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OKC Thunder: 5 things we learned about the Thunder after their European tour

Two preseason games lessened some concerns about this ailing team but also heightened others.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: October 9, 2013

After a week overseas, the Oklahoma City Thunder has returned.

Two preseason games lessened some concerns about this ailing team but also heightened others. The good news is the Thunder has three weeks remaining before the games start to count.

There are still five more exhibition games to be played and about 14 more practices, seemingly plenty of time for the Thunder to prepare for life without Russell Westbrook in the early part of the regular season.

In the meantime, here are five things we learned about the Thunder after its European tour.

Kevin Durant's passing could be as critical as his scoring

Remember when the Thunder started putting the ball in Durant's hands and letting him make plays? Raise your hand if you took issue with that approach back when it wasn't always pretty. You know who you are. But seriously, now that Westbrook is out Durant figures to be asked to orchestrate the offense more than ever before. And while there are sure to be some head-scratching moments, Durant looks much more comfortable creating scoring opportunities for his teammates. He had 12 assists on Tuesday against Philadelphia and would have had even more had his teammates knocked down more of the open shots he spoon fed them. Rather than looking to offset Westbrook's production by pouring in more points, Durant clearly is choosing to involve teammates. In doing so, he's keeping defenses guessing and making himself more dangerous.

Reggie Jackson appears ready for the moment

Even after his stellar playoff performance, Jackson entered this season facing questions of whether he could be a consistent performer. Two preseason games haven't eliminated those questions, but there is considerably less angst about how Jackson will fill in. Or at least there should be. He was solid in the preseason opener and sensational in the second outing. In both games he was patient and under control, making smart decisions throughout. Jackson recorded 13 assists, had only two turnovers and looked confident and in command. He made just one of his seven 3-point attempts, which suggests he still hasn't refined his shooting stroke. But he did reveal a sneaky good mid-range game and, of course, his usual knack for knifing his way into the paint and finishing at the rim or creating for others once there.

Serge Ibaka will be aggressive with his shot

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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