OKC Thunder: Five things you may have missed this preseason

Tuesday's preseason home opener may be the first opportunity for many fans to see the Thunder so far. Here are some things that have become top stories.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: October 14, 2012
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photo - Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook, left, and Kevin Durant wait before the start of an NBA preseason basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, in Hidalgo, Texas. (AP Photo/Delcia Lopez) ORG XMIT: TXDL105
Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook, left, and Kevin Durant wait before the start of an NBA preseason basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, in Hidalgo, Texas. (AP Photo/Delcia Lopez) ORG XMIT: TXDL105

With the Thunder's first two preseason games not being broadcast locally on Fox Sports Oklahoma, there's a good chance most fans didn't catch the team's performances against Houston and Utah.

That means Tuesday's preseason home opener against Charlotte will be the first look at the Thunder for the majority of the fan base.

A lot has changed since the last time the Thunder took the court inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. So to help you catch up with this year's squad, here are five things that you might have missed that have become the top stories so far this preseason.

The versatility of Perry Jones III

The rookie forward who fell to the Thunder at the 28th pick has received high praise through the first two weeks of training camp. Once the games started, he showed why. There's not much Jones can't do on a basketball court. While not great at any one area, his world-class athleticism allows him to be solid in several. Jones can post up a bit, shoot the midrange jumper, step beyond the 3-point arc and even lead the break if necessary. Defensively, he can guard multiple positions, primarily shooting guards, small forwards and power forwards, while using his length to disrupt plays. Oh, and the criticism about his “motor?” It has yet to be an issue. He hustles for rebounds and loose balls like his career depends on it. But if you're looking for Jones to dominate, think again. Expect to see the rookie make an impact in more subtle ways.

The double-double machine, aka Cole Aldrich

Kendrick Perkins is sidelined all preseason while recovering from wrist surgery. That's given third-year man Cole Aldrich a chance at ample playing time as the temporary starter. So far, Aldrich has made the most of his opportunities, recording double-doubles in both of the first two preseason games. He also tallied three blocked shots in each game. Aldrich has been erratic yet awkwardly effective. He's displayed a functional jump hook with both hands, tenacity as a rebounder, a willingness to set physical screens to free up shooters and improved awareness defending the pick and roll. The downside to Aldrich is he still isn't great in man post defense, and he fouls at an alarming rate.


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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