The Thunder’s roster, like always, it seems, has very little makeover from last season. Kevin Martin out. Draft picks Steven Adams and Andre Roberson in. That’s about it.
But John Schuhmann of NBA.com points out that the Thunder is in good company in keeping its roster basically intact. You can read his report here.
Basing his list on minutes played, Schuhmann finds that the team most returning the bulk of its roster is the champion Miami Heat. The Heat is bringing back 94.9 percent of its minutes played from last season. The Thunder is second in the league, at 86.5 percent. And the Spurs are fourth, at 82.4 percent. Inexplicably, the woeful Charlotte Bobcats are third, at 85.3 percent.
The Thunder roster has been amazingly stable over recent years. The Thunder’s five starters each started at least 78 games last season. The season before, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka started every game, and Kendrick Perkins missed one start. Thabo Sefolosha missed 24 games with an injury.
Martin played 2,136 minutes last season over 77 games, then left for the Timberwolves in free agency. He will be missed mightily. And Ronnie Brewer, who played 142 minutes in 14 games after coming over in a trade with the Knickerbockers, left, too, for Houston.
But every other Boomer who was on the roster at season’s end is back. That’s 13 players.
Miami lost Mike Miller to Memphis — the Heat amnestied Miller, thus making him a free agent — but otherwise returns its top 12 players. Other than Miller, the player with the most minutes from last season now gone from the roster is Josh Harrellson, who played 31 minutes all season.
The Heat will miss Miller, and the Thunder will miss Martin more. But both teams are patching, not filling. Both teams are plugging, not retooling. And it’s the same with San Antonio, which lost Stephen Jackson (cut before the playoffs) and Gary Neal but otherwise has the same squad that could have, should have, won the NBA title.