The Thunder can't sustain a defensive effort, can't close out properly on shooters, can't stop dribble penetration, can't grab a rebound in crunch time and can't consistently make 3-pointers.
Yet, for all Oklahoma City supposedly can't do, it sports a 33-17 record through 50 games.
But that seems to be overshadowed, lost somewhere in the haze of heightened expectations.
The Thunder, though, now enters the season's home stretch sitting atop the Northwest division, in fourth place in the Western Conference standings and on pace to win four more games than last year's 50-win team.
It's obvious the Thunder hasn't played as well as it would like. OKC has become an offensive-oriented team rather than racking up victories through its preferred defensive philosophy.
The Thunder is averaging 104.6 points and allowing 102.6. Opponents are shooting 46.8 percent against the Thunder. Only seven teams allow a higher percentage. Only eight teams yield a higher percentage from the 3-point line than OKC's 37.2 percent.
Each of those figures is far higher than the Thunder's totals from a year ago. That can't be dismissed when evaluating the team's performance.
But there is something to be said for a ballclub that wins despite its warts.
For the Thunder, these mounting victories in the face of imperfect performances should be viewed as more of a positive than a negative; the next step in the team's growth.
Oklahoma City's 5-0 record in overtime and 17-6 mark in games decided by six points or less proves it is not only winning, but also understanding how to win.
That shouldn't go unnoticed.
Neither should individual improvement. As tempting as it is to want to rush the Thunder to championship contender status, OKC simply isn't there yet. This season still is more about player development for a squad of 20-somethings, and Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Eric Maynor have grown in many facets.
Although the Thunder's erratic defense has been an eyesore at times, there are two reasons for optimism going forward. Thunder players haven't thrown in the towel on establishing a defensive identity. And they've shown at times that they can still be a shutdown defensive team.
So long as the Thunder continues to stick with it, chalk up these worrisome wins to character building — no matter how hard on the eyes they may be.
“I'm pleased with the guys' effort,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks following Game 50 in Phoenix. “One of the things we talked about going into the season was to play every game as hard as you can. I can only count a few games where we didn't have the energy it takes to win an NBA game. We play extremely hard most nights.
“We're not always perfect on either end of the floor.”
THUNDER BAROMETER Two seasons ago, through 50 games: 12-38 (.240) Last season, through 50 games: 29-21 (.580) This season, through 50 games: 33-17 (.660) On pace for: 54-28 Current playoff seeding: No. 4