Power Rankings: OKC Thunder finds synergy in week 6

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder enters week six with an offensive and defensive rating of 18th. Seriously stop and think about that fact for a second. In a year where almost all the teams are congregated in the middle, the Thunder are one of the teams who’ve performed well enough on both sides of the court to be included in that range.

While no team ever strides to be middling, the fact the OKC Thunder who had the absolute worst offense last season is ranking near the middle of the pack is already displaying growth and the benefit of the core playing together to gain constancy.

Although it was a 1-2 week with a single win versus the Wizards and losses to the Celtics and Grizzlies there were ample positive takeaways to reflect back upon.

For example, the Celtics had to FIGHT for that win and they’ve been by far the best team in the association this season. The game-winner by SGA against the Wizards may have surprised those outside OKC but, yeah we knew he was HIM!

Where National sites seed OKC Thunder in week 6 power rankings

OKC Thunder power ranking – NBA.com:

NBA writer John Schuhmann is still buzzing about the performance of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander after an impressive weekend and that step-back 3-point game-winner against the Wizards.

He places the OKC Thunder in 19th this week.

A portion of Schuhmann’s OKC Thunder excerpt is below and you can view the rest plus his full rankings here.

"After that amazing weekend where it went off against the Raptors and Knicks, the Thunder offense kept it going last week. And they got a win in Washington on Wednesday, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s game-winning, step-back 3-pointer capping his 42-point performance and a five-game stretch where the Thunder scored 119.6 points per 100 possessions, 2.4 more than they scored in any five-game stretch last season. That wasn’t the only 3 Gilgeous-Alexander (who had been doing almost all of his damage inside the arc) made over that stretch, and some of his teammates were also shooting well from beyond the arc."

ESPN Panel:

Every year ESPN comprises a panel of writers who offer up the excerpts on the teams and vote on where the teams rank weekly. This season the panel is comprised of Kendra Andrews, Tim Bontemps, Jamal Collier, Nick Friedell, Andrew Lopez, and Kevin Pelton.

The panel seems intent on holding the OKC Thunder status quo as yet again they place the squad in 24th on their weekly power rankings list – – the fourth consecutive week they’ve put them here.

"In last Wednesday’s game against the Washington Wizards, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left. It was the fourth tying or go-ahead 3-pointer he has hit in the final five seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime in the past two seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. That’s twice as many as any other player during that span. Another Stats & Info nugget: Gilgeous-Alexander became the second player to record 10 games of 30 points and 50% shooting in his first 14 games of the season — joining Wilt Chamberlain, who did it in 1962-63. — Lopez"

For the full ESPN preseason listing, click here.

CBS Sports

Week six CBS writer Colin Ward-Heninger dropped the OKC Thunder five spots from 22nd to 27th. With the team no longer feasting offensively and struggling defensively this fall was expected.

To view his entire week five power rankings, click here.

"Defense was nowhere to be found this week for OKC, which dropped games to the Grizzlies, Knicks and Nuggets (in OT). Shai Gilgeous-Alexander put up his usual gaudy numbers with 25.3 points, eight assists and six rebounds per game this week, but he shot just 38 percent from the field. Josh Giddey averaged 16.7 points and eight assists, while Lu Dort put up 15.3 points per game on 46 percent 3-point shooting."

Bleacher Report

Although they aren’t weekly contributions the musings of Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report always have some great insight into the teams.

In his most recent post, he places the OKC Thunder 24th and waxes poetic about Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The insights on SGA are so impressive I’ve included his entire excerpt but you can view the full power rankings article here.

"Forget an All-Star selection. If Shai Gilgeous-Alexander keeps this up, he’s going to get some All-NBA consideration.On Wednesday, he went off for 42 points on 14-of-21 shooting in a win over the Washington Wizards. And oh, it wouldn’t have been a win without this.SGA is now averaging 32.3 points, 5.9 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.4 blocks. And while those numbers are bonkers enough on their own, they don’t quite do his season justice.In an era dominated by three-point shooting, Gilgeous-Alexander is annihilating his competition by playing more like a ’90s shooting guard (specifically, one you have to be real careful about comparing players to).SGA leads the NBA in total twos made. The only players to top his average of 10.6 in the last 30 years are Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber and Hakeem Olajuwon. In 1997-98, Michael Jordan averaged 10.4 (he cleared 13 in seasons prior to the 30-year sample in question)."

Moving into week six the OKC Thunder play four games hosting the Knicks, Nuggets, and Bulls then finish the week in Houston playing the Rockets.

Next. NBA Power Rankings week 5. dark