OKC Thunder: Where NBA National Scribes Power Rank OKC in Week 15
In week 15 of NBA action the OKC Thunder split their games with a 2-2 effort which the National Scribes universally weren’t impressed with in their power rankings.
On a whole the pundits dropped the Thunder down their lists. It seems unfair, given for the most part these same pundits continue to reward the Rockets, Cavaliers and Clippers all of whom have suffered during the ‘Dog Days’. The only team who seems to be universally dropping on their lists is the Toronto Raptors. All bias aside I’m expecting to see that change now that DeRozan is back and Patterson probably isn’t far behind.
Must Read: Five Shooters the Thunder Should Target
Like the Raptors the Thunder dealt with a heinous road schedule and major injuries (first Victor Oladipo and now Enes Kanter). The fact these same pundits are rewarding the Wizards, Celtics and Pacers by ranking them high on their lists is understandable. But dig into their schedules you’ll find teams who are benefiting from heavy home schedules or easy opponents.
Check back in the coming weeks as both the Thunder and Raptors who were placed closely (usually back to back) on these lists hit an easier portion of their schedules from now on. Who wants to bet if both teams take advantage of their easier schedules (and in Toronto’s case gets back their top offensive and defensive players) they won’t return to the top 10 or potentially top 5 ranking?
With that, let’s see how the OKC Thunder were placed in this weeks power rankings.
NBA.com John Schuhmann
John Schuhmann moves the Thunder down a spot to eighth in his rankings after their 2-2 week.
The Thunder lost their first three games without Enes Kanter before picking up important wins over Memphis and Portland over the weekend, with Russell Westbrook totalling 80 points, 17 rebounds and 20 assists in the two games. They’ve been the league’s worst shooting team (effective field goal percentage of just 48.6 percent) in 2017 and have scored a paltry 77.3 points per 100 possessions with Westbrook off the floor in the five games since Kanter’s injury. Victor Oladipo has shot 5-for-22 from 3-point range (2-for-17 with Westbrook on the floor) in that stretch.
Sports Illustrated – Jeremy Woo
Jeremy moved the Thunder down one spot in his rankings, placing them at number 11.
Russell Westbrook’s numbers are a thing to behold, but the Thunder have been fairly dreadful on both sides of the ball lately. They miss Enes Kanter but have a decent playoff cushion to work with in the meantime.
CBS – Matt Moore
OKC is 29th in jump shot points per possession, league-wide via Synergy Sports. The Thunder’s offense is just not good enough if they face any playoff team with muscle. It’s tough because they like the trajectory of their young guys, but the only way they can get an offensive upgrade is by trading one of them. It’s a tough spot.
ESPN – Marc Stein
For the third consecutive week Marc Stein ranks the OKC Thunder 12th in his rankings.
The Thunder play only two road games total in February, after being forced to survive 12 roadies in January, but there’s nothing easy about their week ahead. LeBron James and the Cavs make their lone OKC visit of the season Thursday, followed by Kevin Durant‘s first-ever game in town as a visitor on Saturday in what merely ranks as the most anticipated game of the regular season. How much have Russell Westbrook’s and Durant’s lives changed since they ceased to be teammates? According to our man Micah Adams’ calculations, Westbrook leads the league with 83.7 frontcourt touches per game. Durant ranks 56th with just 48.2 frontcourt touches per game. For more preview chatter, click to our interview with Thunder guard Victor Oladipo on Sunday night’s “NBA Insiders” show on ESPN Radio.
And there you have it every single pundit either dropped the OKC Thunder or held them steady. Considering the two wins the Thunder had this week against the Grizzlies and Blazers that’s surprising.
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As Stein notes the upcoming Cavalier and Warriors matches will test the mettle of Westbrook and company. Then again, this team won’t need the normal motivation to beat the best Conference teams. Well at least not the one from the West who they’ve been dying to get on their home court since July.
Join us Saturday for a live blog during the Warriors match:
To that end, make sure to join our live blog Saturday starting pregame, lasting throughout the match and afterward. It doesn’t even matter if the Thunder win at this point (though that would be a lovely side benefit). Rather, it’s about having a place for Thunder fans to interact and comment on the occasion.
It’s a tough week ahead with the aforementioned top Conference squads and a trip to Indy beforehand. The OKC Thunder could easily find themselves win-less this week, but looking ahead of this week 7 of their next 8 games after Feb 11 are versus non playoff seeds.