OKC Thunder Winning Formula: Five statistical tipping points

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - JANUARY 28: Russell Westbrook
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - JANUARY 28: Russell Westbrook /
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OKC Thunder
PORTLAND, OR – MARCH 3: Steven Adams /

Win On The Glass:

Anybody who know how basketball works will not be surprised. The Thunder are 34-10  when they grab more than 50% of the rebounds in a game and 10-22 when they don’t. While this isn’t a shocking concept, it does give a lens into how winning is done for the Thunder.

Just to clarify, there are plenty of teams in the NBA who find ways to win despite struggling on the glass (Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks), and plenty of teams that struggle to win despite consistently winning on the glass (Charlotte Hornets, New York Knicks).

The reason the Thunder’s rebounding rate reflects their chances of winning so dramatically are though are two-fold. One, they have to limit possessions on the defensive end. Without Andre Roberson in the mix, they are not the devastating defensive team they once were and that means that getting a stop is more precious than it once was. When you get one of those precious stops and then give the other team the ball back, it is going to be tough to win.

The other reason is that when the Thunder (read: Steven Adams) control the offensive glass, it often culminates in good looks at the basket for Steven Adams. Steven is consistently able to get an easy putback or is fouled when he pulls it down, both of which is a major positive for the Thunder.