The word “panic” and the regular season don’t go well together in Oklahoma City. In the NBA, teams can get the 8th seed for the playoffs; get hot during the playoffs, and the next thing you know, they are receiving their ring. Especially for the Thunder, this team will only be judged on what they do in the postseason.
However, lets panic and worry a little bit, because hey, there’s something to panic about. It seems as if this Oklahoma City team has no identity after all. Back to back losses, at home against a hot Nuggets team, and in Memphis. Neither of those teams are contenders in the first place. So, why? What’s going on? Is it time to panic?
1. Derek Fisher taking up quality minutes
Scott Brooks always talking about having a veteran in locker room with pure experience and leadership. But, does that untimely mean he has to get big time minutes? Think about this for a second: If Oklahoma City’s “identity” is to run and get out in transition, why have Fisher in the minutes? He is clearly being overmatched night in and night out. Plus, I would definitely rather have Brewer, Lamb, or Liggins on the floor.
2. Poor Shooting
The Thunder is 11 for 64 from beyond the arc in their last few games. Specifically, they shot an atrocious 5-21 against Dallas, 4 of 25 in a loss to Denver, and 2 for 18 in a loss to Memphis last night.
One possession you can say to yourself, “This team is unstoppable, and unguardable ” and then the next possession Westbrook will drive and take a low percentage shot or it will just become isolation basketball. That can’t happen.
Lets see what others are saying:
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com on Oklahoma City’s lost to Memphis and recent woes: “Like I said, they almost did enough to win this game. But it’s not enough, and that’s now losses to Denver and Memphis inside of a week. They need better late-game execution and better consistency in their sets. They have some things to work on.”
Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman: “This could totally be a reactionary question. I’m willing to admit that. But what is the Thunder’s identity? Does this team have one? We know it has two all-league players in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and wins a lot of games. But what exactly is this team’s hallmark beyond that? Defense? We’ve seen enough this season to know that’s closer to a dream than a reality. Offense? Then why such struggles when it matters most? Teamwork? That’s laughable. Inside? Outside? What is it? I can’t really tell you at the moment. But, hey, all these regular season wins sure look nice.”
Aren’t the Thunder lucky they play a poor Magic team on Friday? Phew.