Game: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Sacramento Kings
Time: 6PM CST
Location: Chesapeake Arena, OKC
The Thunder return home after a rocky start to the season. After dropping two games in California, they welcome the Kings to the ‘Peake looking for some semblance of the offensive and defensive fluidity we saw in the pre-season.
Currently, Russell Westbrook is listed as still out of action, but that is hardly the cause for concern at this juncture, in a season which is the first since 2014 that OKC has started off at 0-2.
Russell Westbrook listed as out on the Thunder’s injury report for tomorrow. By now you know the drill. Subject to change.— Brett Dawson (@BDawsonWrites) October 20, 2018
“We were way too easy to guard. The ball never moved,” Donovan said after Friday’s loss. “We’ve got to be able to move and attack and have multiple paint touches and do those things.”
Even more concerning, the above sentiment is the exact thing we often lament any time the Thunder struggle against a lottery team. If/when they make it too easy on the other team to guard their superior talent, OKC quickly turns into a lottery team themselves. I’d even posit their performance thus far is far closer to that of the bottom third of the league than a team that looks like it could contend for a home playoff seeding next spring.
Billy Donovan still needs to make up his mind as to which players give his team their optimal level of performance, but in the meantime, OKC’s leading players need to actually play together. Paul George is struggling with his shot, which we know can happen, but his playmaking ability we saw in the 3rd quarter of last game needs to stretch beyond those select minutes to help set up his teammates. Meanwhile, Dennis Schroder, also struggling with his shot, needs to demonstrate a little bit more patience before calling his own number.
On the positive side of things, look for Steven Adams to continue to expand his presence. Of particular note, he’s showing a greater level of comfort farther and farther from the rim, both in moving in open space as well as passing to set up other teammates. It’s not too late Steven — face up and shoot the J. Shoot it!
Who do you think will win tonight?
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