Keeping up with the Thunder (KUWTT), Week 17

Here we go with the seventeenth appointment with Keeping Up With the Thunder and my five takes about the past week of Thunder basketball.

THE WEEK

Oklahoma City played only three games this past week and ended up with one win (YES, THEY FINALLY WON ONE GAME) and two losses. OKC lost against the Washington Wizards, 109-129, and against the Philadelphia 76ers, 90-121. Absolutely out of nowhere, after two blowout losses, and fourteen consecutive losses, the Thunder went to Boston and defeated the Celtics: 119-115, the final score.

A COSTLY WIN, MAYBE

I have talked many times about how frustrating the tanking process is. If you are a rebuilding team with no chances to compete for a title, lose as many games as possible to get the best position in the following year’s draft. It is frustrating for the players (nobody likes to lose), and it is, sometimes, frustrating also for the fans. After being 20-27 (and in the middle of nowhere), the Thunder decided to speed up the tank process. The team lost fourteen consecutive games and increased the chances of a good lottery pick. However, OKC won a game in Boston, and somehow, looking at the standing now, it might be a costly win by the end of the season. The Thunder are now 21-41, the fifth-worst record in the league, but the teams behind won a few games, and the second-worst place is not so far away: Detroit is 19-43, Orlando is 19-43, and Minnesota is 19-44. As bad as it sounds, OKC needs to lose the last ten games. This will help them to sneak into the bottom four teams.

BAZE IS GAINING CONFIDENCE

Darius Bazley really had a terrific week. The second-year player is improving and gaining confidence after each game. It sure helps that SGA, Horford, and Muscala are all out for the season, and Dort is not playing every game. This obviously helps. Darius can handle the ball more, and it gives him more responsibility on the court. I really can’t wait to see this team at full strength next year. This being said, here are some of Baze’s numbers for the week: 18.3 points per game (FG 52.6%, 3PT 50.0%), 7.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 steals, and 3.3 turnovers. One aspect he needs to improve is definitely the FT line shooting. Darius shot only 58.8% from the free-throw line on 5.7 attempts per game. He is only 70.8% for the regular season.

TY HOT WEEK

Since he joined the Thunder, Ty Jerome had more ups than downs. This week was a very high one. Jerome’s shooting numbers were off the charts. He averaged 14.7 points while shooting 58.6% from the floor on 9.7 attempts and 50% from behind the three points line on 5.3 attempts. Jerome also added three rebounds and three assists per game. Ty is averaging 10.4 points per game so far this season which makes him the 5th best scorer on the team.

THE ROOKIES

A positive week for the two rookies Maledon and Poku. The French point guard averaged 12.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.3 steals, and 4.0 turnovers. Theo shot the ball well from all the positions: 43.5% from the floor, 50% from behind the arc (3.3 attempts per game), and 84.6% from the FT line.
Poku is both smooth and confident. This is what I want to say about him. He became so much better after spending time with the OKC Blue that it makes me very happy. And he is still only nineteen years old. In the past three games, Poku averaged 9.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steal, and 3.7 turnovers.
No need to say it, I know, but the future is bright for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

  • With the win against the Celtics, the Thunder snap their 14-game losing streak. This ties the 2008-09 team for longest in franchise history in the Oklahoma City era.

COMING UP

  • Thursday, 29th April: Thunder versus Pelicans
  • Saturday, 1st May: Thunder versus Pacers
  • Sunday, 2nd May: Thunder versus Suns
  • Tuesday, 4th May: Thunder versus Kings

Alberto Bodei

Twitter: @euro_thunder

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