In their third straight blowout loss, the Oklahoma City Thunder lose to the Detroit Pistons 132-108.
In terms of OKC’s draft pick, this game was crucial to lose. The Pistons have the second-worst record in the NBA, and the Thunder creep closer to a bottom-five record, which could drastically improve their lottery odds.
It might be too late in the season, but if the Thunder improves their draft odds, they need to start losing games now.
We are starting to get at the point of the season where the roster becomes fluid and somewhat unrecognizable. Today’s game featured two players who were just signed hours ago playing significant minutes.
Thunder players who stood out in this game include Aleksej Pokusevski, Theo Maledon, Svi Mykhailiuk, and Tony Bradley.
Poku was the best player on the floor for the Thunder as he finished with 19 points. Poku is starting to look more and more comfortable and under control on the court, especially when compared to how he played the first half of the season.
Maledon had some of the prettier passes in the game as he showed off just how skilled a passer he is. The most impressive one being a skip pass to Ty Jerome reminded me of the infamous transition pass from Russell Westbrook to Victor Oladipo in Toronto during 2017.
Against his former team, Svi played well as he finished with 17 points. Svi has been a pleasant surprise for the Thunder and has played well enough for the team to consider bringing him back seriously.
Off the bench, Bradley finished with nine points and nine rebounds.
As mentioned earlier, Justin Robinson and Jaylen Hoard played relatively well tonight after not even being on the roster 12 hours ago. Robinson finished with nine points while Hoard finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
As we all know, the Pistons roster is filled with former Thunder players. Jerami Grant, Hamidou Diallo, and Frank Jackson all wore the Thunder blue at one point in their lives.
Another similarity between the Thunder and the Pistons is that Detroit is now run by Troy Weaver, who was with the Thunder organization as an assistant GM for 12 years.
“It’s a Troy Weaver team,” mentioned Head Coach Mark Daigneault pregame. “You can see his influence.”
So there is a lot of Thunder blue behind that Detroit red, and that should be a prideful thing for the Thunder as other organizations steal their brains and players, envying OKC for long-term success and stability.
Grant added to his Most Improved Player campaign in tonight's game as he finished with 21 points. Five rebounds and five assists.
Tonight was also Diallo’s first game back to The Peake since being traded. When he checked in, Diallo received thunderous artificial applause from the non-existent fans. Hopefully, when fans are eventually back in, Diallo gets the real thing the next time he returns. Diallo finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, and four assists.
Training camp darling Jackson had a pretty good game as well. Frankie Flash scored 10 points. It’s pretty funny to remember just how much outcry there was when the team waived Jackson to keep a relatively unknown Kenrich Williams at the time.
Now, four months later, Williams is one of the most beloved players on the team, and the team seems to really like him as well as they demanded a first-round pick as the floor for any potential trade during the Trade Deadline.
Williams suffered an ankle sprain tonight and was not able to return. Don’t be surprised when/if he sits out multiple games to make sure he is absolutely healthy when he returns.
Next Game: Charlotte Hornets come to Oklahoma City on Wednesday.