Weekly grades: Thunder stuck in stasis as Durant, Westbrook shine but the rest is a mess

This week's grades highlight some good individual performances, but it is difficult to put too much excitement in this kind of week that ended with a loss. Here is how each player did.

The Thunder finally strung together a few wins following a poor post-All-Star break showing. They went 2-1 on the week, with two wins over the worst team in the league (76ers) and in the Bobcats a team that is making things right but not quite there yet. The one loss was to the Phoenix Suns, who are potentially competing for a chance to see the Thunder in the first round of the playoffs. Here is how each player contributed.

Game 1: Thunder use late surge to stop Bobcats, 116-99

Game 2: Thunder barely need 3 quarters to put away 76ers, 125-92

Game 3: Thunder defense disappears in 2nd half again, fall to Suns 128-122

***

Durant_medium
KEVIN DURANT Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 34.7 7.3 4.3 0.3 0.7 2.7 +13.3
JUAN Grade_a_medium
LeBron James dropped 61 points this week, but then Kevin Durant answered with 42 of his own in 32 minutes. If you think that these two guys aren't competing against each other, you're crazy. I want to see Durant take over a game like the one against Phoenix. Westbrook had made a couple of shots earlier in the quarter, but when you're down 2 or 4 with a couple minutes to go, I want Durant either taking a shot or getting someone an open shot.
SHERMAN Grade_aminus_medium
Kevin Durant continued posting career-defining numbers as if they were no big thing. Against the 76ers he scored 42 points off of only 20 shots, and he's working with Westbrook more and more as they gel back together. His numbers against the Suns were solid (34-7-5) but it always troubles me why a 6'10" guy who now has a legitimate post game is still taking 9 3-pointers a game. Which Sun had any chance at all of defending him below the free throw line? My litmus test is still 5 - if he takes 5 3-pointers or less, he's having a smart offensive game. If it goes past that, it had better be because he's making over 50% of them.

Westbrook_medium

RUSSELL WESTBROOK Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 25.0 7.0 9.3 0.0 3.0 4.7 +19.3
JUAN Grade_aplus_medium I remember in high school, I ran 2 and a half miles in 20 minutes. Russell Westbrook laughs at me and he just gets a triple-double in the same amount of time. Westbrook's explosiveness is still ridiculous and sometimes it feels like if he never even missed time. The only complaint I have is that he needs to let KD dominate the end of games.
SHERMAN Grade_aplus_medium
Now with a few more games under his belt, it's hard to find a way where Russell Westbrook hasn't surpassed expectations with his performance. He's controlling games, establishing his play, and shows no signs of slowing down.
Sefolosha_medium
THABO SEFOLOSHA 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 The Thunder could have really used Thabo Sefolosha against the Suns when Gerald Green was looking like a superstar. Sefolosha had been inconsistent offensively, but the Thunder now have to find a replacement for Thabo's lockdown defense.
SHERMAN Grade_c_medium
When Perkins went down, we said, "now is the time to find out if our suspicions were correct that we could live without him." Well, now is the time to find out if the same is true about Thabo Sefolosha's perimeter defense.

Ibaka_medium

SERGE IBAKA Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 15.7 6.3 1.3 2.7 0.3 2.0 +15.3
JUAN Grade_c_medium
My grade for Serge Ibaka might seem a bit harsh, but he needs to rebound the ball better against teams he should dominate the paint against. There's just no way that the Morris twins and P.J. Tucker get more rebounds than Serge. As far as offense goes, Durant and Westbrook need to find a way to involve Ibaka more because they're gonna need his production starting in mid-April.
SHERMAN Grade_bminus_medium
Serge Ibaka's numbers tailed off a bit this past week, as both his points and rebounding were below season averages. A big part of it has to do with shot attempts, as we have clearly seen them drop since Westbrook's return. We need to see him back involved in the 2-man game with either Westbrook or Durant, because otherwise his opportunities to score are going to be limited. Regardless, even against a speedy team like the Suns, he still should be grabbing more than 5 rebounds in 37 minutes.
Perk_medium
KENDRICK PERKINS Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
JUAN Grade_c_medium Much like Thabo Sefolosha, the Thunder could have used Kendrick Perkins against the Suns. If nothing more, he could of at least hard fouled Goran Dragic or go up and pretend to fight Gerald Green. Either one works.
SHERMAN Grade_c_medium I imagine Kendrick Perkins is sitting at home with Ben & Jerry's in one hand and Turkey Hill in the other and trying not to scream as someone forgets to switch and Goran Dragic cuts to the lane to score again.

Jackson_medium

REGGIE JACKSON Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 11.7 4.0 2.7 0.0 1.0 2.3 +1.0
JUAN Grade_c_medium Young players are always tricky, and Reggie Jackson is no exception. Jackson was magnificent earlier this season, but he's starting to hit the wall, and that's not fun. He looks confused out on the court and his confidence is definitely shook. The Thunder need the Reggie of the beginning of the season to make a comeback.
SHERMAN Grade_cminus_medium
Reggie Jackson is turning into a "1 in 4" kind of player. He seems to have 1 good game out of every 4 he plays in. His body language doesn't look good, his shot selection is poor, and he's not really using any of his teammates to get shots. He's also shrugging off KD, and Westbrook of all people is acting as big brother on how to get hold of his emotions.
Lamb_medium
JEREMY LAMB Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 7.0 2.3 0.0 0.7 1.3 0.0 +1.0
JUAN Grade_c_medium What did I tell you guys about young guys in the Reggie Jackson portion? Ditto here. Jeremy Lamb is another guy who seems to be losing a bit of confidence, and the lack of minutes he's getting isn't helping. He played 13 minutes against the Suns, as opposed to Caron Butler, who notched up close to 30. Lamb needs to be out on the court more or his confidence might be lost completely.
SHERMAN Grade_c_medium
Everything about Jeremy Lamb is on a downward trajectory, most significantly, his minutes. He appears to be the odd man out between Westbrook's return and now Butler's arrival, and I'm not sure that's a good thing. I don't know if Butler is a significant enough upgrade to be taking away minutes from Lamb, especially after the Thunder have done so much to make Lamb a part of their system. I fear that if Lamb continues this path, he's not going to have any role left to play and might as well pack it in for the season. Worse yet, I'm not sure there is much he can do about it.

Adams_medium

STEVEN ADAMS Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 2.0 2.3 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.3 +8.0
JUAN Grade_c_medium Al Jefferson took Steven Adams to big man school this week, but who hasn't big Al dominated this season? Adams just needs to keep his head up and learn from playing games against guys like Jefferson.
SHERMAN Grade_cminus_medium
Tough week for Kiwi Strong, as Steven Adams was in for difficult matchups in 2 out of 3 games. Against the Bobcats, low post veteran Al Jefferson made a meal out of the Thunder big man, putting a clinic on finishing moves around the rim. Against the Suns, there was really nobody for him to guard, as Phoenix's offensive system essentially relies on 2 scoring guards and a bunch of stretch-4's.
Collison_medium
NICK COLLISON Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 4.3 3.7 1.3 0.0 0.3 1.0 +0.3
JUAN Grade_b_medium Nick Collison did what Nick Collison does this week.
SHERMAN Grade_b_medium
Nick Collison had his now standard week of about 12-13 minutes a game, minimal scoring, and impact in ways most of us miss on a single viewing. Or maybe his real name is Kal-El and he has to keep a low profile.

Fisher_medium

DEREK FISHER Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 6.3 1.3 1.3 0.0 1.7 0.7 +7.0
JUAN Grade_b_medium Derek Fisher has been balling for a number of weeks now and he's shooting the three-point ball like the Fish of old, and that's great. I think right now it is important to cut down on his minutes a little bit and get him ready for the playoffs.
SHERMAN Grade_b_medium
Derek Fisher's numbers have solidified enough in my mind that this is a reasonable production we can get from him. I don't know how exactly he managed to get himself here, but here he is, and that is to be commended. However, with the existence of Lamb and the addition of Butler, I think his minutes need to drop from 18 a game because while he's steady, he does not have the same upside.

Jones_medium

PERRY JONES III Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 5.3 2.3 1.7 0.7 0.0 0.0 +13.3
JUAN Grade_a_medium
I love Perry Jones in the starting rotation. It makes the Thunder bigger in the backcourt and it gives them another good defense on the floor, who can get some steals. I think we can expect Jones getting the starts as long as Sefolosha is out with injury.
SHERMAN Grade_aminus_medium
Perry Jones continues to get good rotation minutes, so it looks like Brooks is moving forward with Jones as his utility guy who can step in and do a lot of things when needed. We're seeing flashes of explosiveness, but I think part of it is mental. He needs to have a good game being guarded by a good player before he really starts to have confidence in himself.

Butler_medium

CARON BUTLER Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 2 8.0 3.0 1.0 0.5 0.5 0.5 -9.5
JUAN Grade_bplus_medium
It was Caron Butler's first week with the team so I'm going to give him a little bit of a pass. I'm part of the "He shouldn't be playing thirty minutes a game" group, though.
SHERMAN Grade_b_medium
Caron Butler joined the team for his first two games, and what we saw were some positives while affirmation on some of his negatives. He's a solid 3-point shooter and he can blend in well and already seems to have good rapport with the team. He's also not the defender he once was, so the question becomes, what is he going to do that warrants getting 27 minutes a game? There is a reason why guys like Butler get bought out - it's not that they don't have something to offer, it is that what they were offering didn't justify the pricetag; i.e. they were overvalued. Is Brooks going to overvalue him and turn him in to Fisher circa 2012?

Roberson_medium

ANDRE ROBERSON Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 1.3 2.3 0.7 0.3 0.3 0.3 -3.7
JUAN Grade_c_medium
Andre Roberson has to stay ready. He didn't get the nod in the starting lineup like he did when Thabo missed games earlier in the season, but he's just gotta stay ready to play.
SHERMAN Grade_cplus_medium
A little more "Animal Style" in the 4th quarter of the Suns loss might have been nice, eh?

Thabeet_medium

HASHEEM THABEET Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 2 3.5 4.0 0.0 2.5 1.0 1.5 +7.0
JUAN Grade_bplus_medium That's two consecutive weeks that Hasheem Thabeet has done good things for this team. If he goes for a third straight week, I will go play the power ball.
SHERMAN Grade_bplus_medium
Hasheem Thabeet is ballin' and I can't even understand how I could write that sentence. He's over there, smiling at you happily just like always.

Brooks_medium

SCOTT BROOKS Coaching Grade
JUAN Grade_bminus_medium I like the move by Scott Brooks to insert Perry Jones into the starting lineup to give them a little bit more length. I don't, however, like the fact that he's cutting Jeremy Lamb's minutes in favor of Caron Butler. I think Lamb has more to offer to this team than Butler, at this stage of their respective careers. Brooks also needs to find a way to get Ibaka more involved on offense.
SHERMAN Grade_bminus_medium
Scott Brooks once again has a situation as he did 2 years before where he's added a veteran in Butler to plug the gaps as the team gets healthy. Here is the question though - what were the gaps? It wasn't really offense, not even 3-point shooting. It was actually the much maligned offensively challenged duo of Perk and Thabo. Can Butler fill either one of those shoes? If not, he really ought not be getting more than about 10 minutes a game unless he can prove otherwise.

Thunder_medium

TEAM GRADE Record OffRtg DefRtg AstRatio REB% TS% PACE +/-
(Advanced Stats) 2-1 118.1 102.2 17.5 54.7% 62.9% 103.3 +14.7
JUAN Grade_b_medium
The Thunder destroyed Philadelphia, as expected. They took care of the Bobcats, as expected. But they dropped a game out in the desert to Phoenix. The Suns were absolutely on fire and sometimes you just get outplayed by the other team, but the Thunder had plenty of chances to put that game away. The 23-2 run is unacceptable and that falls on the superstars and the coach. Even with that huge run and giving up over 41 to Gerald Green, the Thunder were right there to win the game. With the playoffs looming, these are the type of games the Thunder need to be able to close out. Phoenix might be the first team OKC faces in the playoffs.
SHERMAN Grade_bminus_medium As I've noted elsewhere, the Thunder have gotten into the habit of giving up 40 point quarters. I don't even know how this could become a regular thing, even against hot shooting teams like the Clippers and Suns. In the past, I thought 30 in a quarter was too much....heck, that 25 was too much. I've never been much of a, "each player has to look themselves in the mirror..." kind of person, but my goodness, there's gotta be some sense of shame to giving up 40 points to a bad team like Cleveland AT HOME.

*All player images via US Presswire

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Welcome to Loud City

You must be a member of Welcome to Loud City to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Welcome to Loud City. You should read them.

Join Welcome to Loud City

You must be a member of Welcome to Loud City to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Welcome to Loud City. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker