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.
After two games, we're not sure which players Thunder coach Scott Brooks is going to trot out. He's used two different starting lineups in the two games and more than 15 different units total. A part of the mix and match lineups is a result of injuries to Perkins, Thabo Sefolosha (quad) and James Harden (groin). But with the Thunder having four players who competed in the Olympics, Brooks also is resting many of his main guys. As a result, we've seen a lot of players like Lazar Hayward, Hasheem Thabeet, Hollis Thompson and DeAndre Liggins.
Russell Westbrook's post game
Against the Rockets, the Thunder made it a point to go to Russell Westbrook in the post early and often. And it was beautiful to watch. Westbrook has talked about playing in the post more this season, but it was his patience and poise down on the block that raised eyebrows. He never rushed, and he always had a plan. And by being bigger and stronger than Jeremy Lin, Westbrook was able to take advantage of the Rockets' prized free agent whenever he wanted. Expect that trend to continue all season.
The backup point guard play
Eric Maynor is back, and Reggie Jackson is better. Combined, they could develop into one of the best one-two punches in the league coming off the bench at the guard spot. Maynor missed so much of last year that you've probably forgotten how good he is. He's the definition of a true point guard. The game just comes naturally to him, and he makes everybody better. Jackson, meanwhile has matured a great deal since last year. He's more confident. He's more decisive. He's a better shooter, and he is initiating the offense better. Best of all, they're competing against each other for the primary backup spot behind Westbrook so they're going to push each other every chance they get. As that continues to unfold, everybody will win.