For Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, their position seems to be one that could be a whole lot worse. Compared to previous years, the West is a lot weaker, with teams like the Spurs, Clippers, and Grizzlies no longer a threat to the crown. Internally, the speculation regarding Paul George’s next move has simmered to near nothingness, leaving the team to finally focus basketball for the first time this season. Plus, with a record of 37-28, the team stands only one game back from the third seed in the conference.
So, bearing all those things in consideration, it’s clear to recognize that the Oklahoma City Thunder really could have it a whole lot worse right now.
Still, it doesn’t mean things are perfect. In fact, things are very far from it. One incriminating stat, pointed out by Sports Illustrated, may reflect that their current record is a bit of a hoax and reveals why this team should be very uneasy about their current standing.
Simply put, the Thunder haven’t beaten a good team in a long time. Apparently, OKC hasn’t won against a fellow playoff team since February 6th, nearly a month ago. Since then, they have lost to all winning teams they have played while barely scraped out wins over lottery opponents.
Saturday’s eight-point loss to the Blazers (in which PG and Westbrook combined for 51 points) was just the latest example of what’s been happening for weeks now. With Carmelo Anthony and Andre Roberson dealing with injuries, there’s no telling when the pattern will end.
But as the playoffs draw closer, being barely good enough to beat lottery teams is not the place any franchise wants to be. No doubt, this stretch of basketball should be one that deeply worries them… especially with the important summer they have lying ahead of them.
The question now resides in what happens next. Where do they go from here, knowing the assembly of pieces they currently hold will never be good enough? Fortunately for us, that’s the question only Sam Presti will have to figure out.