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OKC Thunder: Are the Thunder's preseason 3-point struggles a cause for concern?

The Thunder's abysmal 3-point shooting during its recently completed exhibition slate was bad enough to raise a few worrying eyebrows.
by Anthony Slater Published: October 25, 2013

In the NBA, a seven-game sample size is far too small to make any definitive conclusions.

And in preseason hoops, when teams are still experimenting and acclimating, statistics are often thrown out the window.

But despite that, the Thunder's abysmal 3-point shooting during its recently completed exhibition slate was bad enough to raise a few worrying eyebrows.

“It's definitely a concern,” coach Scott Brooks said. “You make threes, it opens up the game and opens up the lane.”

In seven preseason games, the Thunder shot an ugly 26.3 percent from deep.

Thabo Sefolosha went 3-of-17. Reggie Jackson went 6-of-25. Jeremy Lamb went 5-of-30. Derek Fisher went 1-of-7.

But with the regular season set to begin Wednesday, it's safe to assume OKC will begin hitting at a substantially higher clip.

Minnesota shot a league-worst 30.5 percent a season ago. The Thunder, at 37.7 percent, finished third in the NBA, behind only the Warriors and Heat.

So a regression to the mean is likely in order.

“Most of the shots from three were decent shots, shots that guys will make over time,” Derek Fisher said.

But even when taking the preseason woes out of the equation, the Thunder seems destined to be a worse 3-point shooting team than a season ago.

And that, simply, is a twofold personnel problem, with Kevin Martin in Minnesota and Russell Westbrook on the mend.

The Westbrook issue is correctable, with OKC's playmaking point guard expected back by early December.

Last season, in addition to hitting 97 threes, Westbrook assisted on 132 more, carving up opposing defenses before kicking to an open man.

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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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