3 storylines to watch as OKC Thunder face Sacramento Kings for first time

OKC Thunder forward Jaylin Williams (6) and guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
OKC Thunder forward Jaylin Williams (6) and guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /
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OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder vs Sacramento Kings. Head coach Mike Brown reacts: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Offensive battle

Mike Brown will undoubtedly be among the names under consideration for Coach of the Year based on how he has the Kings functioning.

Consider the fact, the Kings haven’t been to the postseason in 16 years and Brown is the 11th coach this team has had at the helm over this time frame.

The veteran coach hasn’t just got the Kings playing competitive ball, he’s got his young roster playing to an identity and has reinforced the culture that seemed to be lacking for close to two decades.

Thunder fans aren’t used to missing the playoffs but imagine 16 years of lottery visits.

While Brown is doing his best to get the Kings to play on both sides of the court their calling card is their offense.

Sacramento possesses the top-ranked scoring averaging 119.9 points per game. Furthermore, they have the fourth-best efficiency rating from the perimeter shooting 36.7 percent. Rounding out the big three categories the Kings average 49.3 percent from the field which ranks 10th overall.

The Kings make the seventh most 3-pointers in the association (13.6 per game). Ball movement is a key to Brown’s offense with the Kings dishing 27 assists per match which ranks third overall.

Although, the OKC Thunder aren’t necessarily a team most would cite as offensive juggernauts they aren’t slouches in this area. They possess the seventh-best ranking for scoring averaging 117.0 points per game.

Their efficiency ranks more in the middle to lower end with OKC shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from the perimeter ranking 20th and 16th respectively.

OKC doesn’t move the ball quite as much as the Kings ranking 17th for assists per game. However, the recent success of the Thunder has witnessed leaps upward, particularly on the offensive end.

Case in point, during the last 15 games the Thunder is scoring the fourth most averaging 120.4 points per game (the Kings are first with 123.8 points).

While the Kings possess the more impressive offense again, isolating on the last 15 games the Thunder possess the better net rating with a plus +6.7 compared to the Kings’ plus +4.1.

OKC ranks fourth in this period versus the Kings who rank seventh. Ultimately that speaks to the Thunder having a better two-way effort.

And considering who the Thunder has played in comparison to the Kings that offers room to believe they could pull out the victory in Sacramento.

Perhaps the most surprising stat is it’s the Thunder, not the Kings who run the faster pace. This season OKC ranks second while Sacramento ranks sixth.