The Oklahoma City Thunder have started this year with a disappointing 11-13 record. In almost any team sport it does take time to build chemistry once you add new key players to your roster. But, after last nights poor performance and loss to the Brooklyn Nets, it is only right to question what really is going on with the Thunder.
To start, the OKC Thunder are one of the worst offensive teams. They are currently 24th in the league in scoring at 101.8 ppg, with teams such as the Atlanta Hawks and Utah Jazz averaging more. When you have a team with all NBA scorers such as Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook, scoring should not be a concern but in this case it is. It is fair to expect for these three players scoring to dip from their previous season, when they were the main scoring option on their respective team, but not at the rate we are seeing.
Carmelo is averaging a career worst 18.1 ppg, he has never finished a full season with below 20.8 ppg and Westbrook is currently averaging 22.9 ppg which is down almost 10 ppg from his MVP season last year which he averaged 31.6 ppg. The Thunder are also only shooting 43.9% from the field which is 26th in the league and 33.8% from beyond the arc which is 28th in the league. For a roster that just added two key scorers in Carmelo and George this offseason, this is simply unacceptable. Amongst bench scoring in league the Thunder rank second worst at 23.6 ppg.
If OKC expects to compete they need to consider a change in players coming off their bench. Whether that be by trade or signing they need someone who can score and make a difference off the bench. The Thunder are also having a hard time finding others for open looks. They rank tied for 24th in the league in apg at 20.9 with the Memphis Grizzlies. This stat specifically is ugly due to the fact Westbrook is averaging 9.7 apg, which is about half of the teams assists. Other than Paul George nobody on the Thunder is averaging more than 2.5 assists.
On the defensive end the Thunder are a completely different team. They are only giving up 98.9 ppg which trails the Celtics, who currently have the best record in the league, and Greg Popovich’s Spurs who are known yearly for their superb Defense. All signs point to the offense, which seems to be the Thunders problem early in the year. Whether it be on Billy Donavan and the coaching staff or the players unwillingness to play as a team offensively, if the Oklahoma City Thunder want to compete for a championship this year, changes will come if they continue this poor level of play.
Stats Via: NBA.com/thunder/stats Basketball-reference.com Espn.com
Image Via: usatoday.com