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Breaking down the OKC Thunder's training camp roster

by Darnell Mayberry and Anthony Slater Published: September 26, 2013

Expected role: Starting power forward, rim protector and double-digit scorer.

Notable: Has led the NBA in blocked shots the past two seasons … Averaged a career-best 13.2 points last season … Hit 20 of his 22 career threes last year … Only 24-years-old

Has a skill: Defensive monster in the paint. Blocks plenty of shots (778 in his four seasons) and alters even more. Opposing guards alter their offensive gameplan and often play more tentatively against OKC, knowing the human trampoline is lurking. That's a defensive dynamic many teams don't possess.

Needs to drill: Offensive skills. Here are Ibaka's points per game, by year, since entering the league: 6.3, 9.9, 9.1, 13.2. No reason to think he won't keep improving. But he still has to follow through, particularly when it comes to his post game.

REGGIE JACKSON

Position: Point guard

Height: 6-3

Weight: 208

School: Boston College

Years pro: Two

Contract status: Two years, $3.5 million.

Expected role: Sixth man and backup point guard.

Notable: Averaged 15.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists in the playoffs after Russell Westbrook's season-ending knee injury.

Has a skill: Penetrating and finishing at the rim. Statistically, Jackson is a better finisher than Westbrook. It's a skill that's quickly turning Jackson into an offensive force.

Needs to drill: Perimeter shooting. After two seasons Jackson is shooting just 22.3 percent from 3-point range. 

PERRY JONES III

Position: Small forward/power forward

Height: 6-11

Weight: 235

School: Baylor

Years pro: One

Contract status: Three years, $4.2 million

Expected role: Reserve forward and candidate for NBA D-League duty.

Notable: Appeared in 38 games as a rookie … Averaged 2.3 points and 1.6 rebounds in 7.4 minutes per game.

Has a skill: Size and athleticism are his biggest strengths. He's got great length, speed and footwork.

Needs to drill: Everything. At this point, Jones needs to improve as a shooter, passer, ball-handler, rebounder and defender. Until he does, he's banking on his athleticism getting him on the court.

JEREMY LAMB

Position: Shooting guard

Height: 6-5

Weight: 180

School: Connecticut

Years pro: One

Contract status: Four years, $11.5 million

Expected role: Bench scorer, ideally in the Kevin Martin mold

Notable: Won a national championship at UConn … Averaged 17.7 points per game his sophomore year … Drafted 12th overall in 2012 … Key piece in the James Harden trade

Has a skill: Dead-eye shooter. Will his complete offensive package translate to the next level? Can he get his shot off against elite NBA defenders? Only time will tell. But that smooth and easy-looking form is mesmerizing. So don't watch him in warm-ups, for fear of exceedingly high expectations.

Needs to drill: On-court energy. Having a laid-back personality isn't necessarily a bad thing. Unless, that is, you let it leak into your profession, where you're covering hyper-athletic and energized shooting guards who are out to destroy you on a nightly basis.

DANIEL ORTON

Position: Center

Height: 6-10

Weight: 255

School: Kentucky

Years pro: Two

Contract status: Two years, $1.9 million

Expected role: Reserve center.

Notable: He's appeared in only 29 games in two NBA seasons … Holds career averages of 2.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in 10 minutes per game … Averaged 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots in 29 games with the Tulsa 66ers last season.

Has a skill: Scoring ability. Orton is the best scoring center the Thunder has. He can shoot well from mid-range and is a solid finisher at the rim.

Needs to drill: Defense. Orton can improve his on-ball defense in the post, as well as his pick-and-roll defense. 

KENDRICK PERKINS

Position: Center

Height: 6-10

Weight: 270

School: None

Years pro: 10

Contract status: Two years, $18.1 million

Expected role: Starting center, interior bruiser.

Notable: Matched a career-high with 78 games played last season … Has 82 technical fouls in his career … Has started all 160 of his games with the Thunder … Shot a career-low 45 percent last year.

Has a skill: Team defense. He remains the backside anchor of a team that was top-five in defensive efficiency last season. His declining athleticism is plainly evident. But he rotates well, holds his own against bigger centers, particularly Dwight Howard, and still provides value.

Needs to drill: Simple offensive skills. Besides screening, Perkins has always been a below-average offensive player. The Thunder can play through that. But he can't be as inept as he was in last year's playoffs, fumbling passes, throwing the ball away and missing easy layups.

ANDRE ROBERSON

Position: Shooting guard/small forward

Height: 6-7

Weight: 210

School: Colorado

Years pro: Rookie

Contract status: Four years, $5.3 million

Expected role: Reserve swingman who could provide defense and rebounding.

Notable: Selected 26th overall in this year's draft … Earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors last season … Averaged 10.9 points and 11.2 rebounds as a junior at Colorado.

Has a skill: Rebounding. Roberson is a rebounding machine. On both ends. In four Orlando summer league games, Roberson pulled down 32 rebounds, 11 on the offensive end.

Needs to drill: Shooting. Roberson was a 35 percent 3-point shooter at Colorado but made only 50 in three seasons on campus. Now, the 3-point line is deeper and he'll need lots of practice to become a threat from that range.

THABO SEFOLOSHA

Position: Shooting guard

Height: 6-7

Weight: 215

Country: Switzerland

Years pro: Seven

Contract status: One year, $3.9 million

Expected role: Starting shooting guard, defensive pest and proficient 3-point shooter.

Notable: Has played in 307 games for the Thunder, starting in all but one … Shot a career-high 48 percent from the field last year … Drafted 13th overall by the Sixers in 2006 … Played the first three years of his career for the Bulls.

Has a skill: Perimeter defense. He's smart, lanky and understands the proper mindset it takes to guard some of the world's best scorers. LeBron may drop 35 on him one night. Oh well. You have to help guard Kobe tomorrow. Have a short memory. Thabo does.

Needs to drill: 3-point shooting. You can never have enough, especially the way this league is trending. Sefolosha made a career-high 108 treys last season, shooting a respectable 42 percent. But for a guy settled in his overall role, that's a clip that he can always look to improve upon.

HASHEEM THABEET

Position: Center

Height: 7-3

Weight: 263

School: Connecticut

Years pro: Four

Contract status: Two years, $2.45 million.

Expected role: Backup center who will be looked to for shot-blocking and rebounding.

Notable: Established himself as a serviceable backup last season after failed stops in Memphis, Houston and Portland … Appeared in 66 games last season, averaging 2.4 points, three rebounds and 0.9 blocked shots.

Has a skill: Shot-blocking. Thabeet averaged 2.8 blocked shots per 36 minutes last season.

Needs to drill: Defending without fouling. Thabeet struggles at times to stay on the floor because of foul trouble. He averaged 6.9 fouls per 36 minutes last year.

RUSSELL WESTBROOK

Position: Point guard

Height: 6-3

Weight: 187

School: UCLA

Years pro: Five

Contract status: Four years, $64.9 million

Expected role: Starting point guard, prolific scorer and soul of the team.

Notable: Three-time All-Star … Is still yet to miss a regular-season game since entering the league … Made a career-high 97 threes last season … Averages 1.6 steals per game for his career.

Has a skill: A lot of them. But his untamed and never-ending energy is what makes him so unique. Westbrook's breakneck pace, combined with a rapidly improving jumper and soft interior touch make him nearly unguardable when he's on.

Needs to drill: Shot selection. It isn't nearly as bad as some national media people may make you believe. But there are times he can get careless and self-absorbed on the offensive end. He has even admitted as much.

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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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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