The Oklahoma City Thunder has had a rough start to their season. The new look team who added Paul George and Carmelo Anthony at the start of this season, has started their season 4-7 and dipped to 12th place in the Western Conference. November has been especially rough because the Thunder has been in the midst of a four game losing streak and haven’t won since Halloween.
But is it time to panic if you’re the Thunder? Hell no! It would be fashionable for a Thunder fan or player or someone in the front office to play the “Chicken Little” role and yell “The sky is falling!” But it’s just 11 games into the season and the team is having to adjust to 2/5 of its starting lineup being completely brand new. I know everyone assumes their team need to go 82-0 and sweep the playoffs in order to have a successful season but they have a lot of time to turn this around and get back to what they view is a successful season.
It’s also easy to point fingers and say it’s Melo’s fault or Russell Westbrook’s fault or to say that Billy Donovan just doesn’t have it anymore. And if you want to hear those takes, go watch First Take or a sports talk radio show and hear people scream and yell and treat every win or loss as either the Thunder is winning the NBA Championship or that they are the worst team ever, go there. But the Thunder is struggling due to a very unattractive and boring reason that may not be sexy to a hot take artist, but it’s true.
Look at the Thunder’s schedule the first 11 games. It’s unrealistic to believe they could go 11-0. The Thunder is currently on a stretch where they have been traveling six of their last seven games dating back to October 27. And that one home game in between is against the 10-2 NBA best record Boston Celtics. Their away games were against Timberwolves, Bulls, Bucks, (Celtics home), Blazers, Kings and Nuggets.
In the start of their road trek, Oklahoma City won two of their first three and scored more than 100 all three games. After losing to the Celtics 101-94, the Thunder has failed to score 100 since and lost all their games. Thankfully for the Thunder, that road trip is finished and they are back in OKC for a three game stretch against the LA Clippers, Mavericks and Bulls. The Mavs and Bulls have a league low two wins each and the Clippers aren’t that much better at 5-5. If the Thunder find a way to lose to those three teams, maybe something is wrong. I’m just not seeing that happen.
Finally, it’s freaking November. The NBA regular season is meant for survival and the best teams are going to lose at some point. There is still five months left in the regular season and over half the teams in the West will make the playoffs. I’m pretty confident the Thunder won’t miss the playoffs. Sure, a lower seed will make for a tougher path through the playoffs but the regular season is so watered down that whatever issues a team has, as long as they are dealt with and fixed by March and enter the playoffs with momentum, they’ll be fine.
So it’s not time to panic if you are with the Thunder. There’s plenty of time to naturally turn this around without any drastic changes. The bigger danger would be to make drastic changes before it’s necessary and hurting the team even more. At this point, don’t worry, the Thunder will be fine.