An promising offseason ended with the Thunder looking as vulnerable as the Western Conference that was top-tier teams they were assumed to have an edge on.
Kevin Durant’s fractured foot was the blow off, but Anthony Morrow sprained his MCL. Reggie Jackson rolled an ankle, and Jeremy Lamb’s back flared up.
Injuries are a part of each preseason and summer slate, plus they’re bad news for everyone. However, for OKC, a group in position to take advantage of the Clippers’ improvement and the theoretical decline of San Antonio, maladies’ onrush was.
The Thunder’s window is by no means closed. Fully healthy, they’re a threat to knock absolutely anyone off. And when there are no lingering effects from the present laundry list of accidents (Durant’s in particular), they might even be favorites in the conference at that time the postseason rolls around.
At the exact same time, Oklahoma City’s playoff positioning could be damage by playing at less than full strength. Heading into the dancing for a No. 4 seed leaves reaching the final round a whole lot harder. So second-year breakout candidate Steven Adams and Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka must compensate for their teammates’ production.
OKC still belongs on the base that is contending, but its footing is more shaky than anticipated.