Chris Paul leads OKC Thunder in victory versus Pistons: grades

OKC Thunder: Chris Paul #3 and Dennis Schroder #17 of the OKC Thunder talk during the game against the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder: Chris Paul #3 and Dennis Schroder #17 of the OKC Thunder talk during the game against the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Christian Wood #35 of the Detroit Pistons shoots the ball against the OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

. PG. Oklahoma City Thunder. DENNIS SCHRODER. B+

I considered giving the nod to Nerlens Noel who had a sneaky good low key positive effort on the court in the victory. Noel registered seven points, six rebounds, an assist, two steals, and two blocks. He also led the team in plus/minus with a plus 16.

But Dennis Schroder gets the tap again for his 18 points, two rebounds and three assists. Mostly because of when the points came and for not forcing shots.

We wondered at TI if Schroder would be a player moving at the trade deadline but there was no rush since he’s still under contract next season and continues to mesh in the three point guard lineup.

Best Opponent:

. F. Detroit Pistons. CHRISTIAN WOOD. A+

Reggie Jackson returned to Oklahoma City and still seems to carry a bit of a chip on his shoulder over the team never feeling his upside was as high as the point guard felt it was. As it turns out — it wasn’t as he’s never fully been able to put things together in Detroit often being plagued by injury. And, sorry Reggie — but TI continues the trend of overlooking you for another youngster who exceeded your contributions in this match.

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Detroit doesn’t have a ton of developing young talents but Christian Wood has steadily grown and hasn’t reached his ceiling yet. His game is effortless and he checks off so many boxes. In this match he delivered a double-double of 27 points, 12 rebounds (half were on the offensive end!), five assists with a single turnover. He also led the Pistons in plus/minus with a plus 7.

His shooting was highly efficient with a slash line of 10 of 18 from the field, 3 of 6 from deep and 4 of 6 from the line.

We’ll have to keep an eye to see how things change as teams start to game plan specifically for the 24-year-old forward but in the games, I’ve watched this season Wood has looked sharp and rarely has issues breaking down his defender.

He’s not a player who’ll be your primary but certainly, his skill set is easily strong enough to be the secondary or tertiary scorer and as such is likely one of two or three Pistons who’ll be untouchable.

Well, I would’ve added Luke Kennard in that mix but heading into the deadline even Kennard was being shopped.

The 19-year-old Sekou Doumbouya is another intriguing youngster to keep an eye on.

Next. Power Rankings week 14: Thunder among the ‘road warriors’. dark

Next up for the OKC Thunder, they have a very big test as the Boston Celtics arrive in town for what is always a highly entertaining match. The game is a matinee that NBA TV will broadcast at 3:30 p.m. EST (2:30 CST). Only three more games are on the slate prior to the All-Star break – so the focus is on getting through these without any injuries.

To observe the full box score from the game, head over to this link courtesy of ESPN.