The Oklahoma City Thunder is playing some extremely good team ball at this point of the season. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are still dominating, but they do not have to do as much. It shows in the numbers, of course, but it is a clear on the court as well.
There are a few contributing factors to the Thunder’s early season success, but the bench play is what has everyone talking now. Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb have been outstanding, and so have the other reserves. That makes you wonder just how much the Thunder will have to rely on their bench.
The answer is simple, they do not need them to steadily perform at a high level, but do they do need them to play at a consistent level, whether it is at a consistently average level, or an extremely well played level of consistency.
The impact of Serge Ibaka will also allow this bench to have some bad games, while the Thunder still finds ways to pull out wins. Ibaka is currently having the best season of his career, and he is only 24 years old. His numbers will steadily improve as the season rolls on, making this team even more unstoppable.
Without a solid bench, the Thunder is still a playoff team, but they are not title contenders. Now that they have the pieces they have been looking for since James Harden‘s departure, this team is ready and more than capable of winning it all. The OKC bench gives them a dynamic that’s been rarely seen when a team has two All-Star caliber players. That bench is so good that they can play below their potential and still manage to have solid nights. This Thunder team has no limit at this point.