We're 17 games into the Thunder season, and have somewhat of a good idea of how Billy Donovan wants to revamp OKC's offense. Clearly, the team won't be a finished product until playoff time. But even now, the Thunder are clearly markedly different than they were in years past.
How has the offense changed? Let's begin with the stars.
- Kevin Durant has the highest percentage of shots assisted in his career this year. In plain English: Durant is relying upon his teammates to create opportunities for him more than ever before.
- Durant also has the highest percentage of 3PT shots assisted since 2013. KD is still creating his own threes moreso than when he was young, but not quite on the level of his MVP season.
- Westbrook has the lowest percentage of shots assisted this year. In plain English: Westbrook is creating more this year than he ever has before.
- Westbrook has the lowest percentage of 3PT shots assisted since the 2010-11 season. So Westbrook is taking more threes on his own than ever before.
- Despite Durant and Westbrook taking radically different directions with their offensive games, both of them are having the most effective offensive season of their careers.
Let's take this a step further, though. When you look at the advanced stats, how has the Thunder's offense changed as a team under Donovan?
- Donovan is running the fastest Thunder team of all time. Part of this has to do with coaching, but you could also point to the new presences of Enes Kanter, Dion Waiters, and D.J. Augustin in the past year.
- The Thunder also took a pretty big bump in pace in 2013, and I'd attribute that to the increased role of Reggie Jackson that year.
- More offensive rebounds generally goes with a faster pace. But there's still no denying that this is the best rebounding Thunder team of all time.
- Kanter's presence certainly has a lot to do with this, as does Donovan's tendency to play big most of the time.
By trusting more of the offense to Westbrook, Donovan keeps more options open in general. Durant has always had a worse assist to turnover ratio than Westbrook, despite being a good passer. Furthermore, Donovan has increased the pace, which gives the Thunder more opportunities on the offensive boards. This makes sense, because this is the most effective Thunder rebounding roster in recent memory.
Most importantly, despite a rocky record and some injury issues, the Thunder clearly have the pieces to put together their greatest offense of all time. Is the NBA ready?