OKC Thunder Hold Players Only Meeting After Rough Start to Season
A loss to the Denver Nuggets to go 0-6 against Western Conference opponents was the last straw for the Oklahoma City Thunder, as the team held a closed door, players meeting on Thursday night.
“It was just good to get everything out on the table,” said Paul George. “Especially where we’re at right now, it’s no good if we’re bottling it up. Because then we could carry it over to the next game and the next game. Just leave everything out in the open.”
“I don’t think it’s frustration among ourselves,” back-up point guard Raymond Felton said. “It’s just frustration about losing. We got a lot of guys who hate to lose, a lot of guys who are big competitors. That’s a good spirit to have. I’ll take that all day. If we’re not frustrated, then that’s a big problem.”
As the Thunder attempt to find some sort of consistency, their Big 3 has struggled, averaging less than 60-points a game combined, shooting 42% from the field and 35.5% from three-point range. The struggle of becoming a winning team built around three ball-dominate players has struck the Thunder early on, and while it may be a tad premature to panic, things do not look particularly good at the moment.
“Obviously every year, every season you go through adversity,” Russell Westbrook said. “Right now we’re going through ours.”
Ranking 25th in points per game, 20th in offensive rating, and 19th in pace of play, the Thunder offence has suffered from lack of depth, floor spacing, and shooting ability – both within and beyond the three-point arc in which categories the Thunder rank 21st.
“It can either go two ways,” Carmelo Anthony said. “We can let this one sit in our heads and think about it or we can put it behind us and move forward and get ready for tomorrow. That’s the beauty of being in this league and having so many games. I know we complain about back-to-backs, but sometimes the back-to-backs is in our favor as players, because you get a chance to put that game behind you and look forward to the next game.”
As the season moves on, the Thunder will need to refine their offensive system to find a fit not only for their three superstars, but everyone else. Thankfully, the Thunder rank second in points allowed and 10th in defensive rating, meaning a steady improvement on the offensive side of the ball can make the Thunder a contender.
The only question that remains is, can they do it?