Even with last year’s MVP Kevin Durant in tow, the Oklahoma City Thunder just aren’t playing like a team composed to break out of a would-be historic bad start. They’re a .500 team in the last ten bouts, one of which included an ugly loss to the geriatric Knicks, and are now an alarming number of games under the ninth-ranked-out-west Pelicans. What’s da real MVP, Most Valuable Problem, in OKC?
In these type of scenarios, the answer is always: where do we start?
For starters, even with KD, they’re playing bottom-of-the-barrel offense. We’ll let Zach Lowe, take this one over.
OKC since KD came back on 12/31 is 21st in points per possession — tied with the Wolves. The team just isn't right, even when whole.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) February 1, 2015
To extend the issue you have to look at a number of factors that include maddeningly low three-point shooting numbers, lukewarm free-throw shooting numbers, ISO play for days, unassisted field-goals made hangups (which is tied to ISO play), a very unpromising assist-to-turnover ratio, not-so-good fast points, and the list goes miserably on.
One has to wonder how many of these issues stem from the onslaught of injuries they’ve faced. With their best player out for extended periods, and their second-best following closely behind, a lot of offensive hiccups are to be expected, especially where lineups and efficiency are concerned. But how does one explain a percentage of 56.8 inside five-feet from the basket, or having a lower free-throws-attempted total than Charlotte, than with growing concern?
Hollinger still gives the Durants a 29.2 chance of making it into the postseason but even that might be wishful as they look to be playing nowhere near the level New Orleans and Phoenix are. Which, of course, accounts for their almost-doubled NBA Playoffs odds.
Yet, performance isn’t the only area that spells dark times in the Scott Brooks domain.
With all of their recent concerns, the Thunder went out and grabbed Dion Waiters, an offense-stagnating, poor-three-point-shooting ISO guard that spells more of the same for a Thunder team at odds with itself (and a historically stacked Western Conference that is only improving on many fronts).
Not only is everything not OK in OKC – it’s downright offensive and nowhere near the type this team should be aiming at.