For Oklahoma City Thunder fans, the 2017/18 season has been the most emotionally draining season to date. Just a week ago, fans were basking in the euphoria of the team’s biggest win of the season, a 125 to 105 thrashing of the defending champion Golden State Warriors on the road only to be cast into the throes of despair after another bad loss to a future lottery team.
Granted, the Thunder missed Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony while the Los Angeles Lakers dealt the team their worst loss of the season, a 25 point beat-down where the Thunder only scored 81 points, but other than the final score, who is to say their presence would have made any real difference. Just 96 hours earlier, with Westbrook and Anthony, Thunder fans were reeling after a home loss to those same Lakers - and so the season goes.
The Thunder have beaten every top team in the NBA except the Boston Celtics and went into halftime in that loss with an eighteen point lead. Further, in the recent road win against the Warriors, the Thunder man-handled arguably the best team of the decade without defensive specialist Andre Roberson and Carmelo Anthony. Further still, they did it with stand out center Steven Adams on the bench for much of the first half in foul trouble.
That’s a statement, but sandwiched between two horrific losses, what exactly are the Thunder saying? Obviously, it says the Thunder can beat any team in the league - when they want to, but what does losing to the Lakers twice, the Magic, the Hornets, the Knicks, the Nets, Kings, and twice to the Mavericks tell us?
What are these bad losses saying to Thunder fans? to potential free agents? and most importantly, to Thunder management?
I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to say the message, whatever it is, hasn’t been received in a positive light. I know it hasn’t been a hit with the fans, and Sam Presti, a GM that has traditionally been a very active player at the trade deadline every year was a total no-show this time around. The Thunder have an open roster spot, two trade exceptions to work with, as well as three All-Stars on the roster, and yet, no recently bought out player has agreed to sign with the Thunder after they clear waivers.
I understand that teams don’t want to peak too early or burn out before the playoffs begin, but the number of losses to weak teams that this team has amassed is unacceptable. By anyone’s standards. And the primary reasons for those losses, lack of execution and questionable effort, even less so.
Perhaps it isn’t as bad as dogs and cats living together or a 35’, 600 lb Twinkie representing a four-fold cross-rhythm or PKE surge of incredible or even dangerous proportions, but from now until the end of the season, the Thunder have 3 games before the All-Star break and just 23 after.
If the plan is a crescendo leading to a playoff apogee, the time to start pumping up the volume is running out.
Give us your thoughts in the comments below.