For the last few seasons perimeter defense has been a concern for the Thunder. Last season the team finished 12th in the NBA in opponent three point percentage. While finishing in the top 15 doesn’t sound too bad, the three ball killed the Thunder in many games last year. Heading into the 2016 season, many had hoped perimeter defense would be a main focus for improvement.
In the first preseason game of the year on Monday, the Thunder gave up 20 twenty threes to Real Madrid. They allowed them to shoot 54% for the game. While many of the top perimeter defenders were restricted to fewer minutes, this should still be a concern for the depth of the Thunder bench. Other guys have to step up when Victor Oladipo or Andre Roberson are not on the court.
Russell Westbrook has to step up on the defensive end as well. Westbrook has the capability to be a top defender in this league. However, his primary focus has always been offense. He will have to find a way to balance both sides of his game for the Thunder to have success this season.
Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @TheThunderGuys on twitter.