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Thunder weekly grades: despite losing record, Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb, Steven Adams improve

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The Thunder went 1-3 over the past week, but there are signs of life and improvement.

The Oklahoma City Thunder endured a losing record this past week. Why then are we optimistic? The 2 point loss to the Grizzlies was tough and OKC lost by double digits to the Raptors, but we are seeing signs of overall improvement as the Thunder regain their key players, one guy at a time. Which guys were the biggest contributors?

Game 1: Thunder get blown out by Nets, 116-85

Game 2: Thunder can't hold on, fade late to Raptors, 100-88

Game 3: Thunder drop 4th game in a row, lose to Grizzlies 91-89

Game 4: Thunder hold off resurgent Kings, win 101-93

***

SERGE IBAKA Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 4 35.8 17.5 9.0 1.3 1.8 0.3 3.8 -4.8
JUAN
grade_Bplus
Serge Ibaka is having to be the main guy most nights for the Thunder, and although he's not that type of player, he's doing a solid job. Ibaka had a big game against the Raptors this week and nearly averaged a double-double this week. It isn't easy being the main focus on an NBA team, and despite the fact that the Thunder only won one game this week, Ibaka played well.
SHERMAN
grade_Bplus
A B+ seems very fair for Ibaka at this point of the season. What he hasn't quite produced in terms of his normal shooting consistency (with the exception of his 11-14 shooting vs the Raptors) we have to remember he's making up for it in terms of assuming greater leadership responsibilities. I like the fact that he has already taken 2 game-ending 3-pointers this season. Yes, he missed both (Clippers, Grizzlies) but on both he got good looks and didn't hesitate. Sooner or later he is going to hit one of those, and that makes the Thunder's end-game sequences all the more potent.

ANDRE ROBERSON Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 1 11.0 1.0 3.0 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 -14.0
JUAN
grade_C
Andre Roberson was the next person hurt in what has been a nightmare start of the season for the Thunder. He was hurt in the Nets game and didn't play the rest of the week. Get well soon, Andre.
SHERMAN
grade_C
Another man up? Another man down. It is difficult to give Roberson anything other than a C because he barely played. Thus far this season he has done well what he does well - i.e. defense and rebounding. Although, sometimes his ball handling will make you cringe.
STEVEN ADAMS Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 4 29.3 9.0 7.8 1.0 0.0 1.0 1.8 -6.0
JUAN
grade_B
Steven Adams is one of those guys that you can't help but imagine how good he's going to be once the team is back in full health. Adams had a nice game against Memphis, battling against ZBo and Marc Gasol and that's a great sign. The consistency is something that still needs to come, but I think we're getting close to seeing Adams find his niche.
SHERMAN
grade_Bplus
Adams got a chance to shine against the Grizzlies, doing some great work to hold Gasol & Randolph to a combined 10-27 shooting. He is still foul prone, but his upside in terms of athleticism, mobility, and even shotmaking tells us that by the end of this season he will be a player other teams have to account for.

REGGIE JACKSON Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 4 41.8 20.0 4.3 8.3 0.8 0.3 4.3 -7.8
JUAN
grade_Bplus
Reggie Jackson appeared to be "frozen out" during the Nets game, but it seemed to send a message. I'm not in favor you doing that to your teammate, especially in such an obvious way, but if it works, I might change my mind. Reggie averaged 18 shots a game but after the Nets game, he averaged 9 assists a game. He needs to find a balance between chucking them up and passing it around for this team to be successful, while they wait for the big guns to return.
SHERMAN
grade_Aminus
I will give the kid the benefit of the doubt here. Even though his numbers aren't eye-popping and he of course took some heat in the last week over some comments he made, he has responded well. Now that he's back on the court we can see that he's clearly a gamer. He helped bring OKC back from a double-digit deficit against league-best defense in Memphis, and he hit an incredible contested fadeaway jumper at the end of the Kings game to push the lead back to two possessions, which led to their closing out the win.
JEREMY LAMB Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 2 38.0 17.0 6.0 2.0 0.5 0.0 2.0 +4.0
JUAN
grade_Aminus
Jeremy Lamb made his season-debut against the Grizzlies and provided much needed offense for the Thunder. He scored 17 in both of the games he played in and I'm giving him an A- because of his 9 rebound performance against the Kings.
SHERMAN
grade_Bplus
The main lesson I take away from Lamb's 2 games back from injury is that him playing 38 minutes per game is probably too many (shocker). The reason why is that his numbers don't scale well to starter level minutes. Vs the Kings, he played well in the 1st half, shooting 3-6 for 9 points to go along with 4 rebounds and 3 assists. In the 2nd half, he shot only 2-7, but did get to the FT line 4 times and grabbed another 5 rebounds. The rebounding is a nice bonus, but Lamb's greatest attribute is his ability to shoot the ball, so it would seem that his best offensive contribution would come in fewer minutes per game. You know, like a good bench player should be.

KENDRICK PERKINS Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 4 18.5 2.8 4.0 0.3 0.8 0.3 1.5 -3.8
JUAN
grade_Bminus
I've gotten to the point that I don't even look at Kendrick Perkins's stats anymore because I just enjoy watching him. What Perkins doesn't have in talent, he makes it up with effort and attitude. If you saw that little stretch where him and Quincy Acy were battling during the second quarter of the Kings you, you would agree. And, he does that al the time.
SHERMAN
grade_Bplus
So far this season, Perkins is averaging near identical minutes played as compared to last season, but on a per 36 minutes basis, he's averaging more points (9.5 vs 6.3), rebounds (9.5 vs 9.1), and fewer personal fouls (3.0 vs 5.3). The only difference? Perk is no longer the starter. What does this tell us? Perk is a very good bench player.

NICK COLLISON Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 4 24.0 6.8 5.5 1.0 0.3 0.3 0.8 -3.8
JUAN
grade_B
Nick Collison is another guy that you just love to watch. Collison had two subpar performances against Brooklyn and the Grizzlies, but he had he played well against Toronto and Sacramento. All you can ask from this team right now is to compete, and Nick Collison competes.
SHERMAN
grade_Bplus
Nick Collison is rising to the challenge this season, and it is great to watch the old timer show that he still has something left in the tank when his team needs him the most. Here is a fun fact - over the past 3 games, Nick shot 5-7 from 3-point range. Which means that in these first 7 games of this season, he has made the same number of 3-pointers that he had in his previous 10 seasons.

PERRY JONES III Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 2 25.5 10.0 2.5 0.5 0.0 0.0 1.5 -8.0
JUAN
grade_B
Just when Perry Jones III was getting into a groove as an NBA player, he suffers an injury. Can the injury bug please go away forever?
SHERMAN
grade_Bplus
I feel bad for PJIII, because up until this year, he looked like he never really knew what he was supposed to be on the court. Now he's suddenly realizing that he can make a close approximation of Kevin Durant for short spells. Right up until he banged his knee against the Raptors.

ISH SMITH Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 2 6.0 3.5 0.0 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 +1.0
JUAN
grade_B
N/A
SHERMAN
grade_Aminus
When you come into a situation as a hardship addition to a team, expectations are pretty minimal and therefore not difficult to surpass. Ish Smith did a great job surpassing this low hurdle. Really though, being the 3rd string guy is all about coming into a game for 5 minutes and not screwing up too badly. Ish did that one better and in 8 minutes vs the Kings, scored 7 points off 2-2 shooting and 3-3 from the FT line without turning the ball over.

SEBASTIAN TELFAIR Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 4 24.3 13.5 2.8 3.0 0.0 0.8 2.8 -7.0
JUAN
grade_B
Sebastian Telfair is back running it with the second unit now that Reggie Jackson is back from injury and he was actually not bad. He had a terrible start to the season, although you can blame some of that on fatigue, since he was the only healthy point guard. But, Telfair looked a lot better this week as he went on to average 13.5 points per game this week.
SHERMAN
grade_Aminus
At the end of the first week, the general sentiment that Bassy would be a great backup PG if he could only make a shot. Well, he's started making shots, and when he comes in the gam to spell Reggie Jackson, we have more and more confidence that he's going to keep things moving along. He is no dead-eye to be sure, but simply being able to make a few open looks helps everyone out.

LANCE THOMAS Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 4 28.8 5.8 4.0 0.5 0.0 1.0 1.5 -8.3
JUAN
grade_B
Lance Thomas was terrible against the Nets, but Scott Brooks inserted him into the starting lineup and he played better. Thomas is logging a lot of minutes for this team with all the injuries, and is now, seemingly, part of the starting lineup.
SHERMAN
grade_Bminus
Lance Thomas has been mostly invisible on the court as of late, but if he doesn't start, who else will? It would be nice to see him get more than 4 points and 2 rebounds in 30+ minutes of action, but let us be fair. Thomas may not be on the roster anymore when the team is back at full health. Let's simply be happy that he's not afraid of being in the game in important moments, like when he got a critical ORB and put-back at the end of the Kings game to help keep OKC in front.

Thunder_medium

TEAM GRADE Record OffRtg DefRtg AstRatio REB% TS% PACE +/-
(Advanced Stats) 1-3 97.6 109.6 14.3 52.0% 53.2% 92.13 -9.3
JUAN
grade_B
It's just so hard to give this team a bad grade, even with the 1-3 record this week. The Thunder played three playoff teams from a year ago and hung tight with the Grizzlies until the end. The lone win came against the Kings, which seem to be an early season surprise team. The Thunder are fighting and crawling for any wins they can get before guys get healthy, and they're competing hard and that's really all we can ask for. Once the team is complete, these grades might not be so generous.
SHERMAN
grade_B
A losing record is no fun, but apart from the Nets debacle, it is difficult to look back on this past week and conclude that success wasn't realized. The Thunder were neck and neck with the Raptors until midway through the 4th, they had multiple chances to steal a win against the Grizz, and they concluded the stretch with a big win at home against the Kings. We can take the victories in small doses and just be thankful nobody else got hurt over these past 2 games.

SCOTT BROOKS Coaching Grade
JUAN
grade_A
Is it possible to give a head coach that's 2-5 the coach of the year award? I don't know how Scott Brooks hasn't lost the remaining of his hair with all these injuries. Even with all that, though, he has pushed some right buttons and he's kept his team focused and playing hard. The Thunder come out of the gates strong most nights, but talent and fatigue usually get the best of them towards the end of the game.
SHERMAN
grade_A
Hopefully sooner rather than later, we will all get back to complaining about how Scott Brooks doesn't know what he's doing.

*All player images via www.usatodaysportsimages.com