The Thunder have been nothing if not a team in transition all season. I’m not sure what version we are on but change has been constant. First we had a coaching change after game 13. During P.J.’s little sip of water with the Thunder this season the team was absolutely anemic on offense (92.5 offensive rating) and a bit above average defensively, using a lot of gimmicky zone defense (105.7 defensive rating). The offense was beyond terrible, running and gunning but inefficient and only scoring more than 90 points 4 times in those thirteen games, and only going over 100 once. Blowouts were the norm. I guess that was Thunder version 1.0.
Next came version 2.0 with Scotty Brooks in charge. The offense immediately took a huge jump in efficiency. Spacing was improved and the team began to attack the basket and get a bit slower and more deliberate. The defense meanwhile was completely destructed. The zone defense was sent to the shelf, double teaming was rare, and man to man was the order of the day. The results were pretty spotty. In Brooks’ first dozen or so games the defense performed terribly, but it was sort of overshadowed by so much offensive improvement. The team began to get blown out a lot less frequently.
Brooks also was tweaking the lineup. Out of the rotation were Johan Petro, Chris Wilcox and Damien Wilkins. Durant went to the small forward position, Green the starter at the 3, and Collison manned the post. Desmond Mason finally solidified himself as our best defensive two, and Westbrook moved in as the starting 1. Things began to gel.
The team lit fire around the coming of the New Year and began to play .500 ball, which is saying something when you start the season 3-29. The team also plucked Nenad Krstic from Euro purgatory and began working him in. Brooks brought in assistant Ron Adams to help with defense. Keep Reading…