Checking in after a week of the Thunder's big three era.
In the second week of the NBA season, the Thunder have played four games. They stand at 2-2, and while Russell Westbrook is still the main engine of their offense, Carmelo Anthony has the highest usage rate at 30.1%. Westbrook is the only player above 3 assists per game, with Paul George’s 2.8 apg not all that far behind.
Perhaps most surprising is that both George and Anthony are taking more shots per game than noted shot-taker and 2016-17 MVP Westbrook. The two new wings are launching over eight three-pointers a game apiece, and the three are scoring at a clip of nearly 74 points per game for a Thunder team averaging 104.8.
Alex Abrines has cracked the rotation with 20 minutes a game of playing time so far, with Jerami Grant, Andre Roberson, and Raymond Felton close behind. Steven Adams is locking down the middle for the Thunder defense and coming close to a double-double average. None of the players outside the core four of the wings, Westbrook, and Adams have really had a major impact thus far.
The key for the Thunder will be figuring out floor spacing with Andre Roberson, defense with Abrines and Anthony, and whether or not an Adams-less small-ball lineup of death could be in the future.
Starting tonight, the Thunder have 3 straight road games: a rematch with Minnesota followed by a back-to-back in Chicago before wrapping up against newly-emerged MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo. Coming out 3-0 would be a dream, but pulling out one of the booked wins in addition to taking care of the star-less Bulls would be a solid step in the right direction for a squad Billy Donovan should be tinkering with every night.