Twenty games is a pretty common benchmark at which point we assess how remixed teams are doing. The Thunder, at the 20-game mark, remain a riddle. Coming in with high expectations after adding Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, Oklahoma City sits at 8-12. Russell Westbrook and his two new co-stars have all shaved down their output to fit each other in, but it isn’t translating into consistent victory.
After a blowout win over the rival Warriors, OKC was edged by the Pistons in a nail-biter, then blasted by the lowly Mavericks and skidding Magic. This is bad. Those two most recent losses have whittled down the Thunder’s saving grace — their positive overall scoring margin, which now stands at +3.
But beyond the bad losses and the crunch-time woes, the real core concern here is that the three stars really have not clicked yet. The regular starting lineup — one that features Westbrook, George, Anthony, Steven Adams, and Andre Roberson — has been atrocious on offense for the season. In 270 minutes, that five-man unit is scoring 99.2 points per 100 possessions, per NBA.com.
The only two teams with lower offensive ratings this season are the Kings and Bulls. Have you watched the Kings or Bulls on offense? Yeah. A unit starring Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony ought to be a little more effective than that.
Nikola Jokic’s ankle injury is just a sprain, but he’s expected to miss “several games” because of it, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. MRI results came back negative.
The Nuggets are already without power forward Paul Millsap, who had surgery on a torn ligament in his wrist, for three months. Depending on how many games Jokic misses, this could seriously hurt the team’s chances of claiming a playoff spot.
The injury appeared much worse at first glance, so the Nuggets should be thankful they’ll get Jokic back this season.