The Oklahoma City Thunder have remained stagnant this summer in NBA Free Agency, a decision that has received mixed reviews. While some people believe that they have the talent to be able to stand pat, other people believe that it was necessary for them to make at least one move that would help alleviate the loss of their sixth man from last season, Kevin Martin.
There’s no question that the Thunder are once again going to be in the mix atop the Western Conference in the 2013-2014 NBA season. After all, they may have lost Martin, but they still have one of the three best players in the league in Kevin Durant and one of the best point guards in the league in Russell Westbrook.
No matter how you feel about what the Thunder decided to do this off-season, though, the roster that they are going to be throwing out onto the floor this season is essentially what it’s going to be. Given that, that means the role players for OKC are going to have to step up. While that means a lot of responsibility for Serge Ibaka, it could also mean a larger offensive role for Thabo Sefolosha.
Sefolosha is kind of the forgotten piece of this Thunder squad, despite the fact that he started 81 games for them at shooting guard last season. The focus has always been on Oklahoma City’s backup wings like James Harden and Martin and less on the defensive-minded Sefolosha. However, with Reggie Jackson or Jeremy Lamb taking over the sixth man duties, both of whom are relatively unproven, Sefolosha could be a bigger part of this Thunder team.
Though Sefolosha is known primarily for his defensive skills and ability to lockdown opponents on the wings, he has developed into an efficient offensive player over the last two seasons, including last year when he shot 48.1 percent from the floor and 41.9 percent from three.
However, the most notable thing about Sefolosha’s offensive game is that he’s not asked to do much. He took just 5.8 shot attempts per game last season and posted a usage rate of just 10.6 percent. Though it won’t go up dramatically, he will more than likely be asked to do a little more than that for OKC this year.
If Sefolosha can play a larger role in the offense while still playing within himself and remaining efficient, it will be a huge positive for the Thunder. Lamb and Jackson could be the answer as possible sixth men, but there’s no certainty about that at this point. If Sefolosha can deliver more offensively, that alleviates pressure on those young guys and the rest of the team, which, in turn, makes them a better team.