Thunder notebook: Jeff Van Gundy says OKC achieving to its talent level, calls preseason predictions 'silly'
Former NBA coach and current ESPN/ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy says predictions that the Thunder would jump from 50 to 60 wins were "silly," and called that the hardest jump to make. "I think people were expecting far too much from this team."
Some prognosticators picked the Thunder to win 60 games. Others had OKC meeting the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
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But ESPN analyst and former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy on Monday said those predictions were unreasonable from the start.
â€œI think some of the expectations were so silly,â€ Van Gundy said during a teleconference discussing his network's Christmas Day lineup. â€œPeople were acting like it's easy to go from 50 to 60 wins. And that's like the hardest jump to make.â€
After a mediocre 5-4 start that was marred by dismal defense, the Thunder is now on pace for 56 wins. And Van Gundy said Oklahoma City is right where it should be.
â€œI don't think they're underachieving this year,â€ Van Gundy said. â€œI think they're achieving at a great rate. I think they're achieving to their talent level. I think people were expecting far too much from this team, and anybody saying they're underachieving was not probably objective from the start about where they should be.â€
KRSTIC CLOSE TO RETURNING
Thunder center Nenad Krstic could return from a five-game absence for tonight's game at Charlotte. Krstic hasn't played since a 111-103 win at Minnesota on Dec. 8 because of a back injury.
But Thunder coach Scott Brooks said Krstic has increased the rigor of his workouts and is close to returning to the lineup. Krstic has began doing more on-court workouts against teammates, and the team will determine whether Krstic can play tonight after evaluating him following the team's shootaround today.