When the Thunder traded James Harden in October, no one knew exactly how good they would be without arguably their second-best player coming off the bench. The answer is obvious: this team is OK.
With the second-best record in the league and 6.5 games ahead of the next closest team in the Northwest Division, the Thunder are realizing that they are fine without their former superstar sixth man.
How are they doing this damage to the rest of the league? It’s easy to say that league scoring leader Kevin Durant and all-star Russell Westbrook are the reasons for their success, but it’s also the little guys that get little to no credit. Guys like Kevin Martin and Serge Ibaka seem to go unnoticed at times because they are overshadowed by two premier NBA talents.
Another reason for the great success– defense. The Western Conference has never been known for their defensive prowess, but the emergence of the Thunder as one of the league’s most consistent defensive teams comes as no surprise to a player like Thabo Sefolosha.
Sefolosha is a long, athletic player with the defensive stopping ability with the best in the league.
Thabo has received comparisons to a former defensive juggernaut, Bruce Bowen. Bowen played solid defense and made a living shooting three-pointers with ease, making close to 40 percent for his career.
Thabo had never really been a great shooter until recently. Sefolosha averages just six points per game, but shoots 35 percent from downtown. These numbers are very comparable to Bowen who averages just seven points, but shot lights out as well.
Time will tell what kind of player Sefolosha will end up being, but for right now, being mentioned with the likes of Bruce Bowen is not a bad gig.