Thunder Style: Raptors at Thunder (11/6/12)

Will Durant, Westbrook and The Crew get back to .500 at home? Only if they learn

After falling to 1-2 with losses against the Spurs and Hawks to start the season, the Thunder look to turn around their fortunes against a hapless Raptors squad. James Harden may be a world away (OK, about 450 miles), but the Thunder shouldn't need him tonight... as long as they can start grabbing offensive boards and keeping Kevin Martin hot.

Crashing the Boards

Rebounding has never been Oklahoma City's forte; the Thunder ranked 23rd in '11-12 with a 72.1% defensive rebound rate and 11th in offensive rebounding with a 27.8% rate. But this season, the put-backs have not been there. Through the first three games, the Thunder have only been able to convert 22.7% of offensive rebounds, which ranks 23rd in the league so far this season.

And it's not just a trend you can place on one guy; individual offensive rebounding percentages are down across the board. Olympian Serge Ibaka (Thunder fans should remind themselves of this after his first three games, he might be tired people!) has dropped from a 13.2% ORB rate in '11-12 to 5.1% in the first three games. Kendrick Perkins has gone from 8.4% to 6.1%. And while five different Thunder rotation players reached the 7% mark last season (Ibaka, Collison, Mohamed, Aldrich, Perkins), only former #2 pick Hasheem Thabeet (that needs to be constantly said, too) has put up over 7% in three games this season.

Come On Down to the K-Mart

Lost in depression-inducing Harden-mania for Thunder fans is the fact that, hey, that Martin guy the Thunder received back isn't half bad himself. Through three games, Martin leads all Thunder rotation players with 24.5 points per 48 minutes played. He may not be singlehandedly carrying a team like The Beard, but there are worse bandwagons than Martin's rapidly accelerating Sixth Man of the Year ride.

And it's happened because Martin's incredible, but likely unsustainable, effective field goal percentage (eFG%). eFG% takes into account the increased value that a three-pointer gives over a two-point shot, giving a more accurate view of a player's contributions. And man has Martin contributed: his current .719 eFG% ranks seventh in the NBA so far this year and third among wing players (only J.J. Reddick and Ray Allen have shot better).

But the chances of Martin sustaining this mark are slim. In his eight previous NBA seasons, K-Mart has never finished with an eFG% above .540 ('05-06). He's also only topped .500 once in the past four seasons.

The Predictions

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