OKC Thunder: The good, the bad and the ugly

A look at areas where the Thunder has succeeded, been subpar and, well, stunk
BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.com Published: February 16, 2012
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A look at areas where the Thunder has succeeded, been subpar and, well, stunk.

THE GOOD

Defensive field-goal percentage. The Thunder ranks fourth in the league in this department, holding teams to just 42.5 percent shooting. OKC also is a top-10 team in opposing 3-point percentage (32.3 percent). Coupled with the Thunder's league-leading 7.8 blocked shots per game, the success in those categories have formed the makings of an elite defensive team.


Offensive efficiency. The Thunder ranks third in scoring average (101.2 points per game), second in field goal percentage (47.3 percent) and second in offensive efficiency, or points per 100 possessions (105.4). Though things seem to stagnant at times, the Thunder's offense is clearly one of the best in the league.

Points in the paint. Here's something that might surprise you. The Thunder ranks sixth in this category at 42.8 points per game. Not bad for a “jump-shooting team” void of a low-post scorer, huh? And get this. OKC is sandwiched between Miami (43 per game) and Chicago (42.6 per game), widely heralded as the two best teams from the East, if not the league.

THE BAD

Assists are down. The Thunder ranks 27th in assists at 18.1 per game. Last year, the Thunder was at 20.4 a night. More disturbing is the Thunder has tallied more turnovers than assists in 12 games this season.

Free throws down. A big part of the Thunder's offensive success relies on getting to the foul line and making teams pay. Yet the Thunder is shooting 2.2 fewer free throws this season, and the connection rate has dipped from 82.3 percent to 79.3 percent. Still, the Thunder's conversion rate continues to lead the league, while the team's average attempts remain in the top three.

Not forcing turnovers. This is really where the Thunder becomes dangerous, when stops on defense get turned into scoring chances. But the Thunder's 7.6 steals are down 0.4 from a year ago. Meanwhile opponents' 14.2- average turnovers are up 0.2 from last season, but with turnovers up throughout the league the Thunder has fallen from 16th in opponent turnovers last season to just 23rd this year.

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