After trading both Paul George and Russell Westbrook this past offseason, many around basketball thought that the Thunder would be headed towards a full rebuild. Led by head coach Billy Donovan and new acquisitions Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari, OKC is currently in line to make another playoff appearance with a new group. Here are a few things that the Thunder need to work on once the season restarts to maximize their potential run.
Although CP3 is one of the best pure point guards of this generation, he cannot shoulder the load of moving the ball on his own. OKC sits at third worst in the league in assists per game, as they only lead Houston and Portland in the category. With the Thunder ranking so low in assists, teams can key in defensively and force OKC into more isolation situations, which lead to low-percentage shots.
OKC ranks in the bottom five of the league in rebounding. Being that Donovan runs a small ball system outside of Steven Adams at the five, this leads to fewer rebounding opportunities. On the defensive end, this means teams are getting even more chances at scoring. On the offensive side, OKC is limited to (generally) only one shot opportunity each possession. As a result, this creates OKC’s fatal flaw in the top spot on this list.
1. Second-Chance Points
The Thunder rank dead last in second-chance points per game. When Donovan goes to running small ball, this means having more shooting on the floor, but fewer opportunities for guys not named Adams to pick up boards. If OKC rebounds the ball better on the offensive end, it could lead to more scoring opportunities. If not, teams that know how to box out can limit the Thunder’s possibility of having multiple chances to score.