After playing out 15 games, The Oklahoma City Thunder currently hold the a top 20 offensive rating in the NBA, scoring an exact 111 points per 100 possessions. They are led by their franchise cornerstone, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is averaging 42.4 points per 100 possessions on a ridiculous 63.9 true shooting percentage.
Outside of Gilgeous-Alexander’s incredible start to the season, meaningful and consistent scoring has been hard to come by. And over the course of the season, it’s felt like a one-man show at times, leaving fans asking the question of how the offense will improve.
Well, the past five games reveal that the Thunder might just be at a turning point, and for the better.
In their most recent stretch, Oklahoma City has defeated the Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks, and Washington Wizards and they only lost by a combined eight points to the heavyweight title-contending Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics. Not bad.
Taking a deeper look into the statistics over those last five games shows the Thunder scoring 119.6 points per 100 possessions, a mark that ranks third in the league in that period of play. The only two teams ahead of them are the Sacramento Kings and Boston Celtics, who also rank as the top two offenses over the entire course of the season.
Production is up across the board as well. Starters Josh Giddey and Luguentz Dort are averaging more points per game relative to their season average and are shooting the ball better, too. Aleksej Pokusevski and Jalen Williams are having the most productive stretch as well. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Aaron Wiggins have been chipping in a little bit more, too.
Looking more holistically, the Thunder’s 3-point percentage has made a huge jump as well, and is arguably the biggest contributing factor to the team’s success as of late.
Over the last five games, the team is shooting fewer times from beyond the arc but is making a whole lot more shots. On the season, the Thunder are averaging just 34.4% shooting on 33.1 triples per 100 possession.
But in their last five games, they are shooting a league-best 44.5% from downtown on 31.7 3-pointers per 100 possessions. And all of Dort, Mann, Pokusevski, Gilgeous-Alexander, Robinson-Earl, Wiggins, Mann, and Mike Muscala are shooting above 42.9% on their 3-point attempts.
Now, this could be an aberration or a hot shooting streak, and we might see the Thunder revert to numbers closer to their season average. That is very possible. But this also might be a sign of things to come for a still-developing and talented basketball roster whose front office has invested heavily in improving the Thunder’s shooting.
One thing is for certain, though. If Oklahoma City wants to continue to churn out victories on a consistent basis, the Thunder are going to need spacing more often than not.