NBA Picks: Oklahoma City Thunder Team Player Profile

Sunday, September 22, 2013 4:24 PM UTC

Sunday, Sep. 22, 2013 4:24 PM UTC

The Thunder are just a little under a week away from opening training camp, and trying once again to get back to the NBA Title series.
<p style="text-align:center"> <style type="text/css"><!-- br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;} --></style> <span style="font-size:13px;font-family:arial,sans,sans-serif;font-weight:bold;color:#000000;text-align:left"></span></p> <p style="text-align:center"><em style="font-size:1em"><a target="_blank" title="NBA 2013-14 Betting Futures" href="">Sports betting websites with the best prices on 2013-14 NBA Futures</a></em></p> <p>Right now in the <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Bet and WIN on the NBA at!" href=";book=bet365inarticle">basketball odds at Bet365</a>, Oklahoma City is <a target="_blank" title="NBA Betting: 2013-14 NBA Futures Odds Update" href="/nba-basketball/free-picks/nba-betting-2013-14-nba-futures-odds-update-a-32595/">+600 to win the championship this season</a>. Most <a target="_blank" title="Free sports picks, predictions, odds and analysis, only at!" href="/">sports betting</a> shops have only the Miami Heat with a better chance of winning the title this season, and among everyone else, the Thunder seem to have one of the best chances of besting Miami.</p> <p><span style="font-size:1em">However the Thunder will have to get past <a target="_blank" title="NBA Betting: Western Conference Future Odds Update" href="/nba-basketball/free-picks/nba-betting-western-conference-future-odds-update-a-32720/">a tougher Western Conference</a> this season, and there are <a target="_blank" title="NBA Picks: Oklahoma City Thunder 2013-14 NBA Title?" href="/nba-basketball/free-picks/nba-picks-oklahoma-city-thunder-2013-14-nba-title-a-31854/">still have many questions yet to be answered</a>. However, the preseason may give us a chance to answer at least a few of those questions.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em"><img src="/picks-pictures/SergeIbakaNBA_september2013_200.jpg" id="ctl00_head_ArticleAdministrator_picturePreview_imgSelectedPicture" alt="Image preview" class="imgSelectedPicture article-image" style="font-size:1em" />Scoring from their starting post players could be the biggest issue, whether it is in the post or at all. Serge Ibaka has a budding offensive game, and if he can hit a mid range jump shot effectively like Chris Bosh or LeMarcus Aldridge, his offensive skill set could be enough to qualify as the undisputed third scoring option in OKC. Ibaka’s inconsistency on the scoring end is just one of the many things that <a target="_blank" title="NBA Betting: Preseason Betting Value in the NBA" href="/nba-basketball/free-picks/nba-betting-preseason-betting-value-the-nba-a-33244/">could be answered this preseason</a>.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em">Ibaka just turned 24 years-old, and if he could simply up his offensive scoring by two to four points per game, it would help the Thunder a lot. He averages 13 points per game in the regular season, and <a target="_blank" title="NBA Betting: Oklahoma City Thunder Offseason Team Report" href="/nba-basketball/free-picks/nba-betting-oklahoma-city-thunder-offseason-team-report-a-32492/">when Russell Westbrook went down in the playoffs</a>, his scoring improved a little, but his percentages were still not good for a post player. At least a few post moves wouldn’t hurt either, but for my <a target="_blank" title="For free NBA picks, odds &amp; betting predictions, visit!" href="/nba-basketball/">NBA picks</a>, I do like that emerging range beyond the three-point line for the young forward. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em">Another thing that needs to be answered offensively is their bench. Kevin Martin was let go after a season of disappointing bench scoring, and now the role of 6</span><sup>th</sup><span style="font-size:1em"> man is up for grabs. Point guard, Reggie Jackson, who played solidly in Russell Westbrook’s absence from the playoffs last season, and Jeremy Lamb are the two top candidates for the job, according to <a target="_blank" title="Free live and updated basketball odds, at!" href="/betting-odds/nba-basketball/">NBA odds</a>. Although I think both could play significant roles this season, for me Jackson is the most likely to take over the role of Martin and before him, James Harden. Jackson’s ability to handle the ball and get in the paint are exactly what the Thunder need to get open shots for their other role players, and if Jackson can develop a three point shot this offseason, watch out.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em">One of the final questions surrounding the Thunder are not really questions, more like philosophical differences. The question of, “Is a team led by Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and not much else good enough to win the west and beat the Heat?” Truly we may never know, and the question will likely be debated until they do. An NBA season is long, and just as soon as we thought we were going to see a Heat/Thunder rematch for the title last season, <a target="_blank" title="Will Westbrook return in time for the upcoming season? Share your thoughts in our forum!" href="">Westbrook tore his meniscus</a>.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em">I’m positive those two alone are not good enough to beat the Heat. However “those two alone,” would signify that Ibaka, Jackson, Perkins, Lamb and others are not contributing. Just the combination of Westbrook and Durant is good enough to get them to the <a target="_blank" title="NBA Picks: Western Conference Contenders &amp; Pretenders" href="/nba-basketball/news/nba-picks-western-conference-contenders-pretenders-a-32906/">Western Conference</a> finals. When there, who they could play is a mystery. But to advance past that and to the championship without much of the above listed “help,” would be impossible. Westbrook and Durant <a target="_blank" title="NBA Picks: Oklahoma City Thunder Team Update &amp; Futures Odds" href="/nba-basketball/free-picks/nba-picks-oklahoma-city-thunder-team-update-futures-odds-a-33527/">desperately need Ibaka, Perkins and the young bench to step up their games</a> this season, or once again the Thunder will fall just out of reach of greatness.</span></p> <em>Join the discussion on the upcoming 2013-14 NBA season on SBRForum's <em><a target="_blank" title="Share your thoughts on SBRForum's basketball message boards!" href="">basketball message boards</a>!</em></em>
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