It was a shaky start to the season for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The team started off 0-4 and Thunder Twitter was not having it. OKC quickly turned things around by winning 10 of their next 11 games and now sit 3rd in the West with a record of 14-7. I asked some Thunder fans for their thoughts and opinions on the start of the season and this is how it turned out.
1. What are your thoughts on this season overall?
Shane Steinkraus: @ShaneTrain23
I like how the team is playing thus far. We’ve seen this team without Russell Westbrook and it has no effect on what this team can do. They continue to roll and get the job done when Dennis Schröder is on the floor. But when you add Westbrook to the floor, this team is dominant. Right now they are one of the top teams in the West, which is a huge step up from last season. Granted it’s early, but this team is getting the job done.
Tony Lopez: @TonyMacLopez
I’m thrilled with how the season has gone. They started off 0-4 and went on a crazy win streak and now sit at the top of the West. There is room for improvement but you can tell this team will be a force.
Jerald Amir: @JeraldAmir
This season has gone as I expected, and not as I expected. I expected us to get off to a slow start on offense with no Melo, and I know Russ and PG were looking for their new vibe. I wasn’t expecting the bench with Dennis to start off well but it seems they have stabilized out. Defensively though, I was not expecting us to be this good this early in the season without Dre, but hey, I’ll take it.
I think defense will be the main factor for how this season will go.
2. Are you encouraged that the team has played well without Westbrook or is it too small of a sample size?
I’m encouraged. Obviously the team is better with Westbrook but even without him we can put our trust in Dennis. He’s a starter caliber player, he has Westbrook-like qualities and he’s one hell of a leader too.
Schröder can start on a lot of teams in the NBA. I think him and his chemistry with Steven Adams is the main reason why there wasn’t that big of a drop-off when Westbrook was out.
I’m encouraged that we can have the same game plan to an extent whether it’s Dennis or Russell. Having Raymond Felton run the second unit makes them fall off a cliff so I did not enjoy that aspect.
She’s For OKC:
I’m very encouraged but, at the same time, I know that Russell Westbrook is necessary for our success.
3. What are your expectations for this team at this point in the season?
Honestly, I’ve had such high expectations for this team since the NBA Finals, but this year I’m just gonna sit back and watch and see what they can do. You never know what’ll happen with this team. They can either be dominant or they will struggle to a certain extent. There’s no way of knowing. I don’t have any expectations at this time, I’m going to sit back and let whatever happens happen this season.
Western Conference Finals. There’s no reason why the Thunder shouldn’t be in the conversation. There are a lot of good teams in the West, but if the Thunder stay healthy they should challenge for a title.
Expectations are to be in the top three. I expect a big jump once Dre comes back and our true lineups are out there.
She’s For OKC:
I expect them to stick to playing defense at a high level because it’s been the reason that they’ve been winning games so far.
4. What can the Thunder improve on right now to make them better in the long run?
Shooting, they’ve gotten better but those numbers are still pretty low. Late game decisions is something that they can work on too, but in the long run they need to be able to shoot better and I’ve seen improvement from everyone on the team when it comes to shooting.
Getting healthy and 3-point shooting. The Thunder can survive with their crazy athletic defense and fast pace, but when it comes down to it they are going to need to hit 3’s to compete during the playoffs.
It’s all mental at this point. I think we have the right guys. We are built to stomp you into the ground on defense and have the ability to run the score up when we are shooting.
She’s For OKC:
The Thunder have to limit the amount of three’s they take every game and focus on defending the perimeter.
5. Do you approve of the job Billy Donovan is doing so far this season?
I feel like Billy D has done well thus far. Obviously there’s controversy with whether he can coach this squad or not, but ya know, at the end of the day, as long as the team is successful, getting wins, I feel like he’s doing his job. For the most part I think he’s done a good job. But obviously he still has room to get better as a coach. It’s kinda hard to tell from a fan point of view because we aren’t in the huddles during timeouts, we aren’t at practice. Yes we know what he says to the media, but it doesn’t compare to what he says in those huddles and practice. We don’t get to hear what goes on. But for the most part I approve of the job he’s done.
Billy Donovan has some questionable lineups here and there, but he’s done a good job. I never thought the Thunder should fire him.
Billy has done a great so far this season. He’s dealt with a lot of injuries early and has had these guys buy in on the defensive end since the 0-4 start.
She’s For OKC:
Yes, I think Billy Donovan has done a great job so far based on the injuries he’s had to deal with and having to change his rotations because of it. He’s done a lot with less than he’s had in the past few years.
Many thanks to our contributors!