For whatever questions anyone has of whether the Oklahoma City Thunder's preseason will have any bearing on the upcoming regular season, the answers can be found in last year's results.
The Thunder went 2-5 in the 2009 preseason. The five losses came by an average margin of 13.8 points. Oklahoma City then went 50-32 in the regular season.
And if you remember, the Thunder's defense looked raggedy throughout the preseason a year ago, allowing 101.5 points per game. But things quickly changed once the regular season began, as OKC finished the year allowing only 98 points per game.
In seven preseason games this season, the Thunder allowed 102.7 points, 48.4 percent shooting and was out-rebounded 40-37.1 on average.
"It's exhibition season," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "It's a part of the season that you want to get better, and you want to gear up going into the first game. Now, 10, 15, 20 games into the season, if we're still searching for our defensive identity then I would be concerned."
Mix-and-match lineups made it difficult to nearly impossible to get a gauge the real Thunder. But what matters most to Brooks is the individual improvement he seen. Russell Westbrook, he said, has become a more consistent leader. Jeff Green, Brooks said, has simply become more consistent.
"Our guys did improve individually," Brooks said. "That's the only thing they can do in the summer...We expect them to come back better players and they have. And now it's our job to figure out how can we get all their improvements better in team concepts."