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Tag: OKC Thunder

Andrew Schlecht: Thunder Have No Offensive Identity Yet

With the addition of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook is “really trying to adjust his game,” according to our guest, Andrew Schlecht (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

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The Oklahoma City Thunder turned heads around the NBA this offseason when they added stars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. So far, though, integrating them into the team hasn’t been a smooth process. Before back-to-back wins against the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks, they had been riding a four-game losing streak and were winless against the Western Conference. Andrew Schlecht, host of the Down to Dunk and OKC Dream Team podcasts and contributor to Daily Thunder, joined us to try to diagnose what exactly has gone wrong and whether or not the Thunder should be worried. See what we’re rumbling about in these electric excerpts below (all time stamps approximate):

5:00-5:40: “Overall, there doesn’t seem to be any worry or panic within the team at all. They’re still pretty casual about everything. And then as a fan and somebody who’s watching them, you just have to wait. Even a team with some continuity will evolve over a season. So, there’s not a lot of worry. The team has a ton of talent, they’ve got talent on both sides of the ball, so you’d think they’re going to put it together. Luckily, really besides the Warriors and Rockets, there’s nobody that’s so far ahead of them in the Western Conference that the four or three seed are out of reach. So, they have that on their side.”

9:00-9:40: “They’ve relied heavily on isolation in all of their losses. I think that they can look at all those and say, ‘Wow, that did not work.’ The ball did not move. Basically, if you could not create your own shot, or if your name wasn’t Steven Adams, you weren’t going to touch the ball for any meaningful time. Continue reading

Hawks Grounded, While Giannis and the Bucks Soar (Power Rankings: Dec. 9, 2016 Edition)

The Hawks earned a 13-spot demotion by struggling mightily after storming out of the gates with a 9-2 start (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

Due to stellar play from the Rockets, Jazz, Thunder and Celtics, the red-hot Grizzlies actually dropped a couple slots. The panel was indeed impressed by Memphis’ ability to win five of its last six games without Mike Conley Jr. on the court; it’s just those other teams were deemed to be even better. On the other side of the coin, the Hawks have been dreadful for nearly three weeks now and are paying for it by falling precipitously in this edition. Their 13-place drop on our list may be awfully difficult for teams to “beat” in future rankings.

Biggest Jumps: Milwaukee Bucks (+8), Orlando Magic (+7), Oklahoma City Thunder (+6)

Biggest Drops: Atlanta Hawks (-13), Chicago Bulls (-10), Denver Nuggets (-9), New Orleans Pelicans (-7), Los Angeles Lakers (-7)

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Select Game Notes (Oct. 25-26)

By Joshua and Aaron Fischman:

While Embiid is still a work in progress, he dazzled Philly fans on Wednesday night with his skills and swagger.

While Embiid is still a work in progress, he dazzled Philly fans on Wednesday night with his skills and swagger (Brent Burford/Creative Commons).

A slew of noteworthy player and team performances over the past two days make it difficult to be exhaustive, so we’ll present some developments that caught our attention. By including these, we are not arguing that they are more important than those we omitted. With the disclaimer over, let the notes begin:

Two former Nets stars drank from the fountain of youth, as Deron Williams dropped 25 and dished seven for the Mavs in an overtime loss to the Pacers and Joe Johnson poured in 29 for the Jazz on Tuesday night. With Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors sidelined with injury, Johnson and his teammates George Hill and Rodney Hood combined for 51 field-goal attempts.

Joel Embiid finally played in a regular-season NBA game and he did not disappoint, posting 20 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in just 22 minutes. His rookie teammate Dario Saric just managed 2-12 from the floor. While Embiid wasn’t the most efficient himself (6-16) and appeared out of control at times, he showcased an ability to shoot the 3 and provided much-needed optimism and excitement for the 76ers fan base. Unfortunately for the home fans, the Thunder outscored the 76ers by 12 in the final period and came away with the road victory. Continue reading

Marina Mangiaracina: Thunder “Need Roberson Out There to Stop Klay” in Game 7 vs. Warriors

Foul trouble limited Andre Roberson to 29 minutes in Game 6, as Klay Thompson erupted for 41 points (Erik Drost/Creative Commons).

Foul trouble limited Andre Roberson to 29 minutes in Game 6, as Klay Thompson erupted for 41 points (Erik Drost/Creative Commons).

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Despite Oklahoma City’s Game 6 collapse and squandering of a 3-1 series lead, Welcome to Loud City‘s Marina Mangiaracina explains why the Thunder stand a legitimate chance of upsetting the mighty Golden State Warriors in a decisive Game 7. Her prescription? Lots of minor adjustments, which include extra shots for Dion Waiters and Serge Ibaka, smarter defensive switching and Andre Roberson logging more court time to help counteract Klay Thompson’s explosive scoring. Below are some noteworthy excerpts:

1:59 –2:26: “I think the No. 1 key is getting more shots for Serge Ibaka and Dion Waiters. Waiters had about the same amount of shots (in Game 6) – five or six – that (Andre) Roberson and (Steven) Adams had, and given his offensive abilities, it’s an embarrassment that he’s getting so few opportunities…(Kevin) Durant and (Russell) Westbrook were just taking too many bad shots. When you move the ball around more, it helps out.” Continue reading

Andy Liu: Warriors Should “Put Draymond Green at Center, Speed Everything Up” vs. Thunder

Andy Liu advocates for more use of the small ball that got the Warriors this far to begin with (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

Andy Liu advocates for more use of the small ball that got the Warriors this far to begin with (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

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The mighty, 73-win, defending champion Golden State Warriors squandered a 13-point halftime lead, as the Oklahoma City Thunder stole Game 1 at Oracle Arena Monday night. While Golden State of Mind‘s Andy Liu admits the Thunder are playing their strongest basketball at the most ideal time, he believes the Warriors and Stephen Curry will have enough to get through to the Finals. He does, however, express concern over the MVP’s health, Golden State’s shot selection and which coach is currently doing the better job. Entertaining, informative segments have been transcribed below:

1:46-3:22: “They (the Warriors) should probably panic – like a controlled panic obviously. We don’t want (head coach) Steve Kerr to suddenly start making wholesale schematic changes. It’s not like they lost by 30… If Steph was 100 percent healthy, I think that he would’ve bailed them out last night, which would’ve been fine, but moving forward I don’t think he’s gonna get to 100 percent for the rest of the playoffs. So it’s a matter of ‘Can he play at 80, 85 percent and still carry this offense when it counts throughout the rest of the series?’”

4:30-4:49: “It’s just a matter of ‘How are they going to do it (start strong) again in Game 2, and then when OKC comes back and hits them, are they gonna lose composure again?’ You would believe that a championship team like this wouldn’t lose composure like that again, but, hey, OKC’s already done this to the Spurs three straight games; that was super-impressive.” Continue reading

Chuck Chaney: Thanks to Billy Donovan, the Thunder’s Best Player Is Russell Westbrook

Chuck Chaney, left, with Tulsa Shock head coach Fred Williams

Chuck Chaney, left, with Tulsa Shock head coach Fred Williams

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Following Tuesday’s win over the Wizards, we caught up with Chuck Chaney of ThunderObsessed.com to discuss the current state of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Chuck is encouraged by the increased space new coach Billy Donovan’s system has afforded the offense, but he’s wary of the Thunder’s lack of defensive intensity. It’s still “extended training camp” for this team and coach, Chuck asserts, but they won’t be a championship contender if they can’t find a way to defend.

Some notable sections include:

5:30-6:00: Interviewing Scott Brooks “was like talking to a wall, and the paint’s drying,” given that he was fond of using “Thunder speak.” Conversely, Billy Donovan is a “refreshing” personality, at least from a media perspective.

6:30-6:55: “Donovan really emphasizes that extra pass,” allowing Westbrook and company to flourish. “He (Westbrook) is the best player on this team because of Billy Donovan right now.”

Continue reading

McLemore’s Development, New Head Coaches and D. Wade

(Mike Tipton/Creative Commons)

(Mike Tipton/Creative Commons)

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In the J Spot, the panel continues the Kings discussion from earlier in the week, touching upon the Kings’ playoff hopes, Ben McLemore’s changing role given the improved guard depth, Rudy Gay’s seemingly newfound efficiency and how much it matters to have winning veterans on an up-and-coming team.

Next, on the A-A-Ron Block, the league’s seven new head coaches are analyzed. What can we expect from their respective squads, and who has the most pressure in their new role? Which coaches are taking over the best and worst teams?

Finally, with the NBA GM survey being released earlier this week, LLC Incorporated poses three original questions that should have been included on the actual survey. Well, maybe not, but they sure are fun ones.

Which NBA player or personality would YOU want to be your personal stylist? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter: @OnTheNBABeat

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod

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