OKC Thunder notebook: Steve Kerr and Reggie Miller pick Thunder to win the West

With the biggest injury concern among the contenders in a loaded Western Conference, some analysts have soured on the Thunder's chances in recent weeks. But there are at least two respected NBA minds who remain believers in OKC.
by Anthony Slater Published: October 14, 2013
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photo - If Russell Westbrook comes back healthy, some analysts still believe OKC is the team to beat in the Western Conference.
Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
If Russell Westbrook comes back healthy, some analysts still believe OKC is the team to beat in the Western Conference. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

DURANT CONFIDENT STEVEN ADAMS CAN HELP THIS YEAR

In the Thunder's first two preseason games, Steven Adams made six shots.

Of those, Kevin Durant assisted on half of them, showing an immediate comfort with the rookie center, particularly on the pick and roll.

“It's not surprising,” Durant said when asked about Adams' ability to smoothly catch and finish. “I've seen him in preseason, playing pickup and the first few days of camp. He's really big. His hands are really big. Even bad passes, he makes the guys look good. He's doing a great job of catching and finishing. Once he learns the game a little bit more, the small little tricks of the game, I think he's going to be a great player.”

With that said, does Durant think the 20-year-old Adams could contribute in a rotation spot right away?

“No doubt,” he said.

KENDRICK PERKINS OUT FOR DENVER GAME

Thunder center Kendrick Perkins is still feeling the lingering effects of a dislocated left ring finger that he suffered on the overseas trip. And because of that, he will sit out Tuesday's home exhibition opener against Denver.

That means, in all likelihood, extended playing time for Hasheem Thabeet and rookie Steven Adams, who will be making his home debut.

It's not clear who will get the start — Thabeet worked with the starters in Sunday's scrimmage, while Adams started over an injured Perkins in the last preseason game — but expect both to get plenty of opportunity.

QUOTABLE

 *Reggie Jackson, from a point guard's perspective, on the benefits of having Kevin Durant: “It also helps when you have one mismatch, it doesn't matter who in the gym is guarding him. If you call a play for him, you're going to get a good shot.”


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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