Grading OKC Thunder Players for their December Performances

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images) /
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Tre Mann
Tre Mann #23 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Key Reserves for the OKC Thunder

. G. Oklahoma City Thunder. ISAIAH JOE. A-

Joe’s minutes per game jumped from 10 in November to 17 in December, and his production increased appropriately. He averaged eight points, two rebounds, and one assist per game while posting an offensive rating of 121 and a true shooting percentage of 67. He continues to torch the nets from downtown, making 46 percent of his three-point attempts in December while shooting nearly five per game. His usage rating was lower in December than it was in October and November, but that likely reflects more time spent on the court alongside other high-usage OKC Thunder players such as SGA and Josh Giddey. It also shows that he’s falling into a role that he’s comfortable with. Joe’s offense isn’t his only contribution, either.

He’s averaging one steal per game to go with a defensive rating of 112 dropped six points from his November rating of 118. Joe saw more than twenty minutes of game action three times in December, and it will be interesting to see if that number increases in January.

Oklahoma City Thunder. AARON WIGGINS. B+. . G

The Thunder are still undefeated in games when Aaron Wiggins starts, although he only started one game during the month of December. Perhaps that number increases with the number of injuries the OKC Thunder is currently dealing with. Wiggins saw a modest bump in playing time this past month and responded by averaging six points and four rebounds per game.

His offensive rating dropped from 124 in November to 102 in December, but it was going to be tough for him to match his 52 percent field goal shooting and his 45 percent three-point average from the month prior. He turned the ball over more often over the past month than he has earlier in the season, but he’s also been a beast on the offensive boards, averaging at least one offensive rebound per game. His usage percentage jumped from 13 in November to nearly 17 in December. Will it rise again in January?

C. . G. Oklahoma City Thunder. TRE MANN

It’s almost unfair to talk about the month of December as a whole for Tre Mann. It’s probably better to look at his stats before and after his brief stop in the G-League, where he averaged 38 points per game in two appearances. Mann played eight games in December before his G-League assignment and averaged 5 points per game while shooting 35 percent from the field and 29 percent from three. Since returning from his time with the OKC Blue, Tre is shooting 36 percent from the field and 33 percent from three while scoring 12 points per game.

The OKC Thunder would like for those numbers to be higher, but it’s still nice to see that he’s getting some of his confidence back (as evidenced by his poster dunk during the first quarter of last week’s game against the Charlotte Hornets). He’s starting to look more like the player who shot 36 percent from three on five attempts per game during his rookie season. Hopefully, he can carry this confidence into the new calendar year.

KENRICH WILLIAMS. A. . G/F. Oklahoma City Thunder

Kenrich Williams played on December 3rd against the Timberwolves before missing the next six games with a right knee sprain. He returned on December 17th against Memphis and has been active for each game since. He’s quietly had a tremendous month, playing 24 minutes per game and averaging nine points, six rebounds, and two assists per contest.

His true shooting percentage has jumped from 57 percent in November to 64 percent in December while making 57 percent of his field goal attempts and 40 percent of his three-point tries. He’s posting an offensive rating (134) nine points higher than what he showed in November even while increasing his usage by nearly two percentage points from the month prior. He’s doing all of this while coming off the bench and should continue to lead the OKC Thunder’s reserve unit as long as he’s able to stay healthy.

A. . F/C. Oklahoma City Thunder. MIKE MUSCALA

Muscala has seen his role increase in the absence of Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Ousmane Dieng. He’ll see even more game action now that Aleksej Pokusevski will miss the next six to eight weeks with a non-displaced tibial fracture. In December, Muscala averaged six points and three rebounds while playing 15 minutes per game. His offensive rating of 130 jumps off the page, reflecting what he can do whenever he sees game action. His true shooting percentage of 61 is helped by his 42 percent three-point shooting on three attempts per game.

Muscala is the oldest player on the OKC Thunder and has a team option for next season. It will be interesting to see how much playing time he gets if the Thunder falls out of the play-in race and choose to focus more on the development of their young players.

D. . F. Oklahoma City Thunder. DARIUS BAZLEY

Darius Bazley is in an incredibly interesting position for the OKC Thunder. He’s a restricted free agent after this season. He played more than twenty minutes in three games over the past month, including his lone start against the Heat on December 14th when he played nearly 31 minutes. He also did not play based on a coach’s decision in four games when he was healthy.

He averaged six points and three rebounds during 19 minutes per game in seven games when he made an appearance. There are minutes to be had right now while the Thunder are without multiple frontcourt players. It remains to be seen whether or not Bazley will get a chance to earn extended playing time.