Thunder in the News: Scoring stars must re-gain their shooting touch

The title might be deceiving, but today’s ITN tackles how little adjustments by the OKC Thunder stars could push Oklahoma City back to contention.

Happy Gameday Thunder Nation! Today marks Oklahoma City’s fourth game post-All-Star Break and the third against much lesser competition. They’ve already beat Sacramento and Orlando, but they didn’t look great in either game. Their other contest, a beatdown by the Warriors, leaves us questioning the state of this team as we get closer and closer to the Playoffs.

On thing that could help? If their superstars start hitting their shots.

Westbrook’s one of the worst volume shooters in the NBA

This one doesn’t come as a surprise, but it still is depressing to see the numbers laid out in full. B/R’s Adam Fromal laid out the Least Valuable Shooters this season by analyzing their percentages/attempts from each spot on the floor. What’s truly scary is just how severe the gap between Russ (who comes in at 2nd) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (3rd). 31.32 points separate the two players, yet only 4 separate Russ and Dennis Smith Jr., the current Least Valuable Shooter in the League.

Maybe Paul George should in fact get more touches?

He should just stop taking floaters and short jumpers, because they’ve given him nearly as much trouble as his three-point woes.

Paul George is slumping since Shooting Contest

Or maybe not! Oh joy: although these aren’t full-season statistics like Westbrook, it is worrisome to see PG’s stats since the Break. I hear you small-sample size people – it’s a very valid argument. But as you’re about to find out, there’s another mathematical phenomena that indicates George might be returning to his career-average after a truly prolific rate.

A career 37.8 percent shooter from deep, George shot 43.2 percent from distance before the All-Star break.

“Regression to the means” is our best friend

Yes, yes it is. I’m confident that George is going to be fine; I’m not confident that Carmelo Anthony is. The Thunder traded for Melo expecting him to be one of the best third options in the NBA, but instead they’ve received a player who hasn’t been consistent all season.

Eventually something has to change right? If Melo practices the ‘regression to the means’ phenomena like I do, everything will be just fine.

Carmelo, like all basketball players do at some point, is in a slump. And what happens when players slump? They eventually return to their ungodly ways.

That’s it for today’s issue of TitN! Click that beautiful blue box above you for our full preview to tonight’s game. Then check out the Thunderous Intentions homepage for exclusive (not really) access to all of our great content.