Oklahoma City Thunder Should Be Taken Seriously in the West

Even though many people didn’t expect much from the Oklahoma City Thunder, that still hasn’t deterred them from have a respectable record in the western conference. OKC has a 32-21 record to date, and have received positive contributions from players you may not be able to pick out of a lineup.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leads the Thunder with 19.6 points per contest and also has 6.2 boards and is only in his second year in the NBA.

Point guard Dennis Schroder is second on the team in scoring and averages nearly four rebounds and just over four assists a game this season for OKC. Danilo Gallinari chimes in with about 19 points from his power forward spot and has 5.7 boards per game with teammate Steven Adams posting nearly 11 points per game to go along with a team-high 9.2 rebounds.

Nerlens Noel — another Kentucky product — has just over eight points and five boards per game this season for the Thunder.

Yes, the Thunder are shooting about 35% from beyond the arc, but they are getting sound contributions from multiple players and have good quality veterans on the roster.

On a roll

OKC has won nine of their last 11 games and Schroder has led the team in scoring in five of those contests. The Thunder started the season 8-12, before going 7-2 in their following nine ball games. Chris Paul, 34, averages 6.6 assists per game and led OKC in points with 22, during their 108-101 win versus Detroit on Friday.

Beating the best

OKC has fared well against some of the better teams in the West. Thunder faithful can appreciate victories over Houston, Toronto, the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah.

OKC also got nice wins against San Antonio and Portland. The Thunder will face the Spurs again tonight and will host Denver after the All-Star break. The ball game will be held next Friday.

Where do the Oklahoma City Thunder stand?

OKC currently sits as the 6th seed in the Western Conference standings and are a game back of Houston. They are also 2.5 back of Utah for the 4th spot. It’s hard to imagine the Thunder missing out on the playoffs if they keep playing like this.

Dallas and Memphis are behind OKC in the standings but don’t appear as though they are getting as much of a complete team effort like the Thunder are.

What’s the future hold?

OKC isn’t going to draw in big-name free agents and will remain focused on getting talent from the draft. Paul, Gallinari, and Schroder could all be shipped away to other teams in the next calendar year, so don’t be too comfortable with OKC’s current set up.

Head coach Billy Donovan should be under consideration for the Coach of the Year award. After all, OKC could have easily been worse with veterans who surely want to win a championship.

Kudos to the Sooner State squad for pulling together and being a competitive bunch with some questions surrounding them after trading away All-Stars like Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

What do you think about the Oklahoma City Thunder this season? Leave a comment below.

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