Oklahoma City Building a winner’s defensive base

The Thunder are still very early in their rebuilding, but the defensive foundations are laid for success in the years to come.

Despite being just 6-9, Oklahoma City has the 13th best defensive rating in the league despite not having a traditional center on the roster.

Sam presti has built a list of long bullet handlers, which pair well with the long Shai Gilgeous-Alexandre and Lu Dort’s physical defensive style to form an aspiring defense, despite being the youngest group in the NBA.

Marc Daigneault and his coaching staff deserve a lot of credit, as they quickly implemented their defense and made it fit for the roster, allowing either Derrick favors, Jérémie Robinson-Earl Where Mike Muscala succeed as a downward defensive anchor.

However, the navigation has not always been easy for the Thunder defense.

Oklahoma City started off with an incredibly tough streak, allowing 113.4 points per game in its first five games.

Since OKC’s first win over the Lakers in Game 5, the Thunder have brought things down on the defensive end of the floor. The Thunder have allowed just 101.1 points per game in the last 10 games, and Oklahoma City has had the league’s third-best defensive rating in that span.

Even more impressive, five of OKC’s 15 games this season have been contested against the Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat, all of which are in the top four in terms of NBA offensive standings. this season.

The Oklahoma City roster still lacks firepower, which is to be expected from the team that punters in Las Vegas had ranked as the second-worst team in the league via pre-season win totals. season, but excellent defense will pave the way for success on the road as the Thunder Core enters the playoff race.

Not so long ago, a young and courageous Oklahoma City team bursting with youthful enthusiasm was led by Kevin Durant, Russell westbrook and James harden. And while this core possessed much more offensive firepower than the current OKC’s three greats, Gilgeous-Alexander, Dort and Josh GiddeyThey too wanted to lead with defense, allowing defensive saves to make way for a much easier attack at the other end of the field.

OKC will have a brief reprieve as it now heads to Boston, which has ranked No. 20 in the league in offensive standings, before being tested again against Young Traé and his No. 5 Atlanta Hawks offense.

Still, the Thunder’s defense can improve as they continue to solidify and figure out how the other wants to play within the system, which could be an exciting idea for the franchise once they do. she will have found another goalscorer to add to the mix.

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