|7 Overall||16 Overall|
Stats through Jan. 15
Kevin Durant is the league's scoring leader once again and the focal point of the attack. Jeff Green is solid but out of position at power forward, while Nenad Krstic fills his role.
Russell Westbrook is one of the best point guards around, a nightly triple-double threat. Thabo Sefolosha is the designated perimeter stopper.
The biggest falloff this season has been here. OKC is in the bottom third in points allowed and field-goal percentage defense, plus opponents are out-rebounding the Thunder.
James Harden, Serge Ibaka, Eric Maynor and Nick Collison are a strong base for the second unit. It's not a surprise to see Harden, Ibaka and Collison on the floor in crunch time.
Scott Brooks, the reigning Coach of the Year, might not have the Thunder executing on all cylinders, but they're winning games at a higher rate than last season's 50-victory breakthrough.
Instead of being in the running for just a playoff spot, Oklahoma City is making a case for the Northwest title. The league's most-talented young roster is learning what it takes to win, even on nights when they're not at their best. Kevin Durant has embraced the role of team leader despite being 22.
Brooks has set a system where defense is the foundation, but it hasn't been up to snuff so far this season. OKC has gotten by on their ability to score probably more than Brooks cares to admit. Durant and Westbrook form the league's highest-scoring tandem, with Green and Harden also capable of filling it up.
OKC has been relatively healthy and goes into the second half realizing that there's still plenty of room for improvement. A division title and top-four seed in the West is there for the taking, which would leave the Thunder in good position to make some noise in the playoffs.
-- Art Garcia
Explanation of Marking System