Third appointment with Keeping Up With the Thunder and my five takes about the past week of Thunder basketball.
After the defeat against the Miami Heat, the Thunder seemed a bit lost. There wasn’t much hope for fans to complete the next three road games with many wins (and for this season, it’s not really a problem). However, here it comes the supposedly tanking OKC with three consecutive wins. First, they avenged the beat down in New Orleans with a 111-110 win, then they went in the big Apple and rolled over the Knicks (101-89) and the Nets (129-116). Pretty Impressive. The week ended with a loss against the Spurs, 112-102 the final score. Oklahoma City fought until the end of the fourth quarter, but this time around came out short.
TANKING THE RIGHT WAY
What I love about the Thunder is that they don’t simply settle for being bad. Sam Presti always finds a way to keep this team entertaining and somehow competitive. OKC’s young core is promising and developing very fast. There are four young players (SGA, Baze, Dort, Diallo) who are impressing everyone right now and seem to have a spectacular future ahead. This is not a “Trust the process 76ers” kinda tanking. This is an excellent road to get back into the playoffs in a short amount of time.
SGA IS FOR REAL
Shai is with no doubt the best player on this team. He is showing why every single night he plays. SGA can do it all: drive to the basket, shoot from mid-range, three points, find the open player on a drive, rebound, you name it, he does it. This week was no exception. Actually, it was pretty fantastic. Shai averaged 24.3 points per game (59.6% FG on 14 attempts, 50.0% 3PT, and 75.9% FT), 7.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.8 steals and 2.3 turnovers.
A FORCE OF NATURE: HAMIDOU DIALLO
I talked about the progression and evolution of Diallo in the last edition of KUWTT, and wow, this week it was even better. Last time I didn’t want to dive into the stats too much, but this week I should, and I will.
In the past four games, Hami averaged 18.3 points while shooting 61.8% from the floor and 77.3% from the free-throw line. This is not all. He added 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.5 steals, and only 0.5 turnovers. One more impressive stat? Here we go: Diallo took 6.3 shots at the rim and score 76% of them. That’s really something to keep an eye on.
VETERANS MORE INVOLVED
To be honest, I wasn’t much impressed with the way Al Horford and George Hill played the first two weeks of the season. Obviously, both came from contending teams, so I assume it’s not easy to get into a completely different role on the Thunder. However, this past week, they played solid games. More involved on offense, and let’s say, just more present on the floor. I have no idea how long they will stay in a Thunder uniform, but if they keep playing like this, the Thunder might end up with more wins than expected.
- The new NBA rules against Covid-19 are somehow funny. Masks all the time, restrictions outside the court, no high fives, but of course, you can sweat and breath and hit each other for forty-eight minutes. Money talks, as always. How about adding more players to the roster on special contracts so that the games are not postponed? Could add two veterans and a couple of two-way contracts. The quality of the show might get worse, but what’s a better solution? I truly believe that these restrictions won’t help.