Here we go with the eighteenth appointment with Keeping Up With the Thunder and my five takes about the past week of Thunder basketball.
The Oklahoma City Thunder played four games this past week, and guess what, as the script wants, they lost all of them. OKC lost bad against the New Orleans Pelicans, 95-109, and produced one of the worst performances ever against the Indiana Pacers. A fifty-seven points loss at home. 95-152 the absurd final score. Somehow, the Thunder “bounced back” in the next two games. Both were losses, but at least it was by seven points combined. First the Suns, 120-123, and then the Kings 99-103.
BACK ON THE RIGHT PATH
Yes, Oklahoma City keeps on improving its Draft odds. These past four losses bring the Thunder to a 21-45 record, the fourth-worst record tied with the Orland Magic and the Cleveland Cavaliers. If OKC loses the remaining six games, then there is a good chance they can end up in the worst top three. Why? Because the Wolves (20-46) and the Pistons (19-47), which are just right there behind OKC, will have to face each other. Plus, Minnesota still has to play the Magic. Now, it’s up to the Thunder to lose out and hope for the best.
BAZE IS FINISHING STRONG
Darius continues to perform at a high level. Another solid week for the second-year player. His playmaking, his ability to attack the rim, and his confidence are increasing game after game. He led the team in scoring at 17.0 points per game, and he finished second in rebounds at 7.8 (only behind rebounds-machine Brown). Since he came back from the injury fourteen games ago, in 32.8 minutes per game, Baze is averaging 18.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. His shooting percentages this week are a bit lower compared to the previous one. However, it’s amazing how much room for improvement is there for the almost twenty-one years old.
DECK, THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
The Thunder signed Gabriel Deck from Real Madrid on April 12th. It took some time before the Argentinian was able to play his first game with OKC due to all the visa and security protocols. Deck’s first week on the court has been nothing but positive. In the four games he played, Deck averaged 9.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. All of it in only 18.3 minutes per game. Impressive if we consider that Deck doesn’t speak English, he just entered the best league that there is, and he is in a completely new system. Legend Manu Ginobili is a huge Deck supporter. If Gabriel can become a modern version of Manu, well, then the Thunder will be great really soon.
THE SECOND UNIT
This past week, the bench production was elite. In the past four games, the second united averaged 49.3 points per game (2nd overall in the league), 22.0 rebounds (3rd), 11.0 assists (4th), 4.0 steals (3rd). Considering all the absences and the little experience the bench players have, it’s good to see such a positive impact. To be fair, the second unit did a good job overall so far this season as they rank in the top ten teams in points, rebounds, and assists per game. While shooting percentages are average, turnovers and plus/minus are very bad.
- Against the Suns, Théo Maledon set a Thunder rookie record with 96 made 3-point field goals this season
- Thursday, 6th May: Thunder at Warriors
- Saturday, 8th May: Thunder at Warriors
- Sunday, 9th May: Thunder at Kings
- Tuesday, 11th May: Thunder at Kings