The 2013-14 season is finally upon us. It promises to be one of the most intriguing seasons in a long time.
For the Oklahoma City Thunder especially, there will be a lot to watch for this year.
Here are the top five things to keep an eye on this season:
5. Scott Brooks
The Thunder head coach signed an extension before the start of last season. He has been criticized in the past, but after the Thunder made it to the NBA Finals in 2012, that criticism started to go away. But a simple, easily defendable OKC offense was revealed in last year’s playoffs after Russell Westbrook got injured. With OKC losing Kevin Martin this offseason, the Thunder will have less proven scorers than ever before. It will be up to Brooks to find ways to get more from his roster on the offensive end. If the Thunder look to be running the same sets with too much Perkins on the floor, Brooks’ job may start to be questioned.
You had to be impressed by Steven Adams and Andre Roberson if you watched the Thunder in the preseason. Adams especially looked like a lottery pick. He has great size, great touch and is always hustling. It looks like Adams might be capable of breaking into the rotation immediately. Roberson also has some elite skills, rebounding especially. He just has a knack for grabbing boards, something that is valuable to any NBA team. On the night of the draft, no one was excited about the Thunder’s picks. Now, we can’t wait to see how they might contribute this season.
3. Westbrook injury
Westbrook will miss the first 4-6 weeks of the season. But when exactly will he come back? He was supposed to be ready for the start of the season if not for a setback in his recovery a few weeks ago. If there are any other hiccups in Westbrook’s recovery, it could really cost the Thunder in terms of playoff seeding. Or maybe Westbrook comes back early. How long will it take Russ to get back to his old self after coming back. This will undoubtedly be something to keep an eye on all year.
2. Kevin Durant’s historic place
Durant’s season last year was overshadowed by LeBron’s. But KD nearly led the league in scoring while shooting 50-40-90. He improved greatly as a passer and defensively. By all accounts, he’s going to be better this season. Durant will be tested as much as ever with no Westbrook or Martin early in the season. If he rises to the challenge, KD might be putting up historic numbers while keeping the Thunder relevant in the title chase. This season may also be the one that KD has the best chance to win an MVP. As always, all eyes will be on Durant this year.
1. Jeremy Lamb
We’ve already covered some pretty big storylines, but how Jeremy Lamb will play has to be the biggest one. Lamb barely played last season and after Martin’s departure, he suddenly finds a ton of pressure on himself this year. He struggled a lot in the preseason, especially with his outside shooting. He also had his moments where you see just how talented he is. The Thunder desperately need him to step up if they are going to pick up where they left off last year. If Lamb struggles all year, OKC could start thinking about trading him. It’s a lot for a young guy to handle, but Lamb will have to deal with it this season.