Trade update II: Acquired No. 40 pick Grant Jerrett from Portland for cash considerations.
Areas of Strength
With no reason to believe that Russell Westbrook won't return at full strength from a torn meniscus in his right knee that knocked him out of the playoffs and derailed the Thunder's title hopes, OKC will be right back in the fight next season. James Harden is in the rearview mirror and the three-man core of superstars Kevin Durant and Westbrook plus blossoming Serge Ibaka -- all three are still under 25 -- will continue to rack up wins as one of the league's most explosive and exciting teams.
Low-post scoring: Al Jefferson anyone (tough with Kendrick Perkins still signed to big money)? The one constant knock against the Thunder is the inability to throw the ball down low. Ibaka has become a scoring threat but mostly with an accurate mid-range jumper. The bench: Kevin Martin is a free agent and even if he's re-signed, OKC needs more scoring punch from someone not named Derek Fisher. The playoffs made that painfully clear.
Two Stats That Matter
42.5% -- Second-best opponent field-goal percentage in the league. OKC is the rare team that plays at a high pace, scores a ton of points and executes excellent defense.
14.6 -- Tied for 23rd in turnovers per game, which is going to be a casualty of a fast-paced offense operated by blazing, risk-taking point guard like Westbrook, who averaged 3.3 turnovers a game. He said watching playoff games while injured will help him become a smarter player next season.
The Way To Go
The OKC front office under general manager Sam Presti has aced the draft with their high picks and did pretty well with a low pick in 2011 in Reggie Jackson. This should be interesting because OKC has picks Nos. 12 (from Toronto), 29 and 32 (from Charlotte), and that means plenty of options. Presti has plenty of trade assets on the roster as well. A big man with some offensive skill could be top on the list.
2012-13 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank)
Offensive: 110.2 (2nd)
Defensive: 99.2 (4th)
F: Kevin Durant
G: Russell Westbrook
C: Kendrick Perkins
G: Thabo Sefolosha
F/C: Nick Collison
F/C: Serge Ibaka
G/F: Jeremy Lamb
G: Reggie Jackson
F: Perry Jones
C: Hasheem Thabeet (Non-guaranteed)
G: DeAndre Liggins (Non-guaranteed)
C: Daniel Orton (Non-guaranteed)
G: Kevin Martin
G/F: Ronnie Brewer
G: Derek Fisher
Recent Draft History
2012: Perry Jones (28)
2011: Reggie Jackson (24)
2010: Eric Bledsoe (18), Craig Brackins (21), Quincy Pondexter (26), Magnum Rolle (51)
2009: James Harden (3), Rodrigue Beaubois (25)
2008: Russell Westbrook (4), Serge Ibaka (24), Walter Sharpe (32), Trent Plaisted (46), DeVon Hardin (50), Sasha Kaun (56)
2007: Kevin Durant (2), Carl Landry (31), Glen Davis (35)
2006: Mouhamed Sene (10), Denham Brown (40), Yotam Halperin (53)
-- Jeff Caplan