With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, the league is buzzing about the blockbuster trade that witnessed former OKC Thunder star James Harden getting traded to Philly and the Ben Simmons saga finally drawing to a close.
Now as each player ramps up to play with their new teams we’ll discover how serious the hand and hamstring injuries were for Harden and how long it will take Simmons to feel comfortable physically and mentally to make his return to the hardwood.
It’s also the final week, or rather a partial week as teams embark on the All-Star break. With that, the majority of clubs will play two games with a minority playing only one and a few playing three matches.
Where National sites seed OKC Thunder in week 17 power rankings
After posting three wins in a row it was back to the losing column and week 17 offered a busy week with four matches. The OKC Thunder hosted the Warriors and Raptors then traveled to Philly and Chicago. Unfortunately, all four contests resulted in losses and a new losing streak of five in a row.
Let’s see how that impacted the national site’s ranking of the team.
OKC Thunder power ranking – NBA.com:
For week 17 the stats master marvels at the Thunder defense noting how well they performed while still going winless. He also dives back into Darius Bazley and his defensive prowess.
A portion of his excerpt about how the Thunder fared this week and stats on Bazley is below. To view the full excerpt on the Thunder and the rest of his week 17 power rankings click here.
As for placement, John Schumann ranks OKC 27th the same as the previous week.
"The Thunder have climbed to ninth in defensive efficiency, having held the Sixers and Bulls (who had scored 122.3 per 100 over their previous 10 games) to just 102.5 points per 100 possessions over the weekend. —Darius Bazley is emerging as another good defender to add to the Thunder’s collection and remains one of two players (Robert Williams III is the other) that have played at least 500 minutes with more blocks (59) than personal fouls (50). He did commit one foul on a DeRozan pump fake on Saturday, but also blocked two of the All-Star’s jumpers. Over their last eight games, the Thunder have allowed 12.1 fewer points per 100 possessions in Bazley’s 265 minutes on the floor (100.7) than they have in his 124 minutes on the bench (112.8)."
Another week in the books and yet again the panel ranks the OKC Thunder 27th in the power rankings.
This time Tim MacMahon waxes about developmental project Aleksej Pokusevski and his visible signs of growth.
"Aleksej Pokusevski, the skinny, 7-foot developmental project the Thunder picked in the first round of the 2020 draft, has shown signs of growth since spending most of last month in the G League. He averaged 13.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in his past four games, shooting 61.8% from the floor and 50% from 3-point range. — MacMahon"
CBS Sports writer Colin Ward-Henninger was a week behind the other sites regarding Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s ankle sprain and noted the loss of offense with his absence.
As such CWH drops the Thunder one spot to 27th this week. For Ward-Henninger’s full week 17 power rankings click here.
"The Thunder ran their winning streak to three games with a victory over Portland to start the week, but they lost their next three to the Kings, Warriors and Raptors. Offense has been a struggle without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leading the charge, with Lu Dort stepping in as the primary scorer, averaging 21 points this week on almost 10 3-point attempts per game. Josh Giddey has taken over most of the playmaking responsibility, putting up 17.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and six assists per game this week."
In week 17, Bleacher Report writer holds the OKC Thunder steady at 26th citing the impressive showing of Josh Giddey while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was sidelined with the ankle injury.
A portion of his Thunder segment is below and you can view his full week 17 power rankings via this link.
"When Shai Gilgeous-Alexander left the lineup with an ankle injury, it seemed like the Oklahoma City Thunder’s tank would hit cruise control, but rookie Josh Giddey made that difficult.OKC won its first three games of this SGA absence, and one of those was on the road against the Dallas Mavericks. The Thunder followed up that little run with three straight losses, but they’ve reminded again that there’s plenty of fight in this group.During these past six games without Gilgeous-Alexander, Giddey has averaged 16.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists. In the same stretch, Luguentz Dort is putting up 22.4 points."
In week 17 the national sites predominantly ranked the team 27th with one placement in 26th.
Next week the OKC Thunder will finish the three-game road trip at the Mecca playing the Knicks at MSG then return home to host the Spurs before they head into the All-Star break with Josh Giddey set to participate in several events in Cleveland.