Power Rankings: OKC Thunder rejoin parity pack in week 8

OKC Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) drives against Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid (11) Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
OKC Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) drives against Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid (11) Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

The OKC Thunder rebounded this week collecting two wins against the Spurs and Wolves while they lost to the red-hot Pelicans.

Their record is inching closer to .500 again (10-13). That said, the team is struggling a bit having dropped in their offensive rating to 21st overall and sitting at 18th in defensive rating. OKC has the 20th-ranked net differential and runs the fifth-fastest pace.

Where National sites seed OKC Thunder in week 8 power rankings

OKC Thunder power ranking – NBA.com:

This week John Schuhmann offers up some individual stats for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, gushes (statistically) about rookie Jalen Williams, highlights an issue with JRE and even drops in some love for Kenrich Williams.

The stats master ranks the OKC Thunder 22nd this week. A portion of Schuhmann’s OKC Thunder excerpt is below and you can view the rest plus his full rankings here.

"The Thunder got a win without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on Wednesday, mostly because they were playing the Spurs, but also because Jalen Williams filled in well for Gilgeous-Alexander. Williams scored a career-high 27 points on 11-for-15 shooting and then, with Gilgeous-Alexander back, gave the Thunder some good minutes off the bench in another win in Minnesota on Saturday. His effective field goal percentage of 57.5% ranks third among 13 rookies with at least 100 field goal attempts, and while he was 3-for-4 from 3-point range in the two wins, his finishing inside has been the most impressive aspect of his game. Williams’ 64.8% in the paint would be the fifth best mark for a shorter-than-6-foot-8 rookie with at least 75 attempts in the paint over the 27 seasons for which we have shot-location data."

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 consists of Kendra Andrews, Tim Bontemps, Jamal Collier, Nick Friedell, Andrew Lopez, and Kevin Pelton.

One week after dropping the OKC Thunder to 25th the panel raises them back up to 24th and the position they’ve been in on the ESPN weekly Power Rankings five of the eight weeks this season.

"Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is showing no signs of slowing down as the NBA season enters December. In a 121-114 win against the Hawks on Monday, Gilgeous-Alexander had 35 points and was 15-of-15 from the line. It was his seventh consecutive 30-point game, the most by a Thunder player since Russell Westbrook had eight in a row in 2016. The only player in franchise history with more consecutive 30-point games is Kevin Durant, who had 12 in a row in 2014 and nine in a row in 2010 (spanning the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons). — Lopez"

For the full ESPN preseason listing, click here.

CBS Sports

In week eight Colin Ward-Heninger raises the OKC Thunder three spots from 26th up to 23rd.

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

"The offensive juggernaut OKC Thunder put up 256 total points in wins over the Wolves and Hawks to start the week before running out of gas in a loss to the Grizzlies on Wednesday. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continues to score at will, averaging 31 points this week despite shooting just 22 percent from 3-point range. His young backcourt mate Josh Giddey was also excellent, putting up 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists per game on 50 percent 3-point shooting."

As a bonus this week, Colin Ward-Henninger offered first-quarter grades for all 30 teams. The OKC Thunder garnered an impressive B+ from the CBS scribe…

"The Thunder are consistently competitive and have an absolute star in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is playing like an honest-to-god MVP. Factor nothing else in, and that’s already a big win through the first quarter of the season for a team still almost entirely focused on the future. Jalen Williams looks super promising. Josh Giddey has played well. Lu Dort is still a defensive stud, though his shooting is not good and his shot selection can be worse (these determined drives to the basket were fun when it was all part of his development, but he could stand to chill a little). With Chet Holmgren sitting in storage alongside a slew of draft picks, the Thunder are growing ever closer to making their big move. In the meantime, they’re on pace to blow away last season’s 24-win total."

To view all his grades click here.

Bleacher Report

In week eight Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report veers off staning on SGA to talk Josh Giddey (albeit it’s not good news he’s spouting).

This week Bailey ranks the OKC Thunder 25th and you can view his power rankings for this week in their entirety by clicking here.

"Most of the attention paid to the Oklahoma City Thunder this season has come by way of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. That might be sparing others on the roster.One who may not mind the lack of a spotlight is Josh Giddey. His scoring average and shooting averages are up slightly from his rookie season, but not enough to overcome the decline in assist percentage and defensive effectiveness.Last season, OKC’s net rating was 0.5 points worse when Giddey was on the floor. In 2022-23, his swing is a ghastly minus-16.5."

The OKC Thunder will continue their five-game road trip next week with stops in Atlanta (Hawks), Memphis (Grizzlies), and Cleveland (Cavaliers) all teams with records over .500 currently.

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