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.
So his return will provide an immediate boost.
“Obviously, any time Russell is on the floor people pay attention,” Fisher said. “There will be easier shots for guys when he's in the lineup.”
But the Martin dilemma is more worrisome.
Last season, K-Mart led the Thunder with 158 made threes. And he did it efficiently, shooting 42.6 percent from downtown, 10th best in the NBA and highest on the team.
In his place, Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb are expected to get more looks. Jackson, while a bit improved, shot just 22.3 percent from deep in his first two years. And Lamb, billed as an eventual sharpshooter, remains unproven.
“The game of basketball tells you what to work on,” Brooks said. “(And) a lot of times, it's loud and clear. Right now, we definitely have to get better at 3-point shooting.”
The Thunder has never relied heavily on the deep ball. At 19.4 attempts per game, OKC was just below the league average last season.
But in today's stat-driven NBA world, defending and shooting the three at a high-efficiency rate has proven to hold high importance.
So as this season wears on, it'll be interesting to follow how much of the Thunder's expected 3-point drop-off actually materializes on the court.
“Come regular season, everybody starts off 0-for-0,” Brooks said. “Hopefully you make your first shot.”