Through the first 20 games of action in 2020-21, the OKC Thunder have surprised many.
While they were widely viewed as a top contender to boast the worst record in the NBA by year’s end coming into the season, Oklahoma City is in possession of a 9-11 record, have constantly been revolving in and out of the postseason picture in the Western Conference standings, and are fresh off an impressive blowout victory against the Houston Rockets.
Interestingly enough, however, while they currently hold a better record than what they did at this point in the schedule last season, the Thunder still find themselves rolling out the worst lineup in the league, according to Bleacher Report.
The OKC Thunder have the worst lineup in the NBA
Based on writer Grant Hughes’ metrics, there is no worse five-man lineup than the one OKC thrusts onto the court consisting of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, George Hill, Luguentz Dort, Isaiah Roby, and Darius Bazley.
Hughes’ reasoning reads as follows
OKC only has to swap Al Horford in for Isaiah Roby to field a group with a positive net rating. A swing that massive is indicative of how easily these early-season numbers can change, but the Thunder have a good chance of retaining this crown. That’s because George Hill is out for a month after having a procedure on his thumb.
That minus-20.6 net rating won’t budge for at least four weeks. Of course, by the time we revisit this exercise, the Thunder’s worst lineup won’t have enough minutes to qualify.
For the curious, this lineup’s issues seem mostly size-related. It allows opponents to feast at the rim, hitting 77.6 percent of their attempts inside, and frequently fails to end possessions with defensive boards. Opponents grab their own misses more than a third of the time against the Thunder’s woeful fivesome.
Of course, teams also shoot 46.1 percent from deep against our “winner” of the league’s worst lineups. This group is highly versatile in its ineffectiveness.
For a rebuilding team such as the OKC Thunder, boasting such a lackadaisical lineup is not such a big deal, and the article made sure to start their reasoning off by saying exactly that.
No matter what the numbers may say, however, one fact remains — this 2020-21 Thunder squad has been fun to watch.