thing to help along Jackson and Lamb and everything else that needs to happen for the Thunder to sustain their success is progression from KD and the coaches. A more complex, efficient offense really needs to happen now. Durant continuing to grow in terms of his ability to bring up his teammates will help out a lot as well.
I think we can count on Durant, but the coaching staff still hasn’t won me over yet. I’d even go as far as to say this season has a lot riding on it for them. If we don’t see progression in the offense and there are still big question marks as to why the Thunder aren’t doing more, Scott Brooks and company may be on the way out.
They’ve made gradual improvements the past few seasons, but they need more next season. Time is running out.