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2013-14 Season: Oklahoma City Thunder weekly grades for November 16 - November 22

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The Thunder followed up a difficult week with 3 impressive wins. Here is how each player performed.

The Oklahoma City Thunder rebounded from a difficult past week where they lost games back to back to the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors. How did they respond? By winning 3 in a row over the Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, and the Clippers.

Game 1: Thunder hold off Bucks, 92-79

Game 2: Thunder come back in 4th vs Nuggets, 115-113

Game 3: Thunder get revenge against Clippers, 105-91



30.0 PPG 6.3 REB 5.3 AST 01.0 ST 0.3 BL 2.3 TO

Grade Comments
Juan Grade_a_medium Kevin Durant had a pretty good week. He almost dropped 40 in one game and against the Clippers he got off to a quick start that set the tempo for the Thunder. Durant has been shooting a little inefficient as he went 11-27 in one game, but his team went 3-0 and in large part because of his performances. I just want to see Durant clean up his turnovers and bad shots at time and then I can give him the A+ he so desperately wants.
Sherman Grade_bplus_medium
Kevin Durant has been playing productive but inefficient basketball, at least inefficient by his ridiculous standards. His work against Denver was no perfect picture, as he came up short on a number of opportunities to put the game away in the 4th until he finally hit the go-ahead 3-pointer. His best effort of the season though has to be against the Clippers, where he spotted a 28-8-6 and once again did it efficiently. The Clips had no answer for him and he made them realize it.


22.7 PPG 7.0 REB 5.3 AST 0.7 ST 3.7 TO

Grade Comments
Juan Grade_a_medium I'm going to give Russell Westbrook an A and it's not only because of his performance. Against the Clippers, I saw a Westbrook that noticed Durant was feeling it and was engaged and he didn't try to do too much. He took a couple of dumb three-pointers, but you just have to live with those. I love the fact that he let Durant get his points before getting involved in the scoring. Also, good performances against the Bucks and Denver get him this grade. A little more consistency is what I'm looking for.
Sherman Grade_a_medium Russell Westbrook's efficiency is still up and down, but his impact is increasing as he has really begun to polish his jump shot and carried the Thunder through a lot of the team's struggles. What I like the most is that Westbrook has continued to prove he can be trusted to take big shots in big moments. His crossover move against the Nuggets all but sealed the game, and his deep 3-pointer against the Warriors coulda-shoulda won it. Although he struggled from the floor against the Clippers, he was still instrumental in putting a ton of defensive pressure on the Clips' perimeter players, turning them into a one-dimensional offense.


12.7 PPG 10.7 REB 2.0 AST 3.3 BL 0.3 ST 1.0 TO

Grade Comments
Juan Grade_aplus_medium
I love what Serge Ibaka has been doing lately. Every game he seems to be doing something different. One game he can go for 4 or 5 blocks, the other he might only miss one shot, and in this week's case: he pulled down 20 rebounds against Milwaukee. Any time you can do something like that, no matter the opponent, it's pretty impressive. I also liked how he kept his composure against the Clippers and played within his game and not try to do too much against Blake Griffin and co.
Sherman Grade_a_medium
Serge Ibaka continued his outstanding play this past week, furthering his candidacy for a first-ever All-Star appearance. Two things stood out to me: 1) even though he struggled on offense vs the Nuggets, he was absolutely huge in the 4th quarter and in the comeback. His offensive rebounds gave the Thunder the 2nd chance opportunities that were critical to winning. 2) Blake Griffin may have had an outstanding game again, but Ibaka got the last laugh, stuffing Griffin in the 4th and helping earn a double-digit win.


7.5 PPG 4.0 REB 1.0 AST 0.5 BL 0.5 ST 0.5 TO

Grade Comments
Juan Grade_c_medium
Thabo Sefolosha missed the game against Milwaukee and had 2 average games against Denver and Los Angeles. Sefolosha's defense is still really good and the Thunder stuff him against the other team's best perimeter player whenever he's out there, but I just want to see a little bit more offensive game from Thabo.
Sherman Grade_bminus_medium Thabo Sefolosha has had a rough first couple of weeks to the season, but it appears that he is finally turning the corner. After looking woefully out of sorts in all kinds of ways, Sefolosha has finally started to make some shots and also look much more comfortable in his role. As long as Scott Brooks keeps him focused on his strengths instead of trying to do things outside of his personal scope, he should continue to improve.


3.3 PPG 4.7 REB 2.0 AST 0.0 BL 0.0 ST 1.7 TO

Grade Comments
Juan Grade_b_medium Kendrick Perkins isn't the best player out on the floor every night, but he does give Oklahoma City a presence. He takes up a lot of space, and a lot of guys think twice sometimes about driving in because they know they're in jeopardy of getting hit hard. Perkins isn't getting many minutes and I think that's great, but when he's out there he hasn't been a total mess. I would like him to stop pretending he has any offensive game, though.
Sherman Grade_b_medium
Kendrick Perkins is going to continue to be a game-by-game situational player. He did good work against the Bucks and the Clippers, and I believe it is specifically because Brooks is only keeping him on the court as long as he's in a place where he can help the team. His impact against the Clippers (he missed their first meeting last week) was noticeable, as Griffin and DeAndre Jordan had much less space with which to work, limiting the alley-oops and offensive put-backs.


2.7 PPG 4.7 REB 1.3 AST 2.0 BL 0.3 ST 0.3 TO

Grade Comments
Juan Grade_bminus_medium Steven Adams had two solid games against Milwaukee and the Clippers this week. He was active on the offensive glass and he had some nice blocked shots, which is exactly what Oklahoma City needs. Adams didn't get much burn against Denver because of the type of game it was, and that's okay.
Sherman Grade_b_medium Steven Adams returned to the bench after getting a precarious introduction to the elite big men of the NBA last week. His return to the bench also marked return to good production, as he is much more comfortable going against 2nd units as he learns the ropes. In both games where he got extended minutes, Adams was able to grab 7 rebounds in each while providing strong defensive support.


8.7 PPG 2.7 REB 1.3 AST 0.3 BL 1.3 ST 0.7 TO

Grade Comments
Juan Grade_c_medium I'm going to continue being a little harsh on Jeremy Lamb. Do I think he'll have a good year? Yeah, I do. But he really needs to step up as the third or fourth option on this team. He had a decent game against the Clippers, but he had a bad shooting night against Milwaukee. I just want to see some better shooting from him from beyond the three-point line. But he's young, he'll figure it out.
Sherman Grade_bminus_medium It is so tempting to simply grade Lamb based on how he shot in a given game, and as of right now, his shooting percentage from the floor is only 41%. However, it is actually higher from long range (42.4%), but even that sells Lamb's contribution short. He is proving to be an exceptional compliment to PG Reggie Jackson, where he can switch on and off the point duties as needed. Lamb is already averaging almost 9 PPG, but what we'll be looking forward to is that first game where he really finds his groove and erupts for 20.


3.7 PPG 4.3 REB 1.3 AST 0.0 BL 0.7 ST 0.0 TO

Grade Comments
Juan Grade_b_medium Nick Collison shot a low percentage this week, but he did what he usually does. So that's always good. I didn't realize how hard it is to grade Collison until I actually had to do this. He just doesn't pop out of the screen, but he just does everything so right.
Sherman Grade_bminus_medium The best way to look at Collison's contribution is by evaluating how the 2nd unit as a whole is performing. After they struggled last week, the bench mob came on strong, playing key roles in both the Nuggets and Clippers wins, and Collison is always in the middle of it. That said, he is having trouble finishing at the rim lately, and he is not getting free for as many open jumpers as he ought to be.


11.3 PPG 4.7 REB 2.3 AST 0.0 BL 0.7 ST 2.3 TO

Grade Comments
Juan Grade_a_medium Reggie Jackson has been in attack mode whenever he's out on the floor and I like it. Jackson usually plays with the reserves in the first half and the Thunder need him to be a little selfish, especially if Jeremy Lamb is struggling. Jackson chucks up a lot of bad shots, but he's the best option out on the floor with the bench. I want to see him cut down on the bad shots, but I love the way he attacked the boards this week. Solid week by Reggie.
Sherman Grade_aminus_medium
I really like what Jackson is bringing to the court, especially in the 4th quarter of games. He is no longer hesitating as he used to, even when he's playing with Durant and Westbrook. He showed a particular bit of moxie at the end of the Nuggets game, as he ignored Durant's call for the ball in the waning seconds in order to shoot the clinching FT's himself. The only knock on him is that he's taking way too many 3-pointers. He is not yet effective enough from long range to be shooting it with such regularity.


0.5 PPG 1.5 REB 0.0 AST 0.0 BL 0.0 ST 0.5 TO

Grade Comments
Juan Grade_c_medium Perry Jones iII didn't get much work in this week as he only played a combined 4 minutes in three games this week and logged a DNP-CD against Milwaukee. I would have liked to see him play a little bit against Milwaukee or perhaps start that game in place of Sefolosha, but it is what it is. Perry Jones has still had a nice season.
Sherman Grade_cplus_medium
All PJIII can do is when he is on the court try to do positive things. I like his energy and his courage in taking perimeter shots, especially the corner-3. That's a shot that can help him build his career. Where he needs the most work though is on defense, especially when he 's defending the pick and roll.


3.0 PPG 2.0 REB 0.3 AST 0.0 BL 1.3 ST 0.7 TO

Grade Comments
Juan Grade_b_medium Derek Fisher had a positive +/- in all three games this week as he had a good impact on the games for once. He missed a couple of threes, but he provided some good defensive sequences and had a couple of nice made jump shots. As long as he doesn't play crunch time minutes, I'm okay with it.
Sherman Grade_a_medium
The reason I have Fisher so high is because he is being used in the exact correct way that he should be. He is being used as a 3rd guard in 4th quarter situations where the Thunder are using Durant at the PF position, and Fisher is thriving in this role. I think it is working out so well is because he is not being asked to do anything he is incapable of. Instead, he is playing great PnR defense, making hustle plays, and only taking about one 3-pointer per game.



Grade Comments
Juan Grade_c_medium Hasheem Thabeet did not log a simple second this week with three straight DNP-CD's and I'm glad. After last week's awful performances by Thabeet, there was no reason for him to be on the court. The return of Kendrick Perkins pretty much puts Thabeet behind him and Steven Adams.
Sherman Grade_c_medium The best place for Thabeet is honestly on the bench as the emergency backup center. If nothing else, Brooks should be asking himself, "Do I want to get stuck with him on the court?" and that should be a guiding light as for how to manage the rest of his personnel. Hash still waves the towel effectively though, as long as he doesn't need to run anywhere.


Grade Comments
Juan Grade_a_medium Scott Brooks usually gets criticized by the fans and media because of some weird looking lineups he throws on the court at times, but you cant argue with 3-0. He started Andre Roberson which was a pretty good call. I would have liked to see Perry Jones III out there a little more, but again, you can't argue with an undefeated week.
Sherman Grade_a_medium Brooks is on a good streak these days in terms of his management and personnel decisions. Ever since the catastrophic Clippers game last week and the failed Ryan Gomes experiment, there have been very few quibbles with how he has coached the team. To be sure they sometimes still get stuck in ISO mode and will run through a handful of possessions that feature at most a single pass and then a contested shot, but as we saw against the Clippers and Nuggets in the 4th quarter, he is putting his stars in good position to succeed. It is an ongoing process, but early returns say that Brooks is growing as a coach along with his team.


Grade Comments
Juan Grade_a_medium The Thunder were a perfect 3-0 this week and beat 2 pretty good teams, but there's still some work to do. What I did like from the Thunder, however, is that they won in different ways. They got into a shootout with Denver and they were able to pull that out, but they also slowed the game down against Milwaukee and clamped down on defense to get that win. There are still the three-point shooting problems out there, but hopefully that gets fixed sooner rather than later.
Sherman Grade_bplus_medium
The Clippers win was a great way to close out the week, and with that strong performance on both ends of the court I feel like I have some real confidence in where the team is heading. However, I still can't shake the complete disarray that the Thunder demonstrated for much of the game against the Nuggets, as they never should have been down by so many points against an inferior team.