Where National NBA pundits rank OKC Thunder in week 17

OKC Thunder's Chris Paul #3 strips the ball from Gary Harris #14 of the Denver Nuggets (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder's Chris Paul #3 strips the ball from Gary Harris #14 of the Denver Nuggets (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

At this juncture, every team just wants to reach the break healthy. With that, TI dives into pundit NBA power rankings for the OKC Thunder in week 17.

This week is circled on players and coaches calendars as they plan their getaways and finally get time to downshift to rest their minds and aching bodies. The OKC Thunder reached this week needing a rest after the horrific January schedule.

Although they got a few days off to start the month 17 games played in January took a toll. Sure, the Thunder defeated the Pelicans but that win maybe more than the loss to the Spurs highlighted just how tired the players are.

They call it the dog days of winter which it is. Yet, perhaps the reason for the moniker is at this stage in the season the players’ minds need a rest and some vitamin D.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chris Paul made their way to Chicago to represent the OKC Thunder in the Rising Stars Game, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, and the All-Star Game. Both made the city and franchise proud. Following the short two games on this week in the schedule, the rest of the team will be off almost a full week to get some much needed R and R.

They’ll return rested, healthy and ready for the stretch run.

With that let’s dive into where the top sites ranked the OKC Thunder in week 17.

NBA.com – John Schuhmann:

The man with the best stats in the business is buying OKC Thunder stock holding them in his top 10 with a placement of ninth in week 17.

This week Schuhmann offers some interesting stats with a focus on the Thunder offense and specifically notes some shifts in Danilo Gallinari‘s numbers this season versus previous years.

Here’s a portion of his excerpt from this week …

"Though they completely changed their identity with two of the three biggest trades of last summer and have been much better in close games, the Thunder are one of three teams – the Pacers and Sixers are the others – that come out of the All-Star break on pace to finish with the same number of wins as they had last season (49)."

To read the rest of the above excerpt by Schuhmann and the entirety of his power ranking list click on the following link.

ESPN – Panel

ESPN’s panel: ESPN: Tim MacMahon |Andre’ Snellings | Royce Young | Bobby Marks, The Undefeated: Marc J. Spears

The Panel elected to hold the Thunder in the same spot (13th) for weeks. Last week they finally hit the top 10 and they remain in this spot in week 17.

After Chris Paul’s performance in the All-Star Game, the panel may even be buying stock on the Thunder.

Click this link for the full panel rankings and the rest of the excerpt.

"Making the playoffs appeared a long shot before the season began, but the Thunder are all but guaranteed at this point (FiveThirtyEight puts OKC at a 99% chance to make the playoffs). Now, they can get greedy. They currently sit at sixth in the West and are 2½ games back of the Rockets (with the tiebreaker) for fifth. It may seem unlikely, but the Thunder have been playing at a high level for three months. They went into the All-Star break winning their eighth consecutive road game, tying a franchise record. — Young"

Bleacher Report:

After two weeks of rewarding the Thunder writer, Grant Hughes dropped the Thunder to ninth. Partly because other teams entered the break with better results and partly because of some defensive lapses noted in recent games.

Hughes details where some of the issues lie and why they could pose issues entering the postseason but don’t let me spoil his insights.

A portion of his excerpt is noted below and you can catch the rest along with Hughe’s full rankings by clicking this link.

"An offense largely reliant on foul-drawing could also present problems in the playoffs. We’ve seen officials appear less inclined to reward contact-seeking behavior in the postseason, and opponents with time to scout are better at avoiding sucker fouls.Then again, Chris Paul’s rip-through move will probably still be working when he’s 50."

Sports Illustrated – The Crossover

Michael Shapiro serves up the weekly power ranking for Sports Illustrated – The Crossover. Last week he ranked them 13th but as of this posting, this week’s power ranking wasn’t available.

Hoops Habit:

Writer Phil Watson of Hoops Habit keeps the OKC Thunder in 12th after moving them up to that position two weeks ago.

Watson reviews the remaining scheduling noting the difficulty of opponents left on the itinerary and where the team ranks in position to the teams ahead and those chasing for the playoff seeds.

For the full excerpt and the rest of Watson’s rankings click this link.

"Along with the Memphis Grizzlies, the Oklahoma City Thunder are the biggest surprises of the NBA’s first half. We had the Thunder — who traded away superstars Russell Westbrook and Paul George last summer — at No. 20 in the preseason NBA Power Rankings, but OKC has been terrific (28-12) after a 5-10 start.The Thunder still have some work to do — with 27 games to go, their remaining schedule strength of .512 is the 13th most-difficult in the NBA, according to Tankathon."

CBS Sports:

More from Thunder News

Writer Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports holds the team steady in 11th after moving them up two spots a week ago.

He notes the ongoing battle for playoff seeding and how the club elected to retain specific players through the deadline.

For Ward-Henniger’s full power ranking list click this link.

"The Thunder lost to the Spurs at home before beating the Pelicans on the road this week, and they now have the same record as the Mavericks and are just two games behind the Rockets in the loss column. They elected to hang onto Danilo Gallinari and Dennis Schroder at the trade deadine, which should make them a dangerous playoff team."

Thunderous Intentions:

Although TI has often led the pundits with the high mark for the club this week they dropped a few spots based on the two games played. That’s not to say they won’t climb a few rungs when they return from the break but I put more emphasis on the net differential this week and bad losses.

That said, the Thunder remains in my upper echelon with a ranking of 10th.

For the full Thunderous Intentions, power ranking, click this link of the blue box below.

"The OKC Thunder learned a valuable lesson this week. For as much as the clutch time prowess is something the team excels at and can pull out of their back pocket – similarly, it’s not something they should always rely on.Heading into the stretch run it’s important OKC find a way to adjust their scoring to be more evenly distributed over the four quarters. This is especially true at the start of the game and coming back from the halftime break."

That wraps up this week’s column for where the pundits ranked the OKC Thunder in week 17. The club’s high rank was ninth and the lowest rank is 12th.

Next. NBA Power Rankings week 17: Break time. dark

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