Few questioned the chemistry on the Oklahoma City Thunder the last few years, as Kevin Durant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Co. all looked like they had fun together on and off the court to anyone paying attention.
Now, Harden is out of the mix after a surprising trade over the weekend to the Houston Rockets. With the Thunder set to open their season Friday night against the San Antonio Spurs, all of a sudden chemistry is a concern. Kevin Martin and rookie Jeremy Lamb, acquired from Houston, as well as rookie draft pick Perry Jones all have to be worked into the mix for the defending Western Conference champions.
As Jones told NBA.com, chemistry is one of the things the team is working on:
"Right now we're just getting some chemistry with our teammates," Jones said. "It's all going well. They're learning pretty fast, so it's looking like it's going to be a good season for us... I'm really excited, I just can't wait to get out there and compete with these guys and see the hard work we went through and see it unfold."
Head coach Scott Brooks is confident his team knows what it takes to build the necessary rapport:
"These guys that we brought in are chemistry guys," Brooks said. "They understand what it is to make a successful team. Everybody has to sacrifice. Those are guys that have done that in the past, and they're going to have to do that with us."
The Thunder open the season on the road Friday night agains the San Antonio Spurs. Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. CT and the game will be televised by TNT.