• Marc Cantave

Is OKC Overrated?


*Photo via USA Today

The Oklahoma City Thunder is (and has been for the past few years) one of the premier teams in the NBA. They are contenders in the Western Conference and this year is no different. They are currently third in the Western Conference at 44-21, and they boast two of the top ten players in the NBA in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. They, along with the San Antonio Spurs, are the favorites to stand a chance against the Golden State Warriors. They have one of the highest scoring offenses in the league as they average over 113 points in their 44 wins. However, with all that said, are they still an overrated team? Yes they are, and here are a few reasons why.

Oklahoma City Thunder's defense

*Photo via USA Today

The Oklahoma City Thunder plays little to no defense for a majority of the 48 minute game. When they want to, however, they can lock down most NBA teams, but that has not been the case this season. According to basketball-reference.com, the Thunder give up 103.2 points per game which is 18th in the NBA. There are only 16 playoff teams (which includes the Thunder), which means there are three non-playoff teams that are playing better defense than the Thunder. That is unacceptable for a team that many has christened a championship contender.

Their interior defensive presence, Serge Ibaka, has been slowly declining in the past few years. Also, their perimeter defense has taken a hit as Thabo Sefolosha was one of their primary defenders. The Oklahoma City Thunder are going to have to play elite defense in order to win basketball games even if their offense is very efficient. The Thunder's offense is one of the best in the league, but is very susceptible to failure at the same time, which leads to the next point.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook carry all of the offensive load

*Photo via USA Today

The Oklahoma City Thunder's offense is the second best in the league, to the Golden State Warriors. They average 110 points per game and can score with the best of them, so why is their offense susceptible to failure? Kevin Durant is averaging 28.1 points per game and Russell Westbrook is averaging 24.1 points per game which is a little under half of the total offense. The only other players averaging double digits are Ibaka and Enes Kanter. Durant and Westbrook both have over 1,500 points for the season, but the next highest person is Ibaka with 826 points. Keep in mind that Durant has missed seven games for the Thunder. If Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook are off, the Thunder's chances of losing exponentially, but the offense is not as much the problem as the way it is ran.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have no system

*Photo via USA Today

The Thunder have two of the best offensive players in the league, but that has overshadowed their overall offense. Like Skip Bayless (ESPN commentator) always says, "the Thunder operate under you first, then me" when pertaining to Durant and Westbrook. The ball is just given to them as they run isolation plays. The Thunder have no ball movement and no structure and that gets overshadowed by the two great players in Westbrook and Durant. The Thunder are a great team, but that concept itself is what makes them overrated. As great as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are, they will not win by playing that style of basketball. The Thunder have changed their coach and the results have remained the same.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are one of the greatest teams in the NBA and play well during the regular season, but when the game slows down in the playoffs, that's when their flaws are most noticeable. It's hard to imagine the Thunder making it to the NBA Finals, and if they do, it will be because of a herculean effort by both Westbrook and Durant. Two players cannot win a championship, even two as great as those two. A team that doesn't have a system and doesn't play defense rarely wins championships.

The Thunder are definitely overrated, but that doesn't mean they are a bad team. It will be interesting to see what changes happen this offseason after the playoffs. Will this team still be intact? Will they change their coach? What are your thoughts? Thanks for reading!!

#NBA #Thunder #OKC #MarcCantave

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