ESPN’s Zach Lowe recently released his ninth annual tiers of the NBA, and the Oklahoma City Thunder fell into the “rock solid playoff teams, tier 1” category. OKC was joined here by the likes of the Utah Jazz, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, and the Minnesota Timberwolves (sort of, Lowe added some comments there). According to Lowe, this tier is for “teams who at their absolute peak could give Toronto, Boston and Houston at least a token run.”
When discussing the Thunder, Lowe pointed out that the loss of Andre Roberson leaves OKC thin for rotation players, but Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Steven Adams will keep the Thunder in good shape.
“Keep an eye on Oklahoma City early. The Thunder remain light on outside shooting. Without Andre Roberson they are thin on reliable rotation players. Without Roberson, they can’t snap into screaming spasms of defensive frenzy that change games in a blur. But as long as Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Steven Adams are healthy, the apex Thunder will be a pain. This season should be smoother than last season’s bizarre up-and-down campaign.”
Read all of Lowe’s NBA tiers here.