clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Thunder and the weird, wild West

New, comments

This season hasn’t made much sense. But why?

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Oklahoma City Thunder
Even the Thunder have been unpredictable this season.
Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

It has been such a strange NBA season. For a league where things tend to be more predictable than other sports leagues, the most creative thinkers could not have imagined what we have seen so far.

What if someone told you that the Los Angeles Clippers would be leading the Western Conference after Thanksgiving?

What if someone told you that at the same time, the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, and Utah Jazz would all be outside the playoff picture?

What if someone told you that the Warriors look, by their standards, actually beatable?

What if someone told you that Paul George would be the MVP of the Thunder through 19 games?

It has been such a strange NBA season.

Throughout all the unpredictability and farfetched events that have transpired, the Oklahoma City Thunder have continued their excellent play.

We all know when the sky was falling at 0-4 and people were calling for Billy Donovan’s job. A little over a month later, at 12-7, they look like a serious playoff threat out West. It is hard to say that anybody outside of the Golden State Warriors is a title threat, but Steph Curry has been injured and they seem to have more drama than a mid-day soap opera.

According to www.teamrankings.com, the Thunder rank number one in the NBA in defensive efficiency. That will work.

They allow the third lowest field goal percentage from three point range at 32.3%. That will work.

They lead the league in steals and are the only team to average double-digit steals per game. That will definitely work.

Russell Westbrook and Paul George have two of the top five individual defensive ratings in the entire NBA. Will that work? Absolutely.

With their exceptional play throughout the first almost-quarter of the season, combined with the dysfunction in Houston and the struggles in Golden State, they have been the best duo in the NBA this season. The ability was always there. We have seen it. The question was whether or not they can translate their abilities to winning basketball.

They can. And they have. And they will continue to improve, even with anomalies like the Denver loss.

Right now, they sit at fifth in the Western Conference, behind the Clippers, Warriors, Nuggets, and Grizzlies.

It has been such a strange NBA season.

Russell Westbrook is not top 10 in scoring. The MVP race right now does not include him, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, James Harden, or Anthony Davis. The Thunder blew out the Warriors on Thanksgiving eve but have lost to the Kings twice. With two top 12 players in the league, they are middle-of-the-pack in scoring. And those are just Thunder-related observations.

The Celtics also look mediocre in the East after being the early favorites to get to the Finals, we had a blockbuster trade less than a month into the season, and JaVale McGee looks like the second best player on the Lakers.

It has been such a strange NBA season.

But as passionate NBA fans, we should not want it any other way.