The Oklahoma City Thunder will play their first pre-season game tonight against the Houston Rockets. It’s not an official game, but it’s certainly better than nothing. It’ll definitely keep us occupied until the first official game of the season in 16 days.
The roster changes over the summer were made by Sam Presti to win a title. In doing so, this team was also assembled to beat the Golden State Warriors. The ultimate goal will be to win the Finals, but the Warriors must be taken care of before that can happen.
The Thunder will have 16 games to figure out the team chemistry before facing the Warriors. The first matchup will be nothing more than a regular season game, but it could have larger implications. Winning that first matchup against a top opponent in the NBA is a huge key in future games against that same team. It certainly isn’t a must win game, but there’s no doubt that coming out with a victory would be huge for this newly assembled Thunder team.
How does this team find chemistry before the first matchup on November 22nd? The simple answer is that they need time together on the court. It will be important that Billy Donovan finds the right rotations early in the season so that the different guys can find a rhythm when playing together.
Perhaps the biggest issue will be figuring out how to play all three of the Thunder’s All-Stars. In my opinion, there should never be a time when all three guys are on the bench at the same time. At least one guy needs to be on the floor at all times. Finding the right guy to lead the second unit will be difficult as well.
One question remains, can Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and Paul George figure out how to play together in 16 games? In short, the answer is yes. These guys all play together during the summer and multiple times in the olympics. At the end of the day, these guys play basketball for a living. They will figure out how to play as a team in time for the first big game of the year against the Warriors.
Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.