Seven games that don’t mean anything are done, but a whole lot seemed to have happened in those seven games. The Thunder finished 4-3 — who cares — but fans got their first look at Jeremy Lamb, Rotation Player as well as Steven Adams, Lottery Pick.
Who impressed? Who didn’t? Let’s grade out the roster for preseason:
Steven Adams: A
What more did you want from him? He was terrific on the boards, terrific finishing in the paint, terrific setting screens, terrific catching passes and terrific being big. His defense left a little to be desire but hey, he’s a 20-year-old rookie that’s still super raw.
Jeremy Lamb: C
Lamb went 29-79 from the floor in the preseason, which is 36.7 percent. That’s not very good. He hit just 5-30 from 3. That’s 16 percent. But he built some momentum, scoring in double-figures he last four games, capping it with his best performance, 22 points on 9-16 shooting. Plus, his on-ball defense was solid, he handled the ball well in traffic, set up teammates and appeared to have a decent grasp on the game. He just didn’t make a whole lot of shots. A concern, yes. But something I think we can be confident he’ll figure out. It’s the other stuff that’s been the worry.
Reggie Jackson: B+
The one criticism I have of Jackson is that sometimes, he’s not near assertive enough. He seems to really go into that mode when he’s got it going a little, instead of looking to attack every trip. It’s a tough balance for a point guard to weigh when you’re playing alongside Kevin Durant, but the Thunder need Jackson as a scorer as much as they do as a point guard. His 3-point shot was inconsistent (6-25) but he got to the basket, dished out assists (5.4 a game) and took care of the ball (2.0 turnovers a game). His best game was a 29-point, eight-assist, six-rebound game against the Sixers in which he hit 10-17 from the floor, while going 1-6 from 3. That means he went 9-11 on 2-pointers.
Kevin Durant: A+
He looks better than last year. If I were his teacher, his preseason report card would say have an A+ on it with three smiley faces, two star stickers and one big “GREAT JOB!”
Serge Ibaka: B
Ibaka flashed an improved offensive game that featured more shot creation, a little post-up stuff, a baller face-up game, better passing and the ability to put the ball on the floor more than once. Defensively, he still seems to wander a little, but overall, Ibaka looks better.
Kendrick Perkins: C-
He didn’t play much because of a dislocated finger, but from what we saw, it looked like more of the same from last year. He didn’t come back with any newfound athleticism or explosiveness. He can still clog the paint and defend the post, but for the first time since he’s been here, he might actually have to earn his position. Maybe the competition will be good for him.
Thabo Sefolosha: C-
Thabo looked a lot more aggressive offensively to me, like he was intent on picking up some of the offensive slack by handling more and attacking more. The results weren’t great though. He hit just 3-17 from 3 and couldn’t really get going offensively anywhere else.
Andre Roberson: D+
His defensive ability is obvious. His length, his motor, his athleticism, his energy — he’s got all the makings to be a standout defensive stopper. But the other end. Woo boy. Hitting the side of the backboard on corner 3s, dribbling into traffic, not being able to finish. Roberson is as raw as they come on the offensive end.
Diante Garrett: D
He got cut today and I was mildly surprised by that because I thought he had a chance to be the team’s third point guard until Westbrook came back. He wasn’t great, or even very good, but he appeared passable at least.
Ryan Gomes: I
Appeared in only one game and hit 3-3 from 3 in 12 minutes. With him appearing to have made the final roster, it’s apparent Scott Brooks already knew what he had in Gomes and didn’t feel the need to give him extended minutes.
Hasheem Thabeet: D+
It’s not that Thabeet played poorly. He played like himself. Nothing all that great, but nothing glaringly bad. What it means is that Adams should pass him on the depth chart and Thabeet has not slid into the Honorary Daniel Orton role.
Derek Fisher: C-
Nick Collison: A-
Steady, solid, strong. Preseason, regular season, postseason — doesn’t matter with Collison. His defense was on point and it’s obvious he’s taking a mentoring role with both Lamb and Adams.
Perry Jones III: D
It’s just not there for whatever reason. The talent and the ability is there, but the production isn’t. He seemed more confident in his mid-range game, but I still have a hard time seeing him crack the rotation as a regular. For shame too, because I’m still excited about his potential.
Rodney McGruder: I