Oklahoma City is off to their worst start since the 2014-15 season.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are two games below .500 and set in the ninth spot of the Western Conference, just outside the playoffs. It’s a far cry from where the basketball world thought they would be 26 games into to this season.
Paul George seems to be at a loss in explaining his team’s recent struggles, telling reporters “It’s getting to a point where we can’t allow ourselves to be at this point. We can say we’re going to figure it out, we can say all that, but at some point, it’s gotta stop.”
Gotta stop? How about it’s gotta start? The Thunder have bonafide superstars, stars that supposedly admire and like each other. In the banana boat age, that should be enough to make you more than competitive. However, this group seems to be lacking the critical element that Golden State figured out a long time ago.
Kevin Durant expressed on his way out the door that the Warriors love fest was one of the main reasons he left OKC for the left coast.
The Thunder are hitting the road for the next three games starting tonight with Paul George’s homecoming in Indiana. George knows the crowd will treat him to the same reception that greeted KD when he returned to The Peak. What we don’t yet know is to what extent his teammates rally behind him. Carmelo Anthony was quick to point out that picking on George amounts to picking on the Thunder. If that is true, then we might see some life in this team who looks they are grinding towards the end of the season heading into the playoffs. All of which would be fine, if it wasn’t December.
George says Oklahoma City is enjoying the battles and “everything that brought this team together.” But what really brought this team together? This wasn’t an organic process like Thunder teams before, or even three guys “clouding” the way the Heat did in 2010. It was trading guys like Victor Oladipo, who Billy Donovan touts for the hard work he was putting in during the offseason, and Enes Kanter, who not only produced on the offensive end but was maybe the most likable guy in the locker room.
There is nothing natural about this version of the Thunder, and it shows in the lackluster performances they’ve racked up this season. Despite the schedule not being kind to Oklahoma City, this road trip can’t come a moment too soon. Maybe George returning to a bloodthirsty Pacer fan base, and Melo returning to Madison Square Garden might give the Thunder something to rally around. If that doesn’t do the trick, then maybe Sam Presti pushes the panic button along with his critics.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!