Dissecting the OKC Thunder Road Woes and Regressing Defense

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse
OKC Thunder

Mar 5, 2017; OKC Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) looses the ball while guarded by Dallas Maverick forward Wesley Matthews (23) Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The OKC Thunder bolstered their roster with a view to moving up the ladder and having a long playoff run.  But, the elephant in the room is the squads’ inability to replicate their home winning prowess on the road.

Following a tumultuous offseason, the OKC Thunder entered 2016-17 with few pundits predicting the squad would be in the playoff mix. But, with Russell Westbrook averaging a triple-double and the team ranking top ten defensively, OKC was holding their own.

Still, gaps were apparent. Specifically, perimeter scoring and bench depth.  Given the youthful roster and lack of assets, moves this season seemed unlikely. Until GM Sam Presti pulled off a trade deadline deal to add Taj Gibson and sharpshooter Doug McDermott.

Related: Five stats that correlate with Thunder wins/losses

Presti was cited for winning the deadline which served to cement beliefs he moonlights as a magician

In one fell swoop, Presti was cited for winning the deadline which served to cement beliefs he moonlights as a magician. Especially considering the rabbits Presti pulled from his hat and the small price paid.  But, unless he has an amnesiac potion to administer to his youthful squad when they hit the road, his efforts may not reap the desired rewards this season.

Entering the final 19 games of the season the OKC Thunder rank seventh, but their glaring Achilles Heel is on full display. Worse, OKC’s once successful defense has dramatically regressed.

Hopes for a climb upward and more importantly an extended playoff run hinge on fixing these issues expeditiously.

With that, let’s examine the issues at hand.

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse