Power rankings OKC Thunder take hits from scribes in Week 24

Tony Parker, Paul George OKC Thunder (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
Tony Parker, Paul George OKC Thunder (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Week 24 of power rankings are in with the OKC Thunder taking a hit dropping to a high of ninth and low of 11th.

With just one week of action remaining this week serves up where the OKC Thunder rank in week 24 of action.

Although Saturday’s huge win in Houston won’t be considered until next week’s list odds are the pundits will reward OKC for their prowess over elite clubs. Moreover, I anticipate musings on why the OKC are much more dangerous after April 12th.  Keep that in mind as you review the scribes thoughts this week and the Thunder are unilaterally punished for losing down the stretch.

This week the scribes power rankings look at the OKC Thunder based on games versus the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans.

 NBA.com – John Schuhmann

Not surprisingly Schuhmann points out something Thunderous Intentions has eluded to all season. Do the Thunder want to avoid the Rockets and Warriors in round one if it means finishing sixth and facing Portland who swept them this season?

Unfortunately, at this stage there are far greater concerns, but that question warrants some consideration. Still, OKC have backed themselves into a corner needing to win out in order to ensure their own fate, regardless of the seed.

This week Schuhmann drops the OKC Thunder four spots to 11th (from his seventh rank last week).

"The Thunder shot 12-for-39 in the clutch as they lost three straight games to lose their grip on the 4 seed in the West. The last five games have been Paul George‘s worst shooting stretch (effective field goal percentage of 37 percent) of the season and the Thunder have been outscored by 25 points in 43 minutes over those five games with George on the floor without Russell Westbrook. But Westbrook found George for a big three in a big win in New Orleans on Sunday to keep OKC in that 4-5 matchup with the Spurs … for now. They still have some work to do to avoid the Rockets, Warriors and Blazers in the first round. They’re 3-2 against Houston and Golden State(with games against both this week), but were swept by Portland."

ESPN – Panel

The ongoing roller coaster ranking of the panel continues. Although in fairness the drop is defensible given the performance of the Thunder in the past few weeks. To that end, for the second consecutive week the panel drops the OKC Thunder.

After moving OKC down to seventh last week, this round finds the Thunder dropped two more spots to ninth.

ESPN’s panel:

ESPN: Kevin Arnovitz | Amin Elhassan |Ramona Shelburne

The Undefeated: Marc J. Spears | FiveThirtyEight: Chris Herring

"Though they beat the Pelicans on Sunday, the Thunder are limping into the playoffs. They’re 2-4 in their past six games, with each loss against teams over .500. Russell Westbrook would need 57 rebounds and 28 assists in his final four games (assuming he plays every game) to average another triple-double for the season, and OKC will need all the stat-stuffing he can muster. — James Jackson"

Bleacher Report:

When Grant Hughes has lost faith in the OKC Thunder it’s a clear sign of trouble. Notably the sqad has appeared frequently in his top ten and top five. Given the recent slide of OKC in pivotal games versus Western Conference foes it wasn’t entirely unexpected however.

"Paul George and Carmelo Anthony shot a combined 9-of-35 from the field (3-of-18 from deep) in Tuesday’s 111-107 home loss to the Warriors, squandering a 44-point, 16-rebound explosion from Russell Westbrook and casting further doubt on the postseason readiness of OKC’s supporting cast."

Last week Hughes kept the faith moving OKC up to sixth from their previous seventh rank. This week however he affords them no such courtesy as he drops them three spots to ninth. To catch the entirety of Hughes highly interesting article click here.

Sports Illustrated – The Crossover

As Rohan Nadkarni noted a few weeks back nothing the OKC Thunder do anymore is surprising. Nadkarni of course is referring to how this squad will beast on top foes and pepper that with losses to lottery bound squads.

Like Schuhmann, the SI Scribe brings up valid points in terms of who the Thunder would face and hints at perhaps OKC might be best served by an opening round versus the Warriors.

Last week Nadkarni ranked the Thunder seventh, but drops them four notches to 11th this week. another

"The Thunder have looked a little shaky over the last week, but their last three losses were by a combined eight points. With a fairly soft closing schedule, OKC shouldn’t really be in panic mode. If anything, a drop to the seventh seed—and a first-round matchup with the Steph-less Warriors—could be fortuitous for the Thunder."

CBS Sports:

More from Thunderous Intentions

Chris Barnewell has definitely been by far the most creative scribe with the rankings. Barnewell injected his weekly offerings with a punch by addressing other elements of team’s successes or failures.

In week 24, his rankings select a player who needs to raise their game in the postseason. For lottery teams he selected which player to keep an eye on as the season wraps up or with a view to next season.

The CBS Sports scribe picks Russell Westbrook as the player most needing to deliver for the OKC Thunder. Since most of Barnewell’s other selections focuses on players who need to improve from previous playoff performances admittedly this selection seems off.

For example, Chris Paul definitely makes sense for the Rockets just like JJ Redick for the Sixers does. But, selecting Westbrook is an odd choice. He’s delivered repeatedly in the postseason. It seems more important that Carmelo Anthony and/or Paul George deliver at a higher rate (at least in this scribe’s humble opinion).

As for the actual rank, Barnewell drops OKC four spots from seventh to 11th.

"Russell Westbrook is the reason the Thunder were able to bring in Paul George and he’s the reason Carmelo Anthony was willing to waive a no-trade clause to come to Oklahoma City. He has the help and now it’s up to him to convince that help to stay beyond this season."

Next week the power rankings will cover the games the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets.  The final games versus the Miami Heat and Memphis Grizzlies will follow in the last power ranking of the season.

No doubt the final list will offer some end of season banter regarding lottery teams versus those headed to the postseason. Clearly, Thunder Nation will be praying OKC fall in the latter category for obvious reasons.