Here we go with the thirteenth appointment with Keeping Up With the Thunder, and my five takes about the past week of Thunder basketball.
The Oklahoma City Thunder played three games this past week, and despite being competitive in all three of them, they came away with zero wins and three losses. Last Wednesday, the Thunder lost against the Memphis Grizzlies, 107-119, then on Saturday against the Boston Celtics, 94-111, and on Monday against the Dallas Mavericks, 106-127.
Oklahoma City is now 19-27 for the season, the eighth-worst record in the league.
TANKING, ALL IN
The time has come. All the anti-tanker worst nightmare finally materialized. The Thunder are finally sitting all the best players for the reminder, or most, of the season. George Hill is now in Philly, Al Horford and Mike Muscala will not play for the rest of the season to let the youngsters develop. SGA has a foot injury and will miss significant time, Baze’s last game is dated March 4th, and Dort just entered concussion’s protocol (no need to hurry to come back). This leaves a team without all its best pieces, full of young promises, and many games left to lose. With twenty-six games left, I honestly don’t see the Thunder winning more than five games. However, I did predict them to win only nineteen games total this season (they already did), so what do I know?
MOSES BROWN, WHAT A GEM
So Moses Brown, y’all! What another fantastic week for the second-year player out of UCLA. In the past three games, Brown averaged 15.3 points, 14.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.3 blocks. Moses completed an incredible game against the Boston Celtics with a 20-20 double-double: twenty-one points and twenty-three rebounds. Incredible. Right after this outstanding game, the Thunder finally signed Brown to a four-year contract (with a lot of flexibility in Thunder’s favor, similar to the Dort’s deal). In the past seven games, Brown averaged 13.6 rebounds (3rd in the league). 4.9 of these were on the offensive side of the floor (3rd). So after Dort, now the Thunder might have the second-best contract of the league with Brown. Time will tell, but for now, let’s enjoy the young center doing cool things.
MALEDON & POKU KEEP ON GROWING
The rookies are growing before our eyes. Little by little, the game is slowing down, and they look way more confident. Maledon always looked readier than Poku. But now, with more playing time, the G-league experience, and always with the green light to shoot, Aleksej took a big step in his development. This is super exciting! Now let’s check some stats, starting with the French point guard. In the past week, Maledon averaged 15.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 2.0 turnovers, and 1.0 steals per game. Poku, on the other end, averaged 14.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 3.3 turnovers. There are twenty-six more games where both players will be on the court for more than thirty minutes a night (31.5 minutes for each in the past ten games). Opportunities to get better are just there. Now it’s their turn to pick them up and do the best out of it. I am sure they will.
LU DORT, THE BEAST DU NORD
I leave this thing here, so you can watch it and enjoy it:
- Against the Boston Celtics, Moses Brown broke the Thunder’s record for most rebounds in an half with nineteen.
- Wednesday, March 31st: Thunder versus Raptors
- Friday, 2nd April: Thunder at Suns
- Saturday, 3rd April: Thunder at Blazers
- Monday, 5th April: Thunder versus Pistons