Forth appointment with Keeping Up With the Thunder and my five takes about the past week of Thunder basketball.
The Oklahoma City Thunder played only three games in the past week and ended it with a record of one win and two losses. The games should have been four, but the one against the 76ers was canceled due to Covid reasons. Both Thunder’s losses came via blow-out: first, the champions Lakers roll all over OKC (99-128) and then the Nuggets last night (119-101). In between these two defeats, the Thunder won a big game against the Chicago Bulls by completing a twenty-two points come back. Oklahoma City is now 6-7 after thirteen games.
A NICE SURPRISE: ISAIAH ROBY
Could Isaiah Roby become Oklahoma City’s future starting center? Yes, that’s an actual question I am asking myself or any Thunder fan. Al Horford’s tenure in a Thunder jersey won’t last long, and Roby is playing some solid basketball right now for a second-year player. Actually, we can say it’s more of his first year because he played only three-game the past season. In the last three games, all of them as a starter, Roby averaged 11.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists. Not bad.
LU DORT MIP?
If you are wondering, yes, Lu Dort is my favorite player on this Thunder team. I know, I write about him every single week, but how can I not? He is just phenomenal, and his improvement is so fascinating to watch. During the past week, he averaged 16.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.3 steals. But you know what’s more impressive? His shooting percentage: 52.9% FG and 43.5% 3PT on 7.7 (yes, seven-point-seven) attempts per game. Dort is having a stellar start of the season so far, and if he keeps it up, he should enter the most improved player award conversation pretty soon.
One aspect of this team that I guess most people noticed is that they like to shoot three-pointers. The Thunder are ranked 5th with 39.3 attempts per game. However, they are not very successful at it. OKC is ranked 28th in three-pointer shooting percentage. Oklahoma City has many good players who can shot the ball from behind the three-point line, and probably this is the right season to let them fly. It’s just a surprising development that I honestly didn’t expect. Fun fact: if Poku stops shooting threes (16.7% on 3.3 attempts per game), Okc might rank higher. This being said, let them fly.
HOW TO TANK?
There are moments where this team seems way too good to tank. From one side, it’s pretty cool because you can watch young rising stars compete every night and win more games than expected. However, you might lose the opportunity to have a high pick in the upcoming draft. Coach Mark Daigneault will have a hard job optimizing his players’ potential and try not to win many games.
– I loved the twenty-two points comeback against the Bulls! That was just fantastic.
– Congrats to Al Horford and his wife for the newborn Nova, the fourth child of the family.