Week seven of the national NBA power rankings witnessed the OKC Thunder holding steady as most scribes seeded the team as a top five team.
In week 7 the pundits rank the OKC Thunder as high as third and as low as seventh although most seeded them fifth. Here’s where each of the National sites placed the squad.
NBA.com – John Schuhmann:
John Schuhmann holds the OKC Thunder steady at fifth. Schuhmann highlights Russell Westbrook prowess in week 7 and how OKC have handled the lower tier in the excerpt below.
The Thunder certainly didn’t have the toughest November schedule (only three of their 15 November opponents are currently over .500), but they took care of business, going 12-3 with the league’s best November point differential per 100 possessions (plus-10.5) by a healthy margin. They rank No. 1 defensively and the last five games have been their best defensive stretch of the season (95.5 points allowed per 100 possessions), despite some lineup inconsistency (four different starters alongside Russell Westbrook in the backcourt).
For the rest of Schuhmann’s OKC Thunder insight and remainder of his week seven rankings click this link.
ESPN – Panel
For the second consecutive week the panel holds the OKC Thunder steady in fifth place. Click this link for the full panel rankings.
ESPN: Kevin Arnovitz | Tim MacMahon |Andre’ Snellings
The Undefeated: Marc J. Spears | FiveThirtyEight: Chris Herring
The Thunder did exactly what they were supposed to in a light week, winning both games against the lowly Cavaliers and Hawks by a combined 32 points. They have now won 14 of 17 games to quietly inch closer to the top of the Western Conference. Paul George has been outstanding, averaging 25.2 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 4.6 APG and 3.0 combined steals and blocks during his last 10 games to keep the Thunder competitive even when Russell Westbrook has had to sit. — Snellings
Grant Hughes drops the Thunder a single spot from third to fourth which isn’t that surprising given the three teams he ranks ahead. Hughes outlines how much better Westbrook is in terms of his shooting selection. For that portion and the rest of Hughes list click here.
I’m not sure many observers view the Oklahoma City Thunder as a member of the NBA’s true upper echelon, but a quick scan of the last calendar month suggests that conventional wisdom might need some realignment.
The Thunder are 12-3 since Oct. 30 and have firmly established their defense as the best around.
Sports Illustrated – The Crossover
For the fourth consecutive week writer Khadrice Rollins holds the OKC Thunder in sixth place. Link to the rest of his ratings is here.
This was a great week in Oklahoma City. The Thunder took care of business in two games most expected them to win. Russ is in triple-double form and looking more and more comfortable since returning from injury. But another setback for Andre Roberson did put a bit of a dark cloud over all the positivity with the Thunder right now.
Week seven finds writer Reid Forgrave of CBS Sports holding the OKC Thunder in seventh. For the full list of his rankings click here.
A surprising stat: Paul George has averaged more points per game than Russell Westbrook this season (23.5 to 23.2). It’s the fewest points per game Westbrook has averaged since the 2013-14 season, and yet the Thunder seem better off for it. The Thunder are still last in the NBA in three-point percentage, but their elite defense — tops in the NBA — makes certain that that doesn’t matter.
FanSided – The Step Back:
The Step Back Ian Levy moves the OKC Thunder up a spot from fourth to third citing their overall record (especiallly post 0-4 start), point differential and Nerlens Noel fit with the team.
Below is a portion of his excerpt on the Thunder. The remainder of Levy’s commentary on OKC and his full list ranking can be found by clicking this link.
It’s kind of hard to remember right now, but the Thunder started the season with four straight losses. Since then, they’re 15-3 with 10 double-digit wins and a plus-11.4 point differential, by far the biggest in the league over that stretch. At some point, the residuals from that rough two-week start to the year will fade and we’ll have to acknowledge that Oklahoma City may be as legit a contender as any other non-Warriors team in the West.
More from Thunderous Intentions
For the second consecutive week Editor Gerald Bourguet of Hoops Habit holds the OKC Thunder in fifth. Click here for his full rankings.
The good news: The Oklahoma City Thunder have won 14 of their last 17 games since the 0-4 start, Russell Westbrook tied Jason Kidd for the third-most triple-doubles in NBA history this week, and OKC owns the NBA’s stingiest defense.
The bad news: That league-leading defense would be even more stifling with Andre Roberson back on the floor, but thanks to another injury setback, he won’t be re-evaluated for another six weeks.
Week seven featured only two games for OKC versus the Cavaliers and Hawks, both of which the home team won. In week eight pundits will rank the OKC Thunder on games they played in their three game mini Eastern Conference road trip against the Pistons, Nets and Bulls where they went 2-1.
This coming week the Thunder have four games beginning with a game back at the Peake versus the Jazz, then two on the road to the Pelicans and Nuggets. The latter being the front end of a back to back series which will finish at home versus the Clippers on Saturday.
That wraps up the week seven power rankings from the National pundits. Have a great Sunday.