Season preview: Oklahoma City Thunder

Season preview: Oklahoma City Thunder


Season preview: Oklahoma City Thunder

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STAYING: Alex Abrines, Steven Adams, Semaj Christon, Nick Collison, Jerami Grant, Josh Huestis, Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, Andre Roberson, Kyle Singler and Russell Westbrook.

ADDED: Raymond Felton (LA Clippers), Terrance Ferguson (Adelaide 36ers), Paul George (Indiana), Daniel Hamilton (Oklahoma City Blue), Dakari Johnson (Oklahoma City Blue) and Patrick Patterson (Toronto).

GONE: Norris Cole, Taj Gibson (Minnesota), Victor Oladipo (Indiana) and Domantas Sabonis (Indiana).

STRENGTHS: Star power … Oklahoma City is one of the few teams with two Top 20 NBA players … Russell Westbrook will be an MVP candidate again next season … He can will a team to the playoffs, as proved by his performance in 2016-17 … His incredible stats could translate even better to wins with a great sidekick like Paul George … It’s a super athletic bunch that should once again score a lot of points in transition … No one will be surprised if they lead the league in rebounds for the fourth year in a row … Defensive ace Andre Roberson and Kiwi big man Steven Adams are high-quality role players … Their physical play is a great asset for Oklahoma City … With the addition of George and Patrick Patterson, it’s safe to say they will no longer be the worst three-point shooting team in the NBA … The Thunder have one of the best home-court advantages in the league with raucous fans fully behind the team.

WEAKNESSES: Not an awful lot of depth … Billy Donovan will probably have to ride Westbrook and George more than he’d like … While outside shooting is likely to improve, they will probably be average at best in that department … Their backcourt of Westbrook and Roberson shot a combined 29.5 from three the last two seasons … Roberson is a non-factor on the offensive and cannot even be trusted to hit free throws … Hack-a-Roberson was a thing in the playoffs … They are thin at the power forward position … There’s going to be some questions about chemistry … Will George be OK with a role as a No. 2 guy heading into free agency?

PREDICTION: 1st in the Northwest Division, 4th in the Western Conference.


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