The National pundits provide their NBA team rankings after one week of action to begin the 2019-20 season. Discover where the OKC Thunder were seeded.
The first week of action is complete in the NBA for the 2019-20 season and with that, the National sites are seeding all the teams. This weekly exercise will see plenty of fluctuation as early risers often balance out back to their identities and powerhouse teams who get off to a slow start find their footing. The OKC Thunder aren’t in their typical upper tier but some surprises exist based on the defensive dominance they began the season with.
There are plenty of surprises to launch this season as some of the expected lottery teams jumped out to a great start (think Phoenix Suns). Similarly, teams who were anticipated to build upon last season’s success have faltered initially (think Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings).
Still, other teams who are projected to be among the elite will get the benefit of the doubt regardless of record (Milwaukee Bucks) as analysts know they’ll rise to the top within due course. With that let’s take a peek at where the National sites ranked the OKC Thunder.
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NBA.com – John Schuhmann:
The stats master utilizes analytics and his seeding is often prefaced by how teams perform in key stats categories. Emphasis is placed on offense, defense and net ratings in his seeding which is why the OKC Thunder isn’t at the very bottom of his ranking given the team’s defensive prowess.
Prior to season start, Schuhmann seeded the Thunder in 20th and because of their defense moved them up to 19th in his opening week placement. The following is an excerpt from his ranking but you can view it in its entirety by clicking this link.
The Thunder are one of two teams (the Jazz are the other) that has held its opponent under a point per possession in each of its games thus far. They rank second in opponent 3-point percentage (22.4%), though 56% of their opponents’ 3-point attempts (the league’s fifth highest opponent rate) have been wide open (according to Second Spectrum) and the opponents have shot just 20% (the league’s second lowest opponent rate) on those wide-open 3-pointers.
ESPN – Panel
Back this season with a panel of analysts the ESPN group ranks the teams weekly with contributions from five different writers and analysts. Three members return this season (MacMahon, Snellings, and Spears) and two new voices enter the mix (Marks and Young).
In the first week of rankings, the panel also seeds the OKC Thunder in 20th.
Click this link for the full panel rankings.
ESPN: Tim MacMahon |Andre’ Snellings | Royce Young | Bobby Marks
The Undefeated: Marc J. Spears
It’s no big surprise the post-Westbrook era started with some bumps, with OKC’s first two games featuring a cumbersome offense that ranked last in the league. But a blowout of the defenseless Warriors showed signs of what the Thunder are trying to move toward without a high-usage, ball-dominant player — more passing, more cutting, more moving. Over the past four seasons, the Thunder were last in the league in passes per game, but are 17th so far this season, averaging about 36.5 more per game, according to Second Spectrum. — Young
Grant Hughes returns to offer his insights each week on the teams and their seedings in the league. He opens the season ranking the OKC Thunder in 24th hitting them harder than his counterparts. The following is a portion of the excerpt from his notes on OKC. His full comments can be read via this link as well as the rest of his rankings.
The Thunder trounced the Dubs in a Sunday matinee, earning their first win of the season by a final of 120-92 behind a team-high 22 points from Dennis Schroder. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led OKC with 28 and 26 points in their back-to-back losses to start the season, and he topped everyone with nine rebounds against Golden State.
Sports Illustrated – The Crossover
Michael Shapiro replaces Khadrice Rollins for the first week of power rankings on Sports Illustrated. His seeding of the OKC Thunder is in line with his peers as he places them 18th. His full ranking can be viewed here.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander may be ready for the keys to Oklahoma City’s offense sooner than expected. The 21-year-old point guard is emerging into a dynamic scorer in his second season after an impressive defensive year as a rookie. SGA looks like the jewel of the Paul George trade.
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Phil Watson takes over from Gerald Bourguet offering his in-depth knowledge and insights to the power rankings. In week one Watson places the OKC Thunder 15th (the highest entry of the pundits). The following excerpt is a portion of Watson’s insights, the rest can be viewed by clicking this link.
The Oklahoma City Thunder got well in a hurry against Golden State on Sunday, hanging 120 points up after being held to 95 and 85 respectively through their first two games. Their two additions from the LA Clippers are leading the way, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander averaging 24.3 points per game and Danilo Gallinari chipping in with 20.0 a night.
Colin Ward-Henninger replaces writer Reid Forgrave for CBS Sports power rankings placing the OKC Thunder 19th. His full power ranking can be viewed via this link.
Normally a win over the Warriors would be impressive, but they’re suddenly looking like the worst team in the NBA. But it was good for the Thunder get in the win column regardless. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is already looking like a star, so the chemistry between him and Chris Paul will go a long way to determining OKC’s success this season. They were all over the place in the first week (close loss to Utah, inexplicable home loss to Washington), but they’ll likely settle into some consistency soon.
That wraps up week one power rankings for the main sites with Thunderous Intentions posting ours tomorrow. The OKC Thunder were placed primarily in the lower section of the middle tier with a high of 15th and a low of 24th.
Make sure to check back to see how TI ranks all the teams and where the OKC Thunder is seeded in our opinion.