The Weekly Rumble

The We

Last week: 3-0 (3-0)

Date Team Score
10/26/16 Thunder 103
76ers 97
10/28/16 Suns 110
Thunder 113
10/30/16 Lakers 96
Thunder 113

Where the Thunder was Good

  • Playing with Pace -

    • Billy Donovan said it all preseason - he wants this Thunder squad to play with pace. He’s gotten his wish (so far). The Thunder are not only running off of misses, but they’re running off of makes as well. They’re second in the league in pace, averaging about 107 possessions per 48 minutes. With Russell Westbrook spearheading the uptempo style, Thunder are generating an abundance of easy baskets, averaging 24.7 fast break points and 54 points in the paint per game, both good for first in the NBA.

  • Defense!

    • A big worry for this Thunder team in the preseason was how it was going to look on the defensive end. So far so good through 3 games, albeit those 3 games versus three of the worst teams in the league. Thunder are allowing just 92.2 points per 100 possessions, a fantastic number good for 3rd in the NBA. The odd thing is that the Thunder have been awful in first quarters, but great for the rest of the games:

      Defensive Rating
      1st Quarter 108.6
      All Other Quarters 85.6

  • Winning

    • Thunder have done a great job of just simply closing out these games versus inferior teams. Russell Westbrook has been magnificent in the clutch, and Billy Donovan deserves credit for putting the necessary lineups on the floor in crunch time.

  • Rebounding

    • What a surprise, the Thunder are rebounding the ball well! Kidding. It’s not surprising at all. The surprising part is they’ve actually been more dominant on the defensive glass than the offensive, which is directly related to their high pace numbers and fast break points. Offensively, they’re grabbing a solid 26.6% of available rebounds, however, I’d still like to see that number climb closer to last year’s (31.1%).

Where the Thunder was Bad

  • Offensive Efficiency

    • We knew the Thunder would take a hit offensively in losing Kevin Durant, but they’ve taken a bigger step back than even I thought. An offensive rating of 98.3 is below league average, and especially disappointing when you consider the teams the Thunder have played. Scoring in transition and off of opponents’ misses hasn’t been the issue; half-court offense has. Someone besides Russell Westbrook has to be able to make a play in the half-court.

  • Assists

    • A logical argument could be made that without Kevin Durant, the Thunder would be able to achieve crisper ball movement within the offense. While it sounds good in theory, it hasn’t come to fruition just yet. Only 49.2% of the Thunder’s baskets are coming off assists, 4th lowest in the league, and that’s with the league’s leading assist man on the team.

  • Turnovers

    • Hello darkness, my old friend. After committing only 10 turnovers in the season opener vs. the 76ers, the Thunder regressed with 22 vs. the Suns and 20 vs. the Lakers. Do the math and you come out to 17.3 per game, 3rd-worst in the league.

Player of the Week

Russell Westbrook

What can I say that you haven’t already heard or don’t already know? The dude leads the league in scoring (38.7 ppg) and he averages more rebounds (12.3) than Nikola Vucevic, Rudy Gobert, Draymond Green, and Blake Griffin. Oh yeah, he also leads the league in assists (11.7 per game). He really might actually have a chance at this averaging a triple-double thing.

What to Watch for

  • Rookie Domantas Sabonis has struggled a bit and can’t stop fouling. He’s not really hurting the team while he’s on the court, but Ilyasova is coming off the bench and making a legitimate impact. It’s worth mentioning that Donovan might play around with that starting PF spot.

  • Steven Adams and Victor Oladipo are reportedly close to signing extensions with the Thunder. So yeah, watch out for that. Or something.

  • Oladipo has looked a bit uncomfortable offensively at times. Look for Donovan to get him more opportunities in the pick and roll, or maybe even as a weak-side backdoor cutter.

Things are trending...

Upwards. Regardless of the opponents, the Thunder are 3-0. Things are about to get a bit more difficult, though...

Next Week

11/2/16 - @ LA Clippers (ESPN)
11/3/16 - @ Golden State (TNT)
11/5/16 - vs Timberwolves (FSO)


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