Kevin Martin's role with the Thunder moving forward is something to watch.
Kevin Martin has been great this year, and this is going to be a totally pessimistic view of where he is with the team right now. But it merits mentioning.
The chemistry, or rather the level of trust, between the team and Martin is nowhere near where it needs to be by the end of the year.
Obviously, there are still 66 games left in the season for that to change. But if it doesn't, the Oklahoma City Thunder could have a rough time getting out of the Western Conference.
The strange thing about Russell Westbrook and (to a lesser extent) Kevin Durant, the clear alpha-dogs on the team, is that it doesn't seem like they're all that quick to trust on the basketball court.
The Thunder offense has run with machine-like efficiency so far this season, due in part to the fact that Durant and Westbrook are setting up teammates, most notably Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha, more than ever.
It's the reason that the Thunder's best five-man lineup this season in terms of plus-minus has actually been the starting lineup, a lineup that looks pretty brutal on paper.
But if you think about it, it took until last year's playoffs until Durant and Westbrook were really setting up Ibaka, and until this year they seemed uncomfortable setting up Sefolosha.
Heck, it took until last year's playoffs until James Harden was even allowed to touch the ball in crunch time. And we're seeing the same thing with Martin this season. Martin has been absurdly efficient this season and has fit right into the Thunder offense.
Yet, it's clear that the chemistry between him, Durant and particularly Westbrook, isn't there yet (and no, it's not because Westbrook is selfish).
Too many times this season, Martin has stood open in the corner, hands on his hips, as he's summarily ignored by the ball-handler. This doesn't happen all of the time (the guy has canned the fourth-most three-pointers in the game this year), but it happens often enough to be a little concerned.
It's not a lack of vision—those exact same passes are all being made to Sefolosha. It just doesn't seem like there's an established connection between the team and Martin yet.
Unlike Harden, Martin needs to be set up to be at his most effective, so it's crucial that that chemistry further develop over the course of the season.
There are still plenty of games to go this season and plenty of time for the Thunder to get it all together. But how Kevin Martin is utilized in the Oklahoma City offense moving forward is worth keeping an eye on.