The Thunder tip-off their season tonight in Utah and while we don’t know who’s going to be on the roster in a few weeks, months, or even tomorrow, we do know Steven Adams will catch a few lobs and Chris Paul will hand out a few assists tonight against the Jazz.
That’s an easy call. Here are a few more calls that aren’t quite as easy:
… The Thunder will cover the 9-point spread against the Jazz. The Thunder won’t be anywhere near Utah in the standings at the end of the season, but they will keep it close (enough) tonight and cover the 9 points.
… The Thunder are a playoff team.
… In the Eastern Conference.
… Of the Thunder’s first 20 games, 16 are against playoff teams from last season, including two against the Warriors, two against the Lakers, two against the Pacers and one against Russ and the Rockets, and one against the Bucks. The Thunder will win 7 or fewer in that span.
… And at least one player on the current roster will be traded by the first week of December.
… Count on some injuries. Sorry to be such a downer, but it’s the truth. You’re looking at a roster with an aging Chris Paul, who has had knee issues, an oft-injured Danilo Gallinari and Adams, who seems to have gotten a lot older in a hurry.
… Speaking of Adams, he’ll shoot some 3-pointers this season. Why not? The rest of the league has big guys shooting them, it’s time Adams does, too. He’ll make one in the first three games this season.
… Adams is in for a bounce-back season. If he can stay healthy, Adams will improve on his shooting percentage (thanks to Paul’s lobs) and improve his rebounding (thanks to Russell Westbrook being gone).
… No player will say, “Next Question.” at any point this season.
… Speaking of trends, it’s a league of wing players, and aside from Gallinari, the Thunder are remarkably thin with experience at that spot. They’re heavy at the point guard spot with three, but as far as wing players who can shoot? Yikes. Only Terrance Ferguson has had limited success on this roster. Ferguson shot 37 percent on 3-pointers last season. He won’t be better than that this season.
… You won’t miss Patrick Patterson. But there’s a good chance you’ll be mad at him when he gets a championship ring with the Clippers this season.
… Russell Westbrook had a league-high 16 technical fouls last season. Kevin Durant had 16 as well, Draymond Green was up there and Paul George had 11. Meanwhile, the Thunder have another chronic crier. Chris Paul had seven last season, which is pretty remarkable, considering how much Paul is always talking to the refs. Perhaps it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Paul will have plenty to say this season, too. Paul will have more than seven techs with the Thunder this year.
… You will miss Jerami Grant. Count on a big year from the power forward, who seemed to become a consistent, “energy” guy for Thunder.
Trying to find the next “energy” guy for the Thunder you get to choose between Abdel Nader, Hamidou Diallo, Lu Dort, Deonte Burton and Bazley. There’s some potential, but promise? Hmm. My bet is Nader finds his way into the starting lineup by January.
… It’s not looking good. Why haven’t we seen Andre Roberson during the preseason? Hopefully the Thunder are just being extra precautious. Or there’s something really wrong. He’ll play in less than 25 games this season.
… The Thunder go OVER their season total of 32.5. Too many veterans, too much experience and too much pride for this team to “Tank.”
… OKC wins 34 games.
… And finishes 11th in the West.