Tag - Kyle Singler

Five Thoughts 1-9-18 (Blazers 117, Thunder 106)

Five Thoughts 1-9-18 (Blazers 117, Thunder 106)

1. If you read the site, you know I do my best to stay away from hyperbole and overreaction in the moment. So I don’t feel the least bit of trepidation saying that this was the worst loss of the season. Unfortunately, there are a lot to choose from, but this one ranks at the top for me because it comes after a period when it appeared this kind of play was behind us. I didn’t like the listless effort in Phoenix on Sunday, but considering they won the other two games on the trip I could brush that off as the guys perhaps having a little too much leisure time and playing flat at the end of week long trip. Call it a lousy night and move on. But you can only brush aside a lousy effort if you following it up with a good one. If you toss out an even MORE lousy performance two days later (at home, against a team missing their best player) well, then you might just be, lousy.

2. Defense was atrocious. Obviously they miss Andre Roberson badly in this department as there is a very clear drop off when he is out. He came out of the Milwaukee game very late and wasn’t on the court for the final possession when Giannis Antetokounmpo beat Josh Huestis baseline (albeit while stepping out of bounds). So our defense literally started to cave the instant he got hurt. And it has been garbage ever since. Tonight was just awful because Portland got whatever they wanted, wherever they wanted. Inside, outside, downtown, uptown, left, right, from Guthrie to Norman. Whatever. It’s fine if your defense takes a hit when you subtract your best defender. It’s expected actually. But the Thunder should have enough in the tank to not just get run over by the Suns and Blazers. Really pathetic. Roberson can’t get back fast enough. I hope everyone that trashes him has been enjoying the turnstile routine the last few games.

3. As always with Russ his weakness is the same as his greatness. And it’s often hard to figure out where one stops and the other starts. It was a Tuesday night the second week in January, game No. 40. To start the evening I thought nine of the 10 players on the court were fairy content to demonstrate that it was a Tuesday night the second week in January, game No. 40. Not necessarily a poor effort from anyone. But 90 percent of the guys out there seemed content to let the game slowly play out, figure out the pace, etc. But that 10%. Man, he just doesn’t do “pace.” Russ was a Tasmanian Devil from the opening tip. He was absolutely frantic. The reason Russ is Russ is because that’s what he does. No off nights. No going through motions. But tonight it manifested itself in some very sloppy play early. He’s going 110 MPH while his teammates are doing 75. That will cause some traffic issues. Moreover, it starts to force all 9 other guys to pick it up. It sort of lights a fire under the opponent as well. About midway tough the first quarter tonight, the intensity picked up. Both teams were responding to Russ. Sometimes going through the motions might be better. I’ll never rip Russ too much for this because you can’t pick and choose when to love it and when to hate it. But it would be beneficial if RUSS learned to pick and choose a bit more.

4. Bench is all kinds of messed up right now. It’s just terrible. Felton is the only guy playing at an acceptable NBA level. Grant has slowly dipped and is now looking like a borderline rotational guy. Just not a ton of options remaining unless Donovan wants to give Nick Collison, Kyle Singler, and Dakari Johnson longer looks— and I don’t think anyone views any of those guys as a long term solution to anything. It will help when Andre returns, but I’ll continue to bang that trade drum. Presti needs to be looking.

5. First half of the season is officially over. It wasn’t good. The second quarter was better than the first, so improvement is nice. But the second quarter ended with a thud, losing four out of six including three in a row at home. I’d grade the Thunder a C-minus for the first half of this year. The second quarter I would give them a B-minus so that tells you all you need to know about the first quarter. Their inability to beat middling to poor teams was exasperating. They would be right there with the Spurs, if not the Rockets, had they just taken care of half of those losses against bad teams. The upside to the first half would be that they flashed the potential to be great. They played far better against the better teams and their defense in particular against good competition was excellent. The offense looks more fluid than it did early as well. Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony all seem to be far more settled now than they were at the start of December. I wanted 9-5 in January. 2-2 thus far, so still attainable. Speaking more specifically about the second half, I am not overly worried about the win total. I’d like for them to get to 50 wins. That would require a 28-13 record from here on out, or a six-game improvement in the second half over the first half. Seems like a long shot, but if they keep up their December pace that’s right about where they will wind up. Really hoping these last two miserable outings are random outliers and not a sign of things to come. Pretty massive game in Minnesota tomorrow. It’s a good way to get the second half started. Or, at least, it can be.

Ed Kleese is a long-time Thunder season ticket holder and a smart Thunder fan. You can read all his work on his own personal blog.
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Thunder Game Day No. 41: vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Oklahoma City Thunder (22-18, 14-6 home) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (21-18, 11-8 away)

Tuesday, Jan. 9 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)
Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27) | 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
Coverage: NBATV  (DirecTV 216, Cox 37/756, AT&T U-Verse 754/632, Dish 416/156 (9508 HD)
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 8-point favorite. The over/under is 204½.
Online Stream: Fox Sports Go | WWLS Sports AnimalLive Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Blazers: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • A disappointing loss to Phoenix sends the Oklahoma City Thunder home looking to right the ship against the Damian Lillard-less Portland Trail Blazers for a short interruption of a road trip.
  • Oklahoma City is 3-6 in their last nine games against Portland. However, the Thunder are 4-1 when they’ve played Portland at home in their last five games.
  • The Thunder only sit a half-game ahead of Portland for fifth place in the Western Conference playoff race, winner will control fourth place.
  • The Trail Blazers, without Lillard, has won back-to-back games. That includes a win over the always tough San Antonio Spurs.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Brian Davis and Michael Cage call the game on the Thunder’s flagship station, Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can watch the game there, catch it on NBA League Pass, or use the Fox Sports App (If you’re in Oklahoma).
  • If you’re not in the Oklahoma City market, tonight’s game is on NBA TV.

SCOUTING THE BLAZERS

  • The Portland Trail Blazers are 21-18 on the season, sixth in the Western Conference.
  • In their last 10 games, the Blazers are 5-5.
  • That said, Portland has won back-to-back games, including beating the San Antonio Spurs.
  • The Trail Blazers have spent a lot of time beating up on the bad teams, they’re only 9-15 against teams with winning records.
  • In their last meeting, Portland beat the Thunder 103-99 in Portland on Nov. 5.
  • Overall, the Thunder lead the head-to-head series with Portland 116-113.
  • Since moving from Seattle, Oklahoma City is 18-19 against Porltand, one of the few Western Conference teams with a winning record over the Thunder.
  • When games are played at the Peake, Oklahoma City is 11-7.
  • Injury Report:
    Damian Lillard (right calf strain) is OUT.
    C.J. Wilcox (knee) is a game-time decision.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Portland came on March 24, 2013, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 103-83 (20-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (35 points) vs. Portland occurred during a 107-72 loss on April 3, 2009.

WHAT’S IN THE SUNS NAME?

  • General manager Jerry Colangelo, only 28 at the time, settled on a name for his expansion franchise using a name-the-team contest in 1968.
  • Colangelo chose Suns over Scorpions, Rattlers, and Thunderbirds, among the other suggestions included in the 28,000 entries.
  • One lucky fan won $1,000 and season tickets as part of the contest, which included such obscure entries as White Wing Doves, Sun Lovers, Poobahs, Dudes, and Cactus Giants.

PDX -> OKC CONNECT

  • Assistant coach Maurice Cheeks was 162-139 in four seasons as Portland’s head coach from 2001-2005.
  • Kyle Singler was born in Medford, Oregon and attended South Medford High School.

INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson is OUT (left patellar tendonitis).

NEXT UP

  • Oklahoma City hits the road for a couple of games. They’ll finish a back-to-back tomorrow at Minnesota. Then, at Charlotte on Saturday to finish up the road trip.



Three Keys to the Game

Third quarter

Win the third quarter. When the Thunder win the third quarter, they’re 12-1. When they lose, they’re 10-17 on the year. So, win the third quarter and you win the game. It’s pretty simple as that. Especially as the quarter has been the thorn in the side of Oklahoma City all season long.

Defense

Holding a team to under 100 points is hard in today’s NBA. That’s why it’s really no surprise the Trail Blazers are only 5-10 in games where they score less than 100 points. Portland is 1-3 in their last four where they scored less than 100 points. On the other side of that, Oklahoma City is 14-5 when holding an opponent under 100 points. They’re 6-1 when holding opponents under 100 in their last seven games.

Rebound

The Oklahoma City Thunder have rebounded well lately but they’ll have to do it again tonight. Oklahoma City is 16-6 when they can grab more boards than their opponent.

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Dígitos el Thunder: OKC malgasta otro plomo de dos cifras

Fue una fea noche en la ciudad de México en cuanto a los Oklahoma City Thunder, que perdieron un feo a las Nets de Brooklyn 100-95. Los Thunder estaban sin Paul George y Jerami Grant pero no disculpa este resultado. Era una cuestión de mala selección de tiro y la falta de esfuerzo que han contribuido a esta pérdida, el 13 de la temporada para el Thunder . Aquí están algunos números claves en la pérdida de esta noche:

52.2

Esto fue definitivamente un cambiador de juego, como el Thunder tiro sólo el 52.2 por ciento de la banda de la caridad. Que lleguen a 12 de sus 23 intentos. Si el Thunder podría tener sólo un golpe un poco más, probablemente evitar esta terrible pérdida.

32

Era sólo una noche de los porcentajes de pobres, como Russell Westbrook y Carmelo Anthony combinaron para disparar un 32 por ciento de la planta. Westbrook golpeó sólo 10 de sus 27 intentos, mientras que Melo golpeó sólo cinco de sus 20 intentos. Pasar noches ásperas de tiros, pero una gran parte de esto fue simplemente mala selección.

16

A pesar de que los Nets hacen su gran correr temprano en el tercer trimestre, Oklahoma City agrava jugando muy mal en el cuarto trimestre, anotando solamente 16 puntos total. Tiraron a 28 por ciento en el cuarto, mientras gira el balón más de tres veces así. Brooklyn mientras tanto aguantar 26 en el cuarto, superar a Oklahoma City por dos dígitos.

22

Con dos jugadores de Thunder hacia fuera con lesiones, Kyle Singler se intensificó, jugar 22 minutos esta noche. Él jugó bastante bien teniendo en cuenta no tocar durante un largo periodo de tiempo. Terminó la noche con nueve puntos y un plus-2 en la categoría de más/menos.



18

Ofensiva de Oklahoma City fue muy estancada esta noche, terminando con sólo 18 asistencias en su conjunto. La primera mitad fue mucho mejor, con el Thunder moviendo bien la bola y consiguiendo una ventaja de dos dígitos. Oklahoma City tuvo sólo cinco segunda mitad ayuda total.

14

Como ya hemos visto mucho esta temporada, ciudad de Oklahoma fue ofensivamente en la segunda mitad, mientras que superó por 14. Los Nets poner 51 puntos en la segunda mitad, en comparación con sólo 37 por Oklahoma City.

16

El Thunder una vez liderado por 16, en que otro juego perdieron donde condujeron por dos dígitos. Muchos problemas podrían resolverse si este equipo podría mantener el foco durante 48 minutos.

-38

Quizás el número más feo de la noche, arrancadores de Oklahoma City fueron un combinado -38 en la categoría de plus-minus. El único que tuvo una positiva calificación neta era irónicamente, Carmelo Anthony. Steven Adams terminó con un -13 aunque él fue de lejos el mejor jugador de Oklahoma City esta noche, terminando con 12 puntos y 14

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Thunder Digits: OKC squanders another double-digit lead

It was an ugly night in Mexico City as far as the Oklahoma City Thunder were concerned, as they lost an ugly one to the Brooklyn Nets 100-95. The Thunder were without Paul George and Jerami Grant but that doesn’t excuse this outcome. It was a matter of poor shot selection and a lack of effort that contributed to this loss, the 13th of the season for the Thunder. Here are some key numbers in tonight’s loss:

52.2 percent

This was definitely a game changer, as the Thunder shot just 52.2 percent from the charity stripe. They hit just 12 of their 22 attempts. If the Thunder could have just a hit a few more, they probably avoid this awful loss.

32 percent

It was just a night of poor percentages, as Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony combined to shoot 32 percent from the floor. Westbrook hit just 10 of his 27 attempts, while Melo hit only five of his 20 attempts. Rough shooting nights do happen, but a big part of this was just poor shot selection.

16

Even though the Nets made their big run early in the third quarter, Oklahoma City compounded that by playing very poorly in the fourth quarter, only scoring 16 total points. They shot 28 percent in the fourth, while turning the ball over three times as well. Brooklyn meanwhile put up 26 in the fourth, outscoring Oklahoma City by double digits.

22

With two Thunder players out with injuries, Kyle Singler stepped up, playing 22 minutes tonight. He played pretty well considering not playing for a long period of time. He finished the night with nine points and a plus-2 in the plus/minus category.

18

Oklahoma City’s offense was very stagnant tonight, finishing with just 18 assists as a whole. The first half was a lot better, with the Thunder moving the ball well and getting a double-digit lead. Oklahoma City only had five second half assists total.

14

As we have seen a lot this season, Oklahoma City went cold offensively in the second half, while getting outscored by 14. The Nets put up 51 points in the second half, compared to just 37 by Oklahoma City.

16

The Thunder once led by 16, in which another game they lost where they led by double digits. A lot of problems could be solved if this team could keep the focus for 48 minutes.

-38

Maybe the most ugly number of the night, Oklahoma City’s starters were a combined -38 in the plus-minus category. The only one that had a positive net rating was ironically, Carmelo Anthony. Steven Adams finished with a -13 even though he was by far the best player for Oklahoma City tonight, finishing with 12 points and 14 rebounds.

 

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Brooklyn latidos Oklahoma City

Todo lo que era frustrante sobre el Thunder de Oklahoma City llegó a buen puerto en la ciudad de México el jueves por la noche. Los Nets de Brooklyn hacia fuera-trastornó el Oklahoma City Thunder en la ruta a una victoria de 100-95 Nets.

La pérdida deja caer la Ciudad de Oklahoma a 11-13 durante el año, terminando su racha de suerte de tres juegos.

La Ciudad de Oklahoma pareció estar en su camino a su cuarta victoria consecutiva cuando los Thunder participaron en los Juegos de Ciudad de México. Sin embargo, una primera mitad de 16 puntos de plomo como los Thunder saltó 33-17 a principios del primer cuarto. Sin embargo desde allí en, los Thunder desaparecieron de manera ofensiva. El brooklyn lo recortó abajo a nueve antes del descanso, cuando los Thunder sólo condujeron 58-49.

Los Nets luchadas por y tomaron un plomo dentro de poco en la segunda mitad, completando la fusión accidental de Thunder . El brooklyn tomó un 63-62 plomo con 6:19 en un Rondae Hollis-Jefferson retroceden el saltador. Russell Westbrook respondió con una tres aguja grande, dando a los Thunder su plomo y un paseo en el balancín.

El brooklyn comenzó a arrancar cuando

ellos subieron 84-81, su plomo más grande del juego en aquel punto cuando Allen Crabbe corta al cubo con 9:44 abandonado en la regulación. Kyle Singler, sí él está vivo, golpee su segunda tres aguja del juego, amarrándolo en la posesión consiguiente.

Andre Roberson fould Spencer Dimwiddie en unos tres, dando a los Nets un 93-85 plomo sobre los Thunder. La Ciudad de Oklahoma subida atrás a dentro de 94-91 con 3:12 pero no se haría más cercana cuando los Nets liquidarían el juego fuerte.

Westbrook tenía 31 puntos, ocho rebotes y seis asiste en un muy pobre 10 de 27 a disparos.

Fue relatado en Westbrook animoso postal ha sido diagnosticado con una contusión de cadera. Westbrook tenía una colisión en el cuarto cuarto donde él subió una pequeña cojera. El Westbrook jugaría por ello. Sin embargo, cuando Westbrook dejó el suelo después del juego terminado, usted podría ver un tirón en el paso de Westbrook.

Los OKC pegaron un tiro sólo al 39 por ciento del juego y estaban sólo 15 de 52 en la segunda mitad (el 28.8 por ciento).

Sin Paul George y Jerami Grant, Se esperó que Carmelo Anthony aumentara pero él salió en cambio. Anthony terminó 5 de 20 del suelo para 11 puntos y 11 rebotes. Él estaba 1 de 6 en la segunda mitad.

Steven Adams añadió 12 puntos y 14 rebotes para la Ciudad de Oklahoma, pero era en gran parte no usado en la segunda mitad. Él no jugó hasta 12 minutos.

La Ciudad de Oklahoma tomará un equipo de Osos pardos Memphis herido en Memphis el sábado por la noche. Esto es un a las 20h00 indicación. Seguiremos teniendo su cobertura de día animosa aquí y en nuestros medios sociales.

Tres Llaves al Juego

Pérdidas de balon: D

La Ciudad de Oklahoma sólo forzó 13 volúmenes de ventas en un equipo que lo vuelca aproximadamente 17 veces un juego. Los Thunder lucharon en este lado de la pelota. La ofensa de los Thunder es predecated en forzar volúmenes de ventas y entrar en la transición. Ellos no hicieron esto esta noche y para que, ellos se van a casa con una pérdida.

La Banca: D

Mientras Raymond Felton mostró con siete puntos en el tercer cuarto y Kyle el Singler tenía unos nueve puntos altos de temporada, esto es realmente sobre ello para el banco ofensivo de los Thunder. Sólo 29 puntos se combinaron y los Thunder no aumentaron. Mientras los Thunder eran cortos dado, ellos realmente defraudan a sus compañeros de equipo.

Llegar a la línea de tiros libres: F

La Ciudad de Oklahoma fue 12 de 23 de la línea de tiro libre. Usted hace la mitad de aquellas señoritas y la Ciudad de Oklahoma gana este juego. Steven Adams y Carmelo Anthony ambos perdieron dos tiros libres en los cinco minutos finales del juego. Absolutamente inaceptable.

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Brooklyn out hustles Oklahoma City

Everything that was frustrating about the Oklahoma City Thunder came to fruition in Mexico City on Thursday night. The Brooklyn Nets out-hustled the Oklahoma City Thunder en route to a 100-95 Nets victory.

The loss drops Oklahoma City to 11-13 on the year, ending their three-game winning streak.

Oklahoma City appeared to be on their way to their fourth straight victory as the Thunder participated in the Mexico City Games. However, a 16-point first half lead as the Thunder jumped up 33-17 early in the first quarter. However from there on out, the Thunder disappeared offensively. Brooklyn trimmed it down to nine by halftime, as the Thunder only led 58-49.

The Nets fought through and took a lead shortly into the second half, completing the Thunder meltdown. Brooklyn took a 63-62 lead with 6:19 on a Rondae Hollis-Jefferson step back jumper. Russell Westbrook responded with a big three-pointer, giving the Thunder their lead and a ride on the seesaw.

Brooklyn started to pull away when they went up 84-81, their largest lead of the game at that point when Allen Crabbe cut to the bucket with 9:44 left in regulation. Kyle Singler, yeah he’s alive, hit his second three-pointer of the game, tying it up on the ensuing possession.

Andre Roberson fould Spencer Dimwiddie on a three, giving the Nets an 93-85 lead over the Thunder. Oklahoma City climbed back to within 94-91 with 3:12 but would get no closer as the Nets would close out the game strong.

Westbrook had 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists on a very poor 10-of-27 shooting.

It was reported in the post game Westbrook has been diagnosed with a hip contusion. Westbrook had a collision in the fourth quarter where he came up a little limp. Westbrook would play through it. However, as Westbrook left the floor after the game ended, you could see a hitch in Westbrook’s step.

OKC shot just 39 percent from the game and were only 15-of-52 in the second half (28.8 percent).

With no Paul George and Jerami Grant, Carmelo Anthony was expected to step up but he stepped out instead. Anthony finished 5-of-20 from the floor for 11 points and 11 rebounds. He was 1-of-6 in the second half.

Steven Adams added 12 points and 14 rebounds for Oklahoma City but was largely unused in the second half. He didn’t even play 12 minutes.

Oklahoma City will take on a wounded Memphis Grizzlies team in Memphis on Saturday night. That’s an 8 p.m. tip-off. We’ll continue to have your game day coverage here and on our social media.

Keys to the Game

Turnovers: D

Oklahoma City only forced 13 turnovers on a team that turns it over about 17 times a game. The Thunder struggled on this side of the ball. The Thunder’s offense is predecated on forcing turnovers and getting into transition. They did not do that tonight and for that, they’re going home with a loss.

Bench: D

While Raymond Felton showed out with seven points in the third quarter and Kyle Singler had a season high nine points, that’s really about it for the Thunder’s offensive bench. Only 29 points combined and the Thunder didn’t step up. While the Thunder were short handed, they really let their teammates down.

Free throw line: F

Oklahoma City went 12-of-23 from the free throw line. You make half of those misses and Oklahoma City wins this game. Steven Adams and Carmelo Anthony both missed two free throws in the final five minutes of the game. Absolutely unacceptable.

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Thunder and NBA season predictions

The NBA season starts tonight as the Cavs and the Celtics play. Then, the Rockets and the Warriors give us a nice night cap. So, every year we try to do these predictions. Sometimes, we’re pretty spot on and probably more often than not, we’re wrong. When I say “we” I really mean Chuck. So, here are some predictions for the upcoming Thunder season. Please hold us accountable.

Thunder Predictions

Thunder rank top 3 in efficiency

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s offense last season, while potent wasn’t very efficient. In fact, they were 17th last season. You compare that to the seasons in which Kevin Durant was on the roster, they were consistently in the top five. The Thunder return this season with the help of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Russell Westbrook doesn’t have to do it on his own.

No starter misses more than five games

When I say starter, I mean: Westbrook; Roberson; George; Anthony; Adams. With Anthony, this could be a stretch. The man hasn’t played 82 games since his rookie year. He’s missed at least five games a season for the last 11 seasons. Outside of bone crushing injuries, the other four have only missed games here and there. I do think with Anthony not having to carry so much of the load, this could be the season where he plays 80 or so games.

Andre Roberson makes first team All-Defense

Roberson showed why he’s a lock down defender last year. While his offensive prowess is the opposite of that, his defensive decisions show why the Thunder gambled on bringing him back. He’s a defensive juggernaut and the Thunder need him in there. The media rewards him this season.

The Thunder trade Kyle Singler

I have zero basis off this. It’s just a random thought. He provides little to no production. That in turns does not equal worth his monetary gain. If this was a spreadsheet, Kyle Singler would be in bankruptcy.

Paul George goes 48-40-85

I know the 50-40-90 club is the exclusive club. While George isn’t that prolific of a free throw shooter, his other numbers will improve. In the preseason, he’s two-thirds there. He only shot 40 percent from the field. However, shot 85 percent from the charity stripe and 45.8 percent from the three-point line.

Thunder win at least 50 games

While there is all I said above, the Thunder will still climb at least to 50 wins and I’m going to say it’s closer to 55 victories.

No big trades at the deadline

We’re used to seeing Oklahoma City make something happen at the deadline every year. They may as well do it again this season. However, I do believe it’ll be something minimal if they do.

Three All-Stars for Oklahoma City

The Big Three all get selected to the NBA All-Star teams this season — Russell Westbrook as a starter.

Oklahoma City splits with Dubs in regular season

Oklahoma City and the Warriors play four times this season. I do think we see Oklahoma City end their seven-game losing streak to the Warriors this season. I’m going on a limb and saying the Thunder split with the Warriors.

No MVP or first team All-NBA for Westbrook

With his help arrived, the reigning MVP winner, Russell Westbrook doesn’t need to go 1,000 mph this season. He might not average 30 points per game. Westbrook, because of this will not win the MVP, nor will he make the first team All-NBA. He’ll definitely make the second team.

Oklahoma City finished third in the West

The Thunder have some molding to do. There are questions about the bench and the Big Three still need time to gel. We are going to see some early season growing pains and that’ll end up being some more losses than some expected.

Oklahoma City makes the Western Conference Finals

It’s going to come down to the Thunder and the Warriors in the West. Oklahoma City and Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors for a chance to play for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

The Thunder win it all

I don’t know why I do this. They probably won’t but I just hope they will. The pieces are here. Maybe the Warriors will have a few bad games of shooting vs. Oklahoma City or someone? Who knows. I’m gonna stick with this though. They’ll beat the Celtics in Cavaliers games.

NBA league predictions

MVP: Kevin Durant, Golden State

I don’t really have a reason for this, I just think this will end up being the best candidate. Westbrook’s numbers will be diluted. Curry won’t win again.

Rookie of the Year: Lonzo Ball

I think he’ll top Ben Simmons for the award.

Divisional Winners

  • Atlantic: Boston Celtics
    • While The Raptors will already have chemistry in place, I think Boston’s firepower is too much to topple in that division.
  • Central: Cleveland Cavaliers
    • Enough said. Though, I do think Milwaukee could keep things interesting.
  • Southeast: Washington Wizards
    • Scott Brooks has this team ready to go. John Wall has a chip on his shoulder. The Wizards almost won 50 games last year. Watch out for the Wiz kids.
  • Northwest: Oklahoma City Thunder
    • Russell Westbrook and the rest of the Big Three roll to a divisional crown over Minnesota and Denver in a tight race.
  • Southwest: Houston Rockets
    • Even though the San Antonio Spurs have won six of the last seven divisional championships, it’ll be James Harden and the Rockets this season.
  • Pacific: Golden State Warriors
    • How how I wish I could write anyone else in here.

Playoffs:

East

  1. Washington Wizards
  2. Cleveland Cavaliers
  3. Boston Celtics
  4. Toronto Raptors
  5. Milwaukee Bucks
  6. Philadelphia 76ers
  7. Charlotte Hornets
  8. Miami Heat

West

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. Houston Rockets
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder
  4. San Antonio Spurs
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves
  6. L.A. Clippers
  7. Denver Nuggets
  8. Portland Trail Blazers

Playoffs

East

First Round

  • Washington over Miami
  • Cleveland over Charlotte
  • Boston over Philadelphia
  • Milwaukee over Toronto

Second Round

  • Washington over Milwaukee
  • Cleveland over Boston

Conference Finals

  • Cleveland over Boston

West

First Round

  • Golden State over Portland
  • Houston over Denver
  • Oklahoma City over L.A.
  • Minnesota over San Antonio

Second Round

  • Golden State over Minnesota
  • Oklahoma City over Houston

Conference Finals

  • Oklahoma City over Golden State

NBA Finals

  • Oklahoma City over Cleveland
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Oklahoma City Thunder sign Yannis Morin

The Oklahoma City Thunder have signed Yannis Morin to a one-year deal according to BeBasket.

Morin, 23, played in the French Pro B last season for Le Havre. He averaged 6.8 points per game on 40.6 percent shooting. He also pulled down 7.4 rebounds in 24 minutes per game. During summer league for the Thunder, Morin averaged only 2.2 points in 13.5 minutes per game backing up Dakari Johnson.

Morin has never played by the French national team but did play with the U-18 team in 2010.

It’s assumed this is a training camp agreement as the Thunder already 16 committed roster spots. They still can waive Semaj Christon and potentially Kyle Singler. They could stretch Singler’s contract up to seven years.

Oklahoma City often invites 2-3 players into camp with the intention of going to the G-League‘s Oklahoma City Blue. With Johnson going to Oklahoma City, the Blue will have a void at center.

Training camp will start at the end of September, which the league starting at one of the earliest days in recent NBA history.

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Thunder interested in Michael Carter-Williams

Royce Young of ESPN reported on Friday afternoon the Thunder have interest in the No. 11 pick in the 2013 Draft. Michael Carter-Williams is a target for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Not a shooter, nor is he a really good defender, Carter-Williams can provide a back-up role that Semaj Christon maybe could not. Christon became a liability in the playoffs and struggled so much, Russell Westbrook eventually played 40-plus minutes in the playoffs. Not a good idea for a player who goes 100 mph at a time.

Carter-Williams, 25, has hopped around the league a bit after finally being traded out of Philadelphia. He’s played with two different teams the last two seasons, in Milwaukee and in Chicago last season.

With the Bulls, Carter-Williams appeared in 45 games and only averaged 6.6 points per game, a career low, on 18.8 points per game, also a career low. His shooting percentages in Chicago were career lows across the board and in comparing per-36 minute numbers, Carter-Williams is a border line NBA player at best.

(per-36 stats)

Player A: 12.6 points on 36.6 percent from the field and 23.4 percent from three-point range.

Player B: 8.2 points on 41.1 percent from the field and 18.9 percent from three.

Player A is Carter-Williams and Player B is Kyle Singler. There isn’t a lot separating the two.

However, compared to Christon, Carter-Williams is a much needed upgrade and probably at a really cheap price.

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Player Grades: The bench

The Thunder certainly had a season that they can be proud of after the slap in the face that ruined July 4 for Thunder fans everywhere.

There are several gaps that need to be filled if this team hopes to compete for a title during the Westbrook era, assuming he signs the “super max” deal this July which would be the biggest contract in NBA history. The Thunder made headlines at the trade deadline after acquiring Doug McDermott and Taj Gibson from the Bulls in exchange for Anthony Morrow and Cameron Payne, which was a steal for the organization in terms of what the Thunder were lacking which was a sharp shooter from three to spread the floor and a veteran big man with experience to bring positive energy to the locker room.

Even though the trade was in the Thunder’s favor, they still lack a deep and productive secondary unit to get the weight off Westbrook’s shoulders. Fans who religiously watch Thunder basketball all have that one player that comes to mind that when they are on the court or have the ball in their hands, they make you want to throw the remote at the TV.

Here we rank and grade the Thunder’s bench  players of the 2016-17 season in terms of productivity and minutes played per game.

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