The Oklahoma City Thunder started training camp this morning, and a lot of eyes are on the Integris practice facility as the team prepares for the upcoming season. They’ve extended training camp contracts to two rookies, despite having a pretty much set contract. I was thinking about the things that we should watch for during training camp, and I came up with three big issues facing Oklahoma City during camp.
Russell Westbrook’s Knee
This one is pretty obvious. Westbrook’s knee really will control our entire season. If it holds up him, misses more games, and just really cannot return to the same form, Oklahoma City might be in trouble. Westbrook said he was going to be practicing today, despite having some swelling in the past 48 hours. Coach Scott Brooks said the swelling was normal and expected.
You shouldn’t expect to see the Honey Badger early in training camp. Even though he’s practicing with the team, to see him play extended preseason minutes would be really stupid by the coaching staff. Who am I kidding? It’s Scott Brooks. He may do it.
We all just want his knee to fully heal, and become one of the best players in the league like we know that he can become throughout his career. Patience might be a virtue for Thunder fans this preseason.
How improved is Kevin Mar… I mean, Jeremy Lamb
Jeremy Lamb is going to be a crucial member of the Thunder offense this season. The lack of a free agent signing showed that he will finally get his chance to show what he has to offer. We saw flashes of brilliance against teams in the Orlando Pro Summer League. We also saw very frustrating moments by forcing shots. You can take some of both sides with grains of salt. Summer League allows you small amounts. However, taking the spotlight off Lamb could help him develop into a real scoring threat. We’ll see how he fits in the rotation throughout preseason.
Is this the year Kevin Durant develops more of a post game?
Durant has improved his game every year, always adding new wrinkles. He had one heck of a year last year, joining the 50-40-90 club. Will he be able to repeat this feat? He’s already the best scorer in the association. However, those numbers are hard to do. Only six players have done it since the 1979-80 N.B.A. season. While we all love Durant, I’d really like to see him be a lot more physical and attack the basket more this season. Let’s avoid being very passive this season.
However, if Durant comes out, plays the same game, drops his 50-40-90 stat line, I wouldn’t be all against that either. I’d just love for one of the game’s best players to improve his game, for his legacy. He’s really just something special to watch.
I’m sure there are more questions, but these three questions are the ones who just completely stood out to me. Oklahoma City should probably win the West, despite all these concerns.