Oklahoma City Thunder Preview: Season Starts vs. Spurs


Early Rumblings is your ultimate OKC Thunder preview for today’s game. The 2015-16 NBA season is set to start with a considerable challenge. Both teams are legitimate title contenders but have gone through big changes, welcoming both new players and familiar faces. Which team will come out on top to start the year on a winning note?

San Antonio Spurs (0-0) @ Oklahoma City Thunder (0-0)

7:00 p.m. CST€“ Tueday, October 28, 2015 – Chesapeake Energy Arena

Broadcast on ESPN

Key Reserves

OKC Thunder: Enes Kanter, Dion WaitersD.J. Augustin, Anthony Morrow, Mitch McGary

San Antonio Spurs: Patty Mills, Manu Ginobili, Boris DiawDavid West

Storm Alert – What to Look For in Today’s Game

Biggest story: Um…aside from the start of the most pivotal season in franchise history? Perhaps Thunder fans might be tired of hearing it but that doesn’t make it any less true – the impending free agency of Durant is a factor. Couple that with a new head coach (Billy Donovan) the full offseason of Kanter and Waiters, and the fact that it’s the first game of the season…well, there’s nothing else that could be more compelling.

Best matchup: The addition of Aldridge adds a new wrinkle for a team that has been labeled boring but been anything but consistently great for years. The Spurs have to find a new way to evolve and Aldridge is the key piece. Set aside the long-term issue that the torch is clearly being passed from Duncan, Ginobili and Parker to younger stars like Leonard and Aldridge; what you really have is a star-studded roster that can simply play. Aldridge and Ibaka have had some issues in the past and you wonder if those will translate given his new team.

But how Ibaka limits his touches and effectiveness will be a key to victory, not just tonight but in a possible playoff battle in the future.

Why you should watch: Kevin Durant. What else can you really say? Last season was so difficult in many ways, not the least of which was the fact the Thunder missed the playoffs. But the worst part of it was seeing Durant forced to the sideline for so long. Playing in just 27 games, many wondered if the former MVP would ever regain his lofty status as one of the best players in the game. The preseason seemed to answer those questions and he looks as good as ever. Welcoming him back on the floor will be an emotional moment for both KD and the faithful fans at the ‘Peake.

No “Current Trends” or “History Pattern” sections in today’s preview. As the first game of the season, it’s hard to tell what trends will continue. As for history, these two teams have it, enjoying a heated rivalry over the years that has always seemed to be the last step before an appearance in the NBA Finals. Still, here’s what to look for:

  • How will Roberson continue to balance out the starting lineup? No one’s expecting him to be a productive scorer, but he’ll be counted on for his defense and will be routinely tested by the sharpshooting Danny Green.
  • Will Donovan be forced to make any adjustments in his first regular season game as a NBA coach? He’s going up against the master in Gregg Popovich so you wonder if this will be a factor, especially if the game is tight down the stretch.
  • Can Kanter continue to produce off the bench? He certainly seemed engaged during the preseason but he’ll be counted on to score early and often when the second unit rolls on to the floor.
  • Can Waiters maintain his steady production? Dion is…unique. There’s really no other way to put it. But the legendary shoot-first guard seemed much more in control during the preseason and seems ready to (finally) turn the corner in his search for maturity and consistency.

Check back with Thunderous Intentions for a full recap, post-game grades, analysis and more. 

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