What's Ailing the Oklahoma City Thunder?

By David LaRose
Gary A. Vasquez- USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to argue against the notion that the Oklahoma City Thunder are one of the best teams in the NBA, if not the outright best.

The talent that they have is top notch with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka leading the youth movement in OKC. They came close to winning it all last season and they are on pace to once again make a return trip to the NBA Finals.

The Thunder may have the second best record in the NBA at 34-11 but in their last three games they are just a mediocre 3-3. So what is the main reason for their recent struggles? In the games that they have lost each one of their opponents scored over 100 points and shot at least 44% from the field.

To make matters worse the Thunder committed 53 total turnovers in those three losses, which directly led to 55 points. Westbrook was the main turnover culprit, committing 17 in the three losses but with Westbrook you have to take the bad with the good and it’s usually more of the latter. However, as the point guard Westbrook is prone to more turnovers because the offense runs through him. The fourth year guard is the catalyst in the Thunder’s offense but he needs to be a bit more careful with the ball while continuing to put up his solid assist numbers (9.2 apg in last 5 games).

Head coach Scott Brooks has a lot of talent at his disposal and there’s no doubt that he’s been effective managing that talent so far in his fifth season in OKC. What Brooks needs to do is to motivate his young guys to play a little better defense down the stretch or else it will lead to more close losses. As of right now the Thunder are just middle-of-the-pack defensively allowing 97.3 ppg, which is good for 16th best in the NBA.

If OKC can play just a little better defensively there’s no team that can really stand in their way of making a return to the NBA Finals.

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