|2012-13 Team Rating|
|2nd Overall||4th Overall|
2012-13 Season Stats
Kevin Durant is one of the most deadly and efficient scorers in the game. Serge Ibaka has delivered a mid-range game, but it would help significantly if he could develop post moves with Kendrick Perkins still clogging space.
Russell Westbrook promises to be a smarter player coming off knee surgery. Reggie Jackson grew up in the playoffs. No Kevin Martin means Jeremy Lamb must be a scoring threat behind defensive-minded Thabo Sefolosha.
Size, quickness and athleticism will keep OKC among the most opportunistic defenses in the league. Entering his fifth season, the shot-blocking Ibaka will continue to vie for his first Defensive Player of the Year award.
For the first time since they drafted James Harden, there's no locked-in sixth man. Big question is if Lamb can thrive taking on consistent rotation minutes and if 2012 draft pick, 6-11 forward Perry Jones, can contribute.
Scott Brooks has taken heat for too often allowing Westbrook to be Westbrook and for his sometimes head-scratching loyalty to Perkins. Still, they were the favorite to make the Finals had Westbrook been healthy.
OKC fans have quickly learned that tight-fisted finances drive all personnel decisions, which is why Thunder management refused to amnesty Perkins last summer or this one. They don't want to pay the remainder of his large salary, plus the salary of a replacement. Cap casualty James Harden now has a team in Houston to potentially rival his old one, and with the Thunder unable to retain Kevin Martin, scoring options behind Durant and Westbrook become even thinner.
Still, those two All-NBA performers are so lethal that OKC will again be in the thick of the West title race. Ibaka continues to improve and steady role players such as Sefolosha, Nick Collison and the emerging Jackson make OKC a threat to reach the mountaintop.
-- Jeff Caplan
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||B+|
|Los Angeles Clippers||A-|
|Los Angeles Lakers||C|
|New Orleans Pelicans||C-|
|New York Knicks||B|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||B+|
|Portland Trail Blazers||B|
|San Antonio Spurs||A|