• Shai can play: What will Shai Gilgeous-Alexander do next?
Three games into the season he has established two new career scoring marks (23 and 28 points) and one new career rebounding mark (9).
The second-year pro is leading OKC in scoring, blocked shots and minutes. If such numbers are his new standard, the Thunder’s future, even in the near term, figures to be quite promising.
• Needing Steven: A year ago, Thunder center Steven Adams shot 59.5 percent from the field, 50 percent from the free-throw line, averaged 13.9 points and 9.5 rebounds.
Entering Monday, his
rebounds were up at 11.3, but his points (7.9) and shooting (32% FG, 20% FT) are way down. He’s playing about six fewer minutes per game.
If Adams can revert to form, it would be a boon to the Thunder going forward.
• Charity Stripe: A poor free-throw shooting team last season, OKC made 71.3 percent of its attempts. Despite saying goodbye to Russell Westbrook, who made 65.6 percent of his attempts, that figure was only 69.3 percent entering Monday.
On the bright side, the Thunder had earned an average 25 attempts through three games, up from 17.8 last year. If the tries keep coming, but with greater accuracy, it would help immensely.
• Time to win: Following Monday’s game at Houston, the Thunder have an excellent chance to post three straight wins and they would be well served to take advantage of their schedule.
New Orleans is dangerous but undermanned. Orlando may just be a plainly bad NBA team and Portland, the first of the three, is the type of quality win you expect to get on your home court. It’s a big week of opportunity for OKC.