Not Time to Panic, but the Thunder Have Work to do
Before we panic about the Thunder's struggles over the last four games, let's remember January was a beast. Oklahoma City played every other night or back to back for the entire month.
If you want to be, even fairer, that grind started on December 26th with a 110-97 loss to Memphis. In that stretch, the Thunder saw the Raptors, Rockets, Mavericks twice, and Lakers even came up on the schedule. As difficult as that task was, the Thunder went 15-6 and put themselves in the middle of the western conference playoff race.
Now, let's throw in the emotions of the trade deadline, Terrance Ferguson taking a leave of absence, and Darius Bazley getting hurt, and a team is bound to be both emotionally and physically exhausted.
Billy Donovan has pointed out all season that the Thunder are a group of professionals and know how to compartmentalize. The four days off before this last homestand gave them time to reset, it also gave them time to get out a rhythm. After tomorrow, for everybody not named Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, there is a seven-day vacation to process all that has happened and attempt to get right before the last few weeks of the regular season.
On the court, Donovan and Sam Presti must address who is going to play power forward. The by-committee approach doesn't seem to suit how Donovan. As he said on Tuesday all season it's been, Danilo Gallinari and Darius Bazley in that spot. If Presti wanted to use his open roster spot to sign a four vs. give Lou Dort a full NBA contract, the options are limited right now. Here are the power forwards on the market.
Jeff Green. Green played in 30 games for the Jazz this season, averaging 7.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, and shot 32.7 percent from three. At 33, he's still getting 18 minutes per game, and he's played in Oklahoma City before. If Bazley won't be ready to come back in four to six weeks, Green is a safe option.
If you feel Green is too expensive or he gets a better offer, then Ryan Anderson can be had. Ok, don't even go down this road. Anderson played in two games with the Rockets before being cut in November. He's scoring 2.5 points per game and shooting 20 percent from beyond the arc. Use Isiah Roby, or Kevin Hervey, or Deonte Burton.
I almost forgot Dragan Bender is waiting to be picked up as well. Not a lot of tread on those tires he's only played in seven games this year.
Can't see Clay Bennent wanting to add more salary when he owes $801,066 on his luxury tax bill. As with all things Thunder since trading Paul Geroge, the situation is fluid.