Oklahoma City Thunder At A Crossroads This Season
The Oklahoma City Thunder have had some struggles recently. These struggles could be their undoing this season if they aren’t fixed.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are 8-6 on the season. They currently are in sixth place in the wild Western Conference. After a 6-1 start, the Thunder have a record of 2-5. During the span of the last seven games, the Thunder are allowing opponents to score 109.7 points per game.
The latest loss for the Thunder was at the hands of the Indiana Pacers without Paul George. The Pacers shot 40-of-89 from the floor (44 percent) and 11-of-22 (50 percent) from three.
Jeff Teague had a huge night, scoring 30 points, including 9-of-16 from the floor and 3-of-4 from three.
The Thunder are 21st in the league in offensive efficiency with 1.006. They rank 16th in the league in points from three-point shots with 25.7. However, they rank first in the points in the paint category with 48.6 per game.
What the Thunder need to decide is if they are going to be a three-point shooting team or if they are going to pound the paint through dribble penetration. Are they going to be a spread offense or are they going to utilize the pick-and-roll offense?
The Thunder have gone away from the pick-and-roll game between Westbrook and Adams that worked so well at times during the 2016 playoffs. This season, Adams is only taking seven shots a game. In fact, only Westbrook and Oladipo are taking more than 10 shots a game.
Other players have to get more shots. Westbrook is averaging 23.8 shots overall and 5.4 from three-point range per game. Oladipo is taking around 14 shots per game. In order for players like Enes Kanter and Steven Adams to get going offensively they need more than eight shots a game.
However, with the Thunder running a spread offense, the ball doesn’t move nearly as much as it should. The Thunder average 48.6 points in the paint per game; although half of that comes from Westbrook himself.
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Spreading the wealth of shots is key for the Thunder. Only three players average double figures–Westbrook, Oladipo, and Kanter.
The Thunder must make shots and players have to take a better shot than a long three.
Defensively, the Thunder aren’t doing well either. They are allowing opponents to shooting 49.5 percent per game, scoring 103.8 points per game.
Teams are scoring big in the paint at 47.3 points per game, which is partly on Adams. However, with Adams an afterthought on the offensive end, it’s easy to see why the defensive end gets missed.
Another factor in the Thunder’s recent struggles is turnovers. The Thunder average 16.3 turnovers per game. Westbrook leads the Thunder in turnovers with 5.3 a game.
This isn’t a slam on Westbrook; it’s often the player with the ball in his hand the most that will have the most turnovers.
Despite Westbrook’s amazing play so far this season, the Thunder are lacking in a few areas; areas that must be improved in order for the Thunder to have success this season. The Thunder must shoot fewer three-point shots and get other players involved in order to make a turnaround.