2013-14 Season: Oklahoma City Thunder weekly grades for December 22 - December 28

The Thunder went 2-1, but this past week will be more defined by the loss of Westbrook. Which players stepped up? Check out our weekly grades to find out!

If only this week were simply marred by a tired loss to the Raptors. Alas, we also had the news that Russell Westbrook has undergone a 3rd surgery on his knee and throws the Thunder's season into a great level of uncertainty. We take a look at how each player performed over this past week and look ahead for what they'll need to do in the weeks to come.

Game 1: Thunder see win streak snapped by Raptors, 104-98

Game 2: Thunder overwhelm free-falling Knicks on Christmas Day, 123-94

Game 3: Thunder hang on vs Bobcats, 89-85

***

Durant_medium

KEVIN DURANT Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 29.0 9.0 5.0 0.0 0.7 3.3 4.3
JUAN Grade_a_medium
Durant had a Christmas Day party in Madison Square Garden against the Knicks. He was clearly the best player on the court and when a team's game plan is to "stop" you like JR Smith said and you still drop thirty, you're a monster. Only thing that kept KD from an A+ game was the Raptors loss.
SHERMAN Grade_aminus_medium
The Raptors loss was ugly but Kevin Durant's work in New York and Charlotte were things of beauty. Durant has been on a tear on Christmas Day and gave the Knicks faithful a show that surpasses anything they've seen in their own colors. On top of that, Durant had another one of those 4th quarters in holding off the Bobcats.

Westbrook_medium

RUSSELL WESTBROOK Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 2 20.5 11.0 7.5 0.5 1.5 3.5 5.5
JUAN Grade_aminus_medium Russell Westbrook joined Kevin Durant in the MSG dominance of the Knicks on Christmas Day. He recorded a triple-double and was really good. He let the game come to him and when the Knicks were gasping for air, he laid the knockout punches. The Raptors loss was a bad one, but nothing is worse than losing Russell to an injury.
SHERMAN Grade_bplus_medium
Russell Westbrook did bear some of the responsibility in the Raptors loss, but redeemed himself in NY by throwing down a triple-double in less than 3 quarters of play. Russ just averaged double-digit rebounds as a 6'3" PG. Think about that. The way he can compromise nearly any defense with his scoring, rebounding, and passing can only be replicated by his own teammate Durant and LeBron James, and we saw on Friday how precipitous the dropoff is when his play is absent.
Sefolosha_medium

THABO SEFOLOSHA Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 6.7 3.0 2.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 7.7
JUAN Grade_aminus_medium Thabo Sefolosha is starting to get in mid-season form. He had a decent week offensively and the team may need him to score a little more with the absence of Westbrook.
SHERMAN Grade_aminus_medium
Thabo Sefolosha has been working toward a breakout kind of game, and while he's never going to be confused for Westbrook, he is finally putting together a string of games that we have been waiting for. He averaged less than 4 shots per game this past week, and I suspect those numbers will go up in the weeks to come. Can Thabo continue the same kind of production? The answer to this question will be key.

Ibaka_medium

SERGE IBAKA Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 15.0 6.0 1.3 2.0 0.7 1.3 1.3
JUAN Grade_bplus_medium Serge Ibaka continues his effective play this week as he shoots a high percentage yet again. He needs to rebound the ball a little better, but his shot blocking and rim protection as a whole has been very good. He's also become a legit threat from behind the arc, although, he shouldn't be there all the time.
SHERMAN Grade_bplus_medium
Serge Ibaka's shooting percentages popped up again this past week, shooting 64.5% from the floor, and his point production remained high. Two things that trouble me though are his number of rebounds per game dropped (possibly b/c Russ was grabbing all of them) and he is getting to the FT line less than 2 times per game. Granted most of his offense comes off of jump shots, but even so, Ibaka has to be also looking to finish at the rim, and the FT's should rise as well.
Perk_medium

KENDRICK PERKINS Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 1.3 5.7 0.7 0.3 0.7 1.7 3.7
JUAN Grade_bplus_medium Kendrick Perkins is very limited offensively, but he's been doing other things to help the team. He even got into a couple arguments with Amar'e Stoudemire. That toughness and grit helps everyone on the roster become more confident. Perk has been very solid so far this season.
SHERMAN Grade_b_medium
Kendrick Perkins had a weird week where he averaged less than a basket a game, more turnovers than points, and yet he was still critical in the Thunder's win over the Bobcats. The area that troubles me so is the fact that he's still turning the ball over so much despite rarely handling it. OKC needs to keep Perk setting screens and firing back-door passes, not trying to catch the ball in the post.

Jackson_medium

REGGIE JACKSON Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 11.3 4.0 3.3 0.0 1.0 2.0 8.3
JUAN Grade_c_medium
Reggie Jackson didn't have one of his best weeks, but these weeks that follow are going to be crucial. With the loss of Westbrook, all eyes will be on the emerging Jackson to fill that slot yet again. I personally don't think thats fair, but it comes with the territory. If Jackson plays at a high level, his stock in the open market will go way high, if not, it will hurt the Thunder in the standings. Big weeks coming up for Jackson and the Thunder.
SHERMAN Grade_cminus_medium
Reggie Jackson recently commented that he sees himself as a starter in the NBA. Well, being a starter, or playing starter-level minutes, comes with a cost. The cost is that with expectations comes criticism, and there is plenty of it this past week. Jackson saw his shooting percentage slump to 23.9% from the floor and a slightly better 25% from 3-point range (while taking over 5 of those 3's per game). This, simply, will not do. Jackson needs to get back to better shot selection than trusting in his mercurial ability to hit weird shots.
Lamb_medium
JEREMY LAMB Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 10.0 1.7 1.3 0.3 1.0 0.7 0.0
JUAN Grade_b_medium Here is someone that isn't new to having the expectation to replace a high-profiled player, but Jeremy Lamb will have to be a little better than he was this week now with the loss of Westbrook. The second-unit is his show now that Reggie Jackson is in the starting lineup. We'll see how that goes.
SHERMAN Grade_b_medium
Jeremy Lamb had a solid if unspectacular week. His most important attribute at the time, his 3-point shooting, slumped a bit, but his overall shooting percentage continues to solidify.  He is now near 50% from the floor and he's taking good shots within the offense. I can't shake the feeling that his percentages will actually rise in the future because the shots he takes are so good. He is now going to be the top dog off the bench in Westbrook's absence, and I have hopes for him because of his control in the game.

Adams_medium

STEVEN ADAMS Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 3.7 3.3 1.0 1.0 0.0 0.3 5.3
JUAN Grade_c_medium Steven Adams has been the fan favorite since the first day of training camp, mostly because they wanted him to replace Kendrick Perkins, but that hasn't been the case and it likely won't be until maybe next season. Adams is a really solid player and he's had a really good rookie season, but 3 points per game and 3 rebounds is pretty much what we should expect from him until he gets more experience.
SHERMAN Grade_b_medium Steven Adams' numbers haven't changed much from week to week, and that can be seen as both a positive and a negative. In the negative sense, I think all Thunder fans were hoping that he would have outpaced Perkins by now, especially on the offensive end. It hasn't quite happened yet. The positive thing though, and the important thing, is that Adams has really helped solidify the bench unit's overall defense while cutting down on his turnovers. In fact, Adams' play has been so consistent that he's actually earning Rookie of the Year consideration.
Collison_medium

NICK COLLISON Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 4.3 3.3 2.3 0.7 0.3 0.3 6.7
JUAN Grade_b_medium Another solid week for Nick Collison, but now he'll have to carry a little bit of the load with Jeremy Lamb and the second-unit. He's a winning player, so he'll figure it out.
SHERMAN Grade_b_medium Nick Collison maintained his consistently consistent level of consistency this past week, once again acting as one of the team's best +/- superstars. A lot is expected of him over the past weeks, but more will be expected in the future. Collison will have to become more involved in the bench offense in order to prevent their 2nd unit from dropping off drastically.

Fisher_medium

DEREK FISHER Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 4.3 1.7 0.3 0.0 0.0 1.0 3.7
JUAN Grade_cplus_medium
Let me start off by saying that with the Christmas Day shirts, Derek Fisher looks like a body builder and his play this week wasn't too weak, either. Fisher will have an increase of minutes with Westbrook out and he's always stayed ready so it shouldn't be much of a problem.
SHERMAN Grade_b_medium
Derek Fisher did not have a bad week this past week, despite seeing an uptick in his minutes per game. Of course, that's not what we're really worried about. What we're really concerned with is what is going to happen to Fish when he gets an additional 5 minutes per game and the offense looks to him to hit shots. Derek Fisher, man. Is there any way we can get the Spurs on the schedule for an additional 10-15 times?

Jones_medium

PERRY JONES III Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 2.7 1.3 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0
JUAN Grade_d_medium Like Sherman will state on the comment below me, Perry Jones just has to produce when he gets the chance. His defense hasn't been bad, but he needs to start attacking the rim and catching lobs to go with the defense.
SHERMAN Grade_d_medium
All things considered, even with Coach Brooks saying that PJIII is his potential utility defender, Perry Jones needs to figure out ways to produce when he gets the minutes. He got on average 10 minutes per contest, yet his production was strangely low. Specifically, in 10 minutes of play against the Bobcats, Jones managed to record a 10 trillion in the box score. He's got more to offer than that.

Roberson_medium

ANDRE ROBERSON Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 1 4.0 2.0 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0
JUAN Grade_c_medium Andre Roberson lives to see another week with the Thunder instead of getting sent down to the D-League, but he'll likely be used more in the next week against some better perimeter players. He's going to have to capitalize on the opportunity because a bad showing will probably get him sent back to Tulsa.
SHERMAN Grade_d_medium If defense is the new name of the game, then Andre Roberson should be in the mix. The Thunder need to dispense with thinking about outscoring teams like the Rockets and Trail Blazers. To have a shot, they have to think about how they're going to shut down the likes of James Harden and Damien Lillard. Roberson can help with that.

Thabeet_medium

HASHEEM THABEET Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 0 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
JUAN Grade_c_medium Hasheem Thabeet didn't step on the court again, but he still looks a lot like the rapper Joey Bada$$.
SHERMAN Grade_c_medium
Hasheem Thabeet did not see the court this past week. Will that change this week?

Brooks_medium

SCOTT BROOKS Coaching Grade
JUAN Grade_cminus_medium
Scott Brooks gets a lot of praise when the Thunder is winning, but he also gets the blame for some bad losses and the Raptors game was a really bad loss. Having a 4th quarter lead against a team like that should be an easy kill for the team, but that wasn't the case. The players deserve a lot of the blame, but so does Scott Brooks. Now he faces a test of shaking up his rotation with the injury to Russell Westbrook.
SHERMAN Grade_cplus_medium
Scott Brooks has another trial staring him in the eye after turning in an uneven week. He couldn't get his team over the hump against a sub-.500 Raptors team (back end of a back-to-back, but still) and wasn't really required to coach all that much against the Knicks. Against the Bobcats though and in the future, he's going to have to continue to massage his lineups in order to produce enough offense to win in the West. As a tribute to him, this is exactly what he has done over the first 2 months of the season so unlike last year, Brooks does not need to radically adjust on the fly. He has set the table to deal with these next two months, but now is the hard part in the execution.

Thunder_medium

TEAM GRADE Record OffRtg DefRtg AstRatio REB% TS% PACE +/-
(Advanced Stats) 2-1 107.7 95.6 17.6 52.6% 55.8% 97.29 +9.0
JUAN Grade_bminus_medium
The Raptors loss is inexcusable, but they did finish off the week with two wins. The loss of Russell Westbrook really hurts, but now its time for the younger players to get a bigger role. Having Kevin Durant on your roster isn't such a big thing, either.
SHERMAN Grade_b_medium
The Thunder slipped up against the Raptors, but that can be forgiven because it is incredibly hard to meet all on-comers on a game to game basis, especially when in dealing with a team like the Raptors, they see you as a season-defining opponent. OKC righted things a bit in their massacre of the Knicks, then barely held on over the Bobcats. Winning is better than losing, but I have to think that facing the Rockets and Blazers to close out 2013 is a step above and beyond. The Thunder can do it, the question is how?

*All player images via US Presswire

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