The National Basketball Association is restarting its season on July 31.
So, what does that mean for the Oklahoma City Thunder?
The team is currently sitting in fifth place in the Western Conference with a 40-24 record.
We’ve already analyzed the last eight games the Thunder will play in the regular season - so let’s take a look to see if they have what it takes to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers to be crowned NBA champions.
Back in January, Chris Paul said this Thunder team was the best team he’s ever played with. They are young, and they have fun. Paul is a leader, and his teammates listen to him and follow his lead.
The Thunder have a better chance this year finishing with a higher seed in the playoffs than they did last year when they finished as a sixth seed in the playoffs.
The Thunder have great chemistry, they are fully stacked talent-wise, and they are well balanced attacking to the board.
Before COVID-19 reared its ugly head and postponed the season, the Thunder were scary good. Between November 25 and February 8, they were 27-10 and had the second-best record in the NBA.
I bet you money (not really) that no one wants to see them in the first round.
The team hasn’t played together in months, which is scary to even think about.
Can the team shake off their rust and click - find a rhythm again and be able to build a cohesive team again successfully?
I would have to say the most significant weakness the Thunder have to face head-on is their shooting from the 3-point range. The Jazz is second in the league in an average 3-point shot with 38.3 percent. The Thunder is 18th, with 35.5%. Shooting from beyond the arch is crucial for any team in the postseason, and if Thunder can nail buckets from the 3-point line, they might as well write themselves off and forget about winning for a championship.
Oklahoma City will have its fair share of headaches in their last eight games, but I see them going 6-2 and only losing to the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Basketball Reference’s Playoff Probabilities Report has the Thunder likely finishing somewhere between the No. 4 and No. 7 seed:
- No. 1: 0%
- No. 2: 0.4%
- No. 3: 7.7%
- No. 4: 16.4%
- No. 5: 24.3%
- No. 6: 29.1%
- No. 7: 22.0%
- No. 8: 0%
Come July 31, the NBA season finally restarts, and we will see where the dominoes fall - hopefully in favor of our beloved Thunder.