This “superteam” was supposed to be 6-0 and on their way to the first 96-0 (82 + 16 playoff games) record in league history. The Oklahoma City Thunder were supposed to leading the league in Offensive and Defensive Rating. They were supposed to be winning games by at least a margin of 20+ per game and Dakari Johnson should now have six games worth of experience under his belt.
Instead the Thunder find themselves at only 3-3. Chemistry is still an issue as they attempt to assimilate three alpha-dog scorers into a cohesive system. It is no longer just grab the ball and score, as all three have been used to throughout their careers. Now, it’s run the offense until there’s an open shot and if nothing develops, then revert back to your natural instinct of isolation dominance. All the while, there are two other players out there on the floor that can be involved in the offense also.
It’s going to take some time. We can look back at all the other recent iterations of super teams and see that there were adjustment periods for all of them. Some of those teams adjusted quickly, like the Warriors of last year and the Celtics of 2007-08. Others took at least a season to find themselves, like the 2010-11 Miami Heat. But they all eventually found success. Continue reading The Week That Was: 23-29 October 2017→
Royce Young (ESPN) on Paul George’s struggles against his former team: “George then fouled out with 6:15 left in the fourth, with only 10 points on 4 of 8 shooting in 19 minutes. “That hasn’t happened often in my career,” George said of winning the game despite his struggles. “Fortunate to have those guys carry me. They knew how big this game was for me, and they went out and got it for me.”
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 930 AM (Spanish))
Line: OKC -14.5 | O/U – 218
I’ve never been a huge fan of moral victories. It feels like a gateway to developing a losing mentality. The great, “Oh, we lost, but…” A team says that enough times and failure becomes an acceptable habit. “Missed it by this much” becomes the norm.
Sunday’s loss felt different, though. Yes, it was definitely a moral victory, which means it was a loss. But it felt like the team discovered something about itself in that fourth quarter (almost) comeback. Russell Westbrook, who has had to adjust on the fly to having two scoring wings next to him, reverted back to what felt natural to him. And it worked. Shots fell. The team got stops. And what started as a 13-point deficit heading into the quarter turned into a one point lead with 5 seconds left. Of course, we all know what transpired after that as Andrew Wiggins and the three referees made sure Minnesota came out of that game with a victory (shouts out to you, Last 2-Minutes report). Continue reading Pacers vs. Thunder preview (Game 4 of 82)→
Oklahoma City comes into this draft with only one pick: no. 21 in the first round. There are options to move up, move down, or trade. But another scenario would be the Thunder staying at 21 and drafting a player there. Luckily for them, this is an incredibly deep draft with talented players scattered all they way into the first third of the second round. With that said, there are also disclaimers. Picking in the 20’s is a crap shoot. For every Reggie Jackson or Serge Ibaka the Thunder have drafted in the 20’s, there’s also a Mitch McGary or Byron Mullens.
There are a number of factors that could come into play with this draft pick. Are the Thunder looking for someone that could play immediately as a role player? Or are they looking for someone with more upside that could possibly be more than a role player once they fully develop? Players that can fit into a role immediately are usually older players that have several seasons of either college experience or international play under their belt. A good example of that from the Thunder would be Alex Abrines, who was able to step into the role of floor spacer after about the first quarter of the season. Domantas Sabonis, on the other hand, had only two years of experience at Gonzaga, and is more of a developmental project for the Thunder. The Sabonis the Thunder get in 2 years will likely be a much different player than the Sabonis they had last season.
Welcome to Loud City looks at Oklahoma State’s Juwan Evans for 21: “Running an offense, playmaking, and executing the high pick-and-roll are all directly in Jawun’s wheelhouse–it’s his bread and butter. Last season at OSU, Evans had an assist percentage of 43.6%, and a usage rate of 32.7–both of which are the highest in the draft. Evans also gives this team another thing they desperately need–especially when Russell goes to the bench—a ball handler that doesn’t have an issue creating contact and getting to the free throw line. He averaged 7 free-throw-attempts per 40 minutes last season. Obviously, after scoring 19 points-per-game last season at OSU, Evans can put the ball in the hoop, but it’s his decision making that really opens the door for his role in Oklahoma City.” Continue reading Daily Thunder Rumblings – 19 June 2017→