Thursday, December 2 is a day that will go down in the history of the NBA and especially the Oklahoma City Thunder.
On that day, the Thunder lost to the Memphis Grizzlies in spectacular fashion with a final score of 152-79.
The Thunder’s 73-point loss is the largest in NBA history.
Even the team’s post-game tweet was depressing.
regroup and back at it Monday pic.twitter.com/xNhPToSr83
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) December 3, 2021
While the Thunder never had a night as bad as that, they were already in a lot of trouble before the beatdown from Memphis.
There is no doubt that right now the Thunder are the NBA’s worst team – but there is some reason for hope.
Their Offense Is Offensive
In the last four of five games, the Thunder have scored 100 points only once, showcasing the fact that the team’s offense is an absolute mess.
In fact, the Thunder currently score an average of 98.1 points a game, putting them at the bottom of the league.
Among the more troubling statistics about the offense: last in field-goal percentage (40.7 percent) and second to last in three-point percentage (30.2 percent).
Overall, their offensive rating is 99.1 which is, once again, the worst in NBA.
In other words, they are getting shut down from pretty much everywhere on the court.
No Defense For Their Defense
When a team is scoring 152 points against you, you know that your defense is lacking.
OKC has been having defensive problems all season long so this is nothing new.
However, although they are the worst team in the league, their defense rating isn’t as bad as you might expect.
With a rating of 109.6, they are in the middle of the pack.
In fact, the Thunder have a better defensive rating than 11 other teams including the Portland Trail Blazers, Atlanta Hawks, and, yes, the Grizzlies.
There is room for improvement here – and cause for some optimism too.
The Thunder are ninth in the league for defensive rebounds and 10th for overall rebounds.
Plus, they’re 14th for blocks which isn’t amazing but it certainly isn’t dead last.
In other words, the Thunder obviously have the right pieces to keep improving their defensive skills and that’s very necessary if they want to climb out of this hole.
The Future Is Bright?
The good news is that the Thunder are obviously in the midst of a massive rebuilding process that will take time but it should make them much better in just a season or two.
They have a lot of promise, including with some exceptional, young star players.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a fantastic team leader who scored 30 points and 13 assists the other night against the Detroit Pistons.
Lu Dort has been downright spectacular most of the time and has become one of the more reliable and scary shooters in the entire league.
Rookie player Josh Giddey has been impressive all season and is now in contention for Rookie of the Year.
Josh Giddey has these occasional, high level flashes of mid range shot making. The extent to which he can build on those flashes will play a big part in what outcome he reaches pic.twitter.com/3bCANxtHgM
— Draft Dummies (@DraftDummies) December 7, 2021
The Thunder have a lot of puzzle pieces that will come together with the proper development and nurturing.
Teams in a rebuilding mode are going to have ugly moments and that’s exactly what the Thunder have been experiencing all season, again and again and again.
But hopefully, there is a rainbow at the end of this storm.