Well we're just past the halfway point of the season, and I thought it'd be fun to take a quick look at each player and give them a brief evaluation of their performance this season. There are some players really doing well and excelling each and every night, and then there are some players who aren't. So I tried to be as honest as possible in grading each player, and I think overall they would probably match what most other fans, who watch every Thunder game, think. But then again, they may not. That is the great thing about the internet and blogging, everyone has an opinion, and everyone gets to express that opinion through actual posts or even through commenting. So take a look at TOKC's official report cards for mid-season and let us know what you think about how our boys are doing.
#0 Russell Westbrook Report Card Grade: B (Pre-Season Expectation: C)
Being a rookie in the NBA is no easy task, especially for a rookie that many thought was taken way too high in the draft. I was one of those people, not saying they took him too early, but questioning whether he was the right pick for our team at #4 overall. Mid-way through the season, there isn't a single player drafted after Westbrook, that I'd rather have on the roster. He has added a certain level of Electricity to the team, and is an exciting player to watch for the fans. I think a B is a solid grade for Westbrook at this point through his rookie season, and if it weren't for his turnover total, it might be a little higher. Westbrook is averaging nearly 15 PPG, with just over 4 RPG, and nearly 5 APG. His 3.02 turnovers per game is the second highest total on the team, behind only Kevin Durant. If RW0 is going to be our point guard of the future, he needs to work on taking better care of the ball, and continue to get better running the offense, 5 assists per game is solid for a rookie learning the position, but if he wants to truly become the point guard of the future, we'd like to see this total climb closer to 10 APG.
#3 D.J. White Report Card Grade: I (Pre-Season Expectation: C)
D.J. White is another Rookie I was looking forward to seeing what kind of impact he'd have on this team, but unfortunately we're still waiting, and its becoming increasingly likely that we won't get to see DJ until either very late this season, or more likely next season. He was scoring nearly 18 PPG / 10 RPG last season at Indiana. He's a big body inside that might compliment this team well in the future. We'll have to wait and see on this one, and leave his grade as Incomplete.
#4 Nick Collison Report Card Grade: C+ (Pre-Season Expectation: B-)
Nick Collison has been playing well this season, and has earned a starting spot, at the Center position. I'm giving him a C+, not necessarily because he hasn't been playing hard, but because he's not as big of a factor on the inside as we need a starting Center to be. Gotta give him props though for playing at the Center position, when he's more naturally suited to play the Power Forward position. He averages 8 points, and 6 boards per game, and averages about 1 block/steal per game. He's a hard working guy that I'm happy is on the squad, I just wish we had some better Centers so we could bring Collison off the bench to give Green a breather at the power forward position.
#5 Kyle Weaver Report Card Grade: D+ (Pre-Season Expectation: F)
Kyle Weaver is another rookie who has been increasingly working his way onto the court this season. I like what he brings when he hits the floor, he has a good defensive presence, and seems to come up with big shots and unexpected times for the Thunder. Having only played 19 games this year, its not a surprise that he averages 1 turnover per game, the bad part about that is, he is averaging that 1 turnover in his average of 12 minutes per game. If he'd have played in every game this season, and played 35+ minutes, he would likely be leading this team in turnovers by a large margin. He's definitely shown some signs of growth this season, and I definitely like his potential in the future.
#7 Joe Smith Report Card Grade: C- (Pre-Season Expectation: C)
Joe is a veteran guy who's value to this team is probably more in working with the young guys than his play on the court. He can still shoot well on the perimeter, but isn't a good matchup against guys who can bang him around down low. Early in the season it seemed like he couldn't miss from his usually top of the key jumper area, but as the season has gone on, it seems his accuracy has become more sporadic, and he doesn't seem to be as "Automatic" as he was earlier in the year. Even still, he's a guy who can be productive in spots, with limited limits. I still think he won't be on the team much longer though, as a lot of teams will have interest as we get closer to the trading deadline.
#8 Chucky Atkins Report Card Grade: I (Incomplete)
Chucky was a recent acquisition by the Thunder when the sent Johan Petro to the Nuggets for Chucky and a 1st round pick. Chucky is a guy who we may need if Sam Presti decides to let Earl Watson go before the trade deadline. As for grading him, its really hard to give him anything other than an incomplete being as he's such a recent addition to the team, and has gotten on the floor much....or at all? I honestly can't remember seeing him play at all since he's been acquired but there were a few games I didn't get to watch the game in its entirety.
#12 Nenad Krstic Report Card Grade: B-
Nenad is another guy that's hard to give a score because he was so recently acquired, having played just 8 games thus far, but I'm going to give him a rating anyway. Although he has only started 1 game, he does average 22 minutes per game, with 9 points, 5 rebounds, and nearly 1.4 blocks per game. I think the numbers are pretty damn good considering he's just getting acclimated to the team and his teammates, and the big thing he has brought is shot blocking ability that this team is seriously lacking. It'll be interesting to see if by the end of the season he's returned to form of a few years ago or not. I think he will, and will come back next season even better.
#18 Mouhamed Sene Report Card Grade: F (Pre-Season Expectation: F)
Mo Sene is another guy that's hard to give a grade since he's seen so little floor time, but being as he's been on the squad the entire season, and essentially contributed little to nothing this season on the court during games, its hard to give him anything other than an F. I'm actually a little surprised they keep him on the Thunder roster as oppososed to getting him playing time in the D-League (Tulsa 66ers). Sort of makes me wonder if the orginization has begun to give up on him.
#21 Damien Wilkins Report Card Grade: F (Pre-Season Expectation: C)
Damien Wilkins, a starter early in the year, has more recently entered the doghouse and hasn't seen much playing time as of late, and rightly so. DWilk has been pretty terrible this season, shooting a dreadfull 33% from the field this season. He's a liability when he's on the court, offensively and defensively. He's not getting rebounds, and he's not knocking down shots, there's no reason for him to be on the floor anymore. I think its time for DWilk to go away, either through trade, or his outright release, I don't think he's going to contribute to this team anymore.
#22 Jeff Green Report Card Grade: B+ (Pre-Season Expectation: B)
Jeff Greens progression is going well in his sophomore effort. He's averaging nearly 6 more points per game this season than last and has increased positively in nearly every statistical category. One of the bright improvements in his game this year has been his 3 point shooting which is sitting at just under 40% and he was the guy knocking down the long balls when nobody else on this team was. He has shown flashes of brilliance already in his young career, and a lot of times gets overshadowed by Kevin Durant, but Jeff is making a name for himself despite that. If he continues to progress, he along with KD, and RW0, will pack a potent punch for years to come.
#25 Earl Watson Report Card Grade: D- (Pre-Season Expectation: C)
I'll admit, I used to be a pretty big fan of Earl Watson for this team in the past (Seattle Era), but I can no longer advocate him being a part of this team. Maybe I'm a little harsh on him, after all he is coming off that hand injury and playing through the pain, which is to be applauded. But on the flip side, the best thing to happen to this team this year was for Brooks to throw Earl to the bench in favor of RW0, and when you break down the stats, outside of assists per game, which Watson has the edge by 1 per game, Westbrook destroys Watson in every other statistical category. On top of all that Watson's defense in my opinion is highly overated, and downright atrocious at times. He's been rumored to go before the deadline, and I for one am hoping for that.
#31 Robert Swift Report Card Grade: F (Pre-Season Expectation: D-)
Sleeves is so disappointing each and every year, the guy has the potential to be a monster inside when you look at his size, height, and overall build. He's spent the majority of his career being injured and has spent a lot of this season that way as well. Its funny, there are times when he gets in there and plays really hard, and there are other times he just seems really complacent. I just get the general feeling that the guy doesn't really care. He's a fan favorite because of his monstrous size and sleeved out tattooed arms, but if he doesn't get his act together on the court soon, the organization is liable to give up on him.
#34 Desmond Mason Report Card Grade: C- (Pre-Season Expectation: D+)
DMase has been on the court pretty much all year, except for a few missed games due to injuries. He's a guy thats more than likely on the roster for his ties to Oklahoma and his impact on the community as well as his leadership on the floor. He's a guy the young guns can learn from, but when you get down to his on the court abilities, he's definitely on the back side of his career. What I like about DMase is he always seems to give this team a lift when they need it, and is always talking witht he younger players during breaks and timeouts. His free throw percentage is the very worst on the team, and really limits his court time in game on the line situations. Because if he gets fouled and has to shoot free throws to win the game, we might as well be flipping a coin.
#35 Kevin Durant Report Card Grade: A (Pre-Season Expectation: A-)
What is there to say here that you don't already know? He's built on his Rookie of the Year season with a Sophomore effort that has him improving in every statistical category except for a .1 drop in blocks per game. The guy is money, anytime, anyplace, anywhere, he can kill you, and despite the loss, the Clippers can attest to that as K-Smoove dropped nearly half a hundred on them Friday night. He's so good, and his shot is so smooth and effortless it almost makes you mad at him when he has an off night, but then you come to your senses and realize just how good this cat is. In another year or two, it wouldn't surprise me to see him averaging close to 30 points a game, and leading the league in scoring.
#54 Chris Wilcox Report Card Grade: D+ (Pre-Season Expectation C)
Weezy is another guy who has seen his playtime diminished with the addition of Nenad Krstic. At times Wilcox is a dominate big man, and other times, well, he just seems mediocre. You never really know which Weezy you are going to get on a given night. He and Earl Watson have at times had connections for unbelievable alley-oops and even had me thinking that they had worked out a plan to make it look like they were so in sync that they should be traded together. With his playtime slipping, and expiring contract at the end of the season, I fully expect to see him traded before the deadline.
Interim Head Coach Scott Brooks Report Card Grade: B
I think you will see that "Interim" tag dropped, and Scott Brooks named the full time Head Coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Its remarkable the turnaround this team has made under his guidance, but at the same time, this team was so terrible at the beginning of the season, it doesn't seem quite as great a feat. Also, this team had to deal with a cross country move, and all kinds of distractions this offseason, so we'll never know how much that played a role in the teams bad play, and how much of that was due to PJ. Either way Brooksy has got this team playing much better, and I think all Thunder fans are very appreciative of the job he has done. He's got a lot of work ahead of him for sure.
Oklahoma City Thunder Report Card Grade: D- (Pre-Season Expectations: F)
The Oklahoma City Thunder have gone from being touted as the worst team in NBA History to not even being the worst team in the league (Although they do still have the worst record). I think if you exclude January this team definitely would score an F overall, but with the improved play in January, you have to knock it up a level. If they continue to improve, they have a real shot at improving to a grade of C by the end of the season, but that's a pretty lofty goal. Overall though, as fans, and Oklahomans, we're all just happy to be able to cheer a team of our own.
OKC Thunder Fans Report Card Grade: A+ (Pre-Season Expectations: A)
Of course people are going to be quick to point out that support is always high for sports teams in their first season in a new city, at the same time, you can say this is the third season in which Oklahomans have given great support. This team is averaging better than 97% attendance, with 9 sellouts this season. Each game I've been to (10 or so), the crowd has been unbelievable the entire time, and if this team over the next few years grows into a contender, the rest of the league had better watch out because this will be the toughest place to play in the entire league because our fans are roucous and will BRING THE THUNDER all game long! WELCOME TO LOUD CITY!