Thunder showing signs of weakness after only two games
Nov 2, 2013 at 7:54p ET
• Not to panic or anything, but this kind of start is pretty close to worst-case scenario for the Thunder. Kevin Durant shooting a lot and not getting much other help. If it was Kobe Bryant, people might say he's not getting his teammates involved enough. However, Durant doesn't have a lot of the negativity thrown his way. But a 9-of-24 effort and then 22 free throws to get to 42 points against Utah would have to be considered high volume. Not like there was a lot of ball movement, either. The Thunder had nine total assists. That was still good enough to beat Utah by himself. It didn't happen against Minnesota. Durant was just 4-of-11 and scored 13 points.
• He needs help. We knew that heading into the season, though. No secret there. So far, nothing doing. Count on teams loading up on Durant and seeing if there are any other players wearing blue who can chip in. No one did against Minnesota and the result was a blowout loss.
• Hasn't been Serge Ibaka. Ibaka is 7-for-28 from the floor. Blame it on the fact there aren't as many openings now that Westbrook is out, but Ibaka has to be better. He has to, or else Durant will suffer.
• Jeremy Lamb was 7-of-15 against Minnesota, but a lot of that came late. He scored 16 points, 14 in the second half. Aside from Lamb, only Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison shot better than 50 percent. Umm, that's not good.
• Let's not get too down yet, though. Last year, the Thunder started 1-2, and that included a home loss to Atlanta. With Russell Westbrook. After that home loss, OKC won eight of nine. The Thunder's next four opponents failed to make the playoffs last year.
• No one is saying Reggie Jackson has to be as good as Westbrook, but he can't be dreadful, awful. Jackson had seven turnovers against the T-Wolves. Possibly he's feeling a degree of pressure of having to be a guy who scores. Sure, that would help, but just don't turn it over and he'd be fine.
• Oklahoma City is averaging 12.5 assists per game and 17.5 turnovers.
• We know Scott Brooks loves to talk about defense being the No. 1 priority, but this offense has to improve. You know Durant won't struggle for long (right?), but the rest of the team isn't helping much yet. The Thunder are shooting 37.8 percent as a team. That's 29th in the league.
• Does this kind of start mean Durant presses more?
• Steven Adams had a great preseason. Slow start in the real games, though. He's –21 in the plus/minus category.
• Chalk it up to just not having a solid, reliable sixth man, but man, it seems like playing 12 guys against Minnesota and 10 guys against Utah is too many. I'm sure the 34-point third-quarter deficit had something to do with why Brooks decided to empty the bench on Friday night.
• Life without Russell Westbrook could be tough. It's early, and the Thunder did win a game on the road, but these aren't the kind of performances that make you think Oklahoma City can beat the really good teams without him.
Follow Andrew Gilman on Twitter: @andrewgilmanOK