The Oklahoman staff writers discuss three topics surrounding Thabo Sefolosha:
1. What was the most disappointing aspect of Thabo Sefolosha’s season?
Darnell Mayberry (beat writer): It's got to be his shooting. He never found his rhythm this season and never looked comfortable. And it was among the leading factors that led to the Thunder regressing. We kept waiting for Thabo to trend toward the shooting he displayed in the last two seasons. But it never happened.
Anthony Slater (beat writer): His shot. That typically disruptive perimeter defense disappeared in the postseason, leaving a huge void. But it felt like those defensive struggles were a product of his season-long shooting slump. He looked frustrated, hesitant and uncomfortable all year on offense. And by playoff time, he was just out of it. Completely lost. After returning from injury late in the season, he made only seven of his 36 3-pointers to close out the year. That’s 19 percent.
Berry Tramel (columnist): That his defense slipped. Thabo still was a good defender, but he needs to a great defender. And he wasn't. At least not after returning from the February injury. The Thunder clearly missed Thabo's defense when he sat out six weeks, but that defensive acumen never really returned even after Sefolosha recovered.
2. Percentage chance he is back with the Thunder next season?
Slater: Better than zero. But not much better. These past five seasons, the relationship has been mutually beneficial to both. But this breakup should be, too. The Thunder needs to go in a different direction, get some offensive punch in that starting lineup and go younger. And Sefolosha could benefit from a fresh start, maybe rejuvenate his career a bit. The only reason it’s not zero percent is because his struggles severely lowered his price on the open market. But it’s still highly doubtful he returns to OKC.
Tramel: Ten. Maybe 15. I think the Thunder is moving on. Thabo's defense regressed and his offense regressed, and that's a shame. Because Sefolosha was one of the instigators of the Thunder rise. When he arrived, the Thunder was a horrible team with hopefully a bright future. Thabo helped bring that brightness very quickly.
3. If this is the end, Sefolosha’s career in OKC was ___________.
Mayberry: Highly successful. He came to the city as a relative unknown. But he blossomed into one of the league's best perimeter defenders. Along the way, he helped the Thunder become an elite defensive team and a championship caliber squad. He had a great run.
Slater: Productive. Everyone knows about his defensive importance, but Thabo actually had some solid offensive years. Shot 44 percent from deep two seasons ago. Made 108 threes last season. Had some big games and came up huge in important moments. Turned the 2012 Western Conference Finals with his defense on Tony Parker. Just seemed to lose it this season, for whatever reason. But Sefolosha should be remembered fondly in OKC.
Tramel: Memorable. He's one of those guys who shouldn't be forgotten if the Thunder ever wins an NBA title. He helped change the culture. He brought not just a defensive mindset but defensive ability to a roster that had none. I mean, think about it. When Thabo arrived, he took over a starting lineup that had Nenad Krstic at center, Jeff Green at power forward, second-year-pro Kevin Durant on the wing and rookie Russell Westbrook at point guard. Nobody was guarding anybody. Thabo changed that.