One of the cardinal rules in analyzing preseason basketball is that you can’t make conclusions about anything or anyone. In Oklahoma City’s case, we got a taste of how young players play against top-notch talent, and got a feel of how this season may pan out.
To review, this is how the Thunder’s preseason went:
Win in Turkey vs. Fenerbahce Ulker, 95-82
Win in England vs. 76ers, 103-99
Win in OKC vs. Nuggets, 109-81
Loss in Tulsa vs. Pelicans, 105-102
Win in OKC vs. Jazz, 88-82
Loss in Phoenix vs. Suns, 88-76
Loss in Wichita vs. Bulls, 104-95
So, Oklahoma City went 4-3 in the preseason, defeating two poor teams (Fenerbahce and Philly), and beating two mediocre teams in Denver and Utah. Take what you want from that, but at the end of the day, every game wasn’t necessarily about winning.
Game in and game out, Scott Brooks was looking for how players improved over the summer, and who to fit in the rotation.
Here are the takeaways from the preseason:
-Jeremy Lamb can be really good or really bad. Lamb in the preseason had his REALLY good, and REALLY bad moments. The bad sign of Lamb was his poor shooting, and poor shot selection early in the shot clock. With Lamb being so young, those mistakes are common. With a few games under his belt, he will soon realize what a good shot is and what is not. The good sign of Lamb was shown last night. It started in the first half, where he was actively defensively making plays off steals and turning that into offense in transition. Lamb scored 22 points on 9-1 from the floor. Hopefully we see the Jeremy Lamb from last night in the regular season, because the Thunder could really use his play making abilities and scoring.
- And the Steven Adams talk continues. How can’t it? Per 36 numbers this preseason, Adams averaged 12.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, and shot 62.1 percent from the floor. Adams stepped up and impressed greatly. He also held his own and played really well against one of the best front courts in the NBA last night in Noah, Boozer, and Gibson. I’m not going to say more because he has yet to proven anything in an actual NBA game.
-The final roster spot has to be made soon. The 14th and last spot is down to McGruder, Garrett, and Gomez. I think Presti and Brooks will go with Gomez. When he got time in the preseason, he proved he can make plays(went 3-for-3 from deep against the pelicans) and be on the floor. Gomez has been in the league for a while now, and is a good locker room voice to have.
-The guy who showed the most growth and improvement over the summer was clearly Reggie Jackson. He was plain brilliant in the preseason. He had multiple games with 15+ points, and last night was no different as he scored 14 points with six assists against the best PG in the league in Rose. Thunder fans should have no worry with Westbrook out because Jackson will be pretty damn good replacement. Take your time, Russ.
-KD looked stronger, and more dynamic with his post game. Kevin Durant can get better? Wait what.
-Sefolosha’s shot didn’t improve much, but he does seem a bit more aggressive. Every touch he got, he wanted to attack the basket. I can’t really tell if that’s a good or bad thing.
First regular season game: Next Wednesday against the Jazz.