OKC Thunder plummet in week 20 NBA Power Rankings

OKC Thunder forward Jalen Williams (8) Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
OKC Thunder forward Jalen Williams (8) Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /

A little behind on the posting but here are the listings for the  OKC Thunder in week 20 of the NBA power rankings. It was a rough showing for the youngsters returning from the break to lose all three games versus the Jazz, Suns, and Kings.

OKC began the week with a 28-29 record and finished with a 28-32 record.

Statistically, even though they stumbled in the win/loss column the OKC Thunder maintained most of their statistics. To wit, they rank third in pace, 13th offensively, and surprisingly climbed one rung to 10th on defense as well as in net differential (10th).

Where National sites seed OKC Thunder in week 20 power rankings

OKC Thunder power ranking – NBA.com:

With a rough week John Schuhmann dropped the Thunder three spots to 21st overall. The stats master touches on the decline experienced on defense the last two seasons and hints that perhaps this is part of the tanking strategy.

A portion of his OKC Thunder excerpt is below, to see the full OKC segment along with Schuhmann’s full week 20 rankings click here.

"But the losses to the Suns and Kings were the second time this season that the Thunder’s top-10 defense allowed two straight opponents to score more than 120 points per 100 possessions. And if that has the whiff of something familiar, it’s because last season, the Thunder ranked eighth defensively before the All-Star break and 28th after it. Two seasons ago, they ranked 10th defensively before the break and 29th after it.Time will tell if there’s a similarly dramatic drop-off this season. Only six of the 16 games in which they’ve allowed 118 or more points per 100 possessions have come at home, and the loss to the Kings on Sunday was the start of a six-game homestand. But the Thunder do have another three games against top-five offenses (those of the Kings and Jazz) this week."

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. The panel this season is comprised of Kendra Andrews, Tim Bontemps, Jamal Collier, Nick Friedell, Andrew Lopez, and Kevin Pelton.

The panel returned to offer power rankings this week after taking the post All-Star Break week off and dropped the youngsters four spots from 19th to 23rd.

Click here for the full listings.

"Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has missed the Thunder’s past three games with what the team  now calling an abdominal strain, and Oklahoma City’s record has gone down with him. The Thunder have now lost four in a row after losing to Sacramento on Monday and slipped to 13th in the Western Conference playoff standings. — Lopez"

Bleacher Report

Writer Andy Bailey hit the OKC Thunder in his ratings this week dropping them from 17th to 23rd (OUCH).  The more telling commentary is he (like Schuhmann) is hinting the team is purposely tanking. Specifically, he cites SGA’s injuries noting the team is being ‘conservative’ with him.

Bailey’s Thunder excerpt follows and the full article can be viewed by clicking here.

"Shai Gilgeous-Alexander played in the All-Star game and then dropped 39 in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first game after the break, but he’s been out for the four games since then with ankle-, abdominal- and health and safety protocol-related absences.And while there’s no reason to doubt the veracity of those injuries and the reporting on them, it’s starting to feel very much like “conservative injury timeline” season.OKC has already blown past its preseason over-under and has been in range of the play-in tournament all season, but they’re also just three losses from a 10.5 percent chance at the No. 1 pick in the draft.And going 0-4 in this current SGA absence has to tempt the front office to lean into the lottery odds."

CBS Sports

Writer Colin Ward-Henninger always bases his rankings on the week in question so it’s not surprising the Thunder took a hit this week.

That said, dropping them NINE spots was a tough hit. They sit 27th this week on Ward-Henninger’s list after a high of 16th in his last posting.

CWH’s full power ranking can be viewed here.

"OKC lost four games this week, the last two coming without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander due to an ankle injury. Feel-good story Isaiah Joe went off for a career-high 28 points in a valiant effort against Phoenix on Friday."

Weekly Power Rankings:

For those that want to see how the OKC Thunder have progressed this season or to look back at a specific week, the following offers the links breaking down where the OKC Thunder ranked the past five weeks (those wanting to view prior weeks need only open one of the post links below)…

Up next…

Power Rankings for week 21 examine the OKC Thunder games from a full slate of four games including the Kings, Lakers, and two versus the Jazz.

Next. A cautionary tale for the OKC Thunder and developing teams. dark