The Oklahoma City Thunder have started the 2013-14 NBA season with a 7-3 record, but there’s always things to improve on. A glaring problem for the Thunder as of late has been the lack of consistent production from their bench. The Thunder bench is currently averaging 30.2 points per game, only good enough to rank 18th in the league.
Some would say that 18th isn’t bad for a team that’s led by two superstar players like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, but the Thunder coaches and players would say otherwise. It’s important for this team to find some answers before things become un-fixable. The bench production has been slightly above average in a league where you have to be near perfect to succeed over the course of an 82-game season.
The biggest problem for the Thunder and their bench woes has been time. It seems as if certain players are still getting comfortable in their roles on the team. Head coach Scott Brooks has to figure out which players deserve more minutes, and which players perform better with certain lineups.
You don’t expect things to be solved within the first 10 games of the season, but things have to get better soon as the Thunder are preparing for one of their toughest stretches of the regular season.
It won’t be magic or an explosion from any single player — it will most likely be a group effort to take this Thunder team to the next level. Some obvious wrongs within the organization has been the lack of minutes given to Steven Adams and the abundance of minutes given to slumping players like Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha.
A quick fix for OKC would be to take shave a little off of those struggling players’ plates and feed the young guys who are awaiting more opportunities from the bench. Most are expecting Adams to eventually take over as the starting center, but that’ll be impossible with the limited minutes he’s been seeing lately. Experience is the best teacher in the NBA, and time on the court is the best way for a young player like Adams to improve during the season.
Reggie Jackson has been the most consistent and valuable player on OKC’s bench, so that’s one less player they have to figure things out for. It essentially comes down to Adams and Jeremy Lamb. It’s yet to be seen whether their workload will increase over time or if it will gradually diminish. Opportunities in this league aren’t just given — they have to be earned. Lamb, Adams or any other player will have to put in the work to get more time on the floor.