However, this team is still among the NBA’s best, and very few of their statistics do not support that status. Even the surprising ones can all be spun in the talented young team’s favor.
The Thunder continue to lead the league in major offensive and defensive categories, but they also lead in a few categories that you might not expect.
Leading in Point Differential per Game
While all the talk continues to surround teams on win streaks like the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets, the Oklahoma City Thunder are quietly beating teams by 9.5 points per game. That leads the league and does so by 1.5 points per contest.
The Thunder have been beating teams by large margins when they’ve won, something they have been doing far more often than not. While that does not equate playoff success, it does prove something about just how much the Thunder have separated themselves from most of the NBA.
Leading in Offensive Efficiency
Often, the Oklahoma City Thunder are portrayed as an iso-heavy team that inefficiently scores a lot of points. However, the fact that the team leads the league in points scored per field-goal attempt does not support that notion.
The Thunder do garner much of their prolific offense from superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. However, they obviously are far more efficient than often depicted. Ball movement is a problem for the team, but it clearly has not affected them as negatively as one might expect.
Durant and Co.’s ability to make the most of every attempt is directly affected by how many shots the team puts up. The Thunder are also second in the league to only Miami in field-goal attempts per game, which is incredibly impressive given the fact that Durant and Westbrook shoot close to 40 times per game between the two of them.
Shooting fewer shots is not ideal for any team wanting to score, but it is fine for teams like the Thunder, who play efficient basketball by making a high percentage of their shots.
Tied for League Lead in Technical Fouls
The only negative stat listed here is this one, but how negative it is for the team really is up for debate. The Thunder lead the league in technical fouls committed with 84, which ties them with the Los Angeles Clippers.
The chief culprit behind this stat is also the player who is most responsible for the team’s wins, Kevin Durant. The second-best player in the game has added an edge to his game that was not there in seasons past, which has resulted in him trailing only Kobe Bryant for most technicals in the NBA this season. The question is whether or not it is doing the team any good.
One could argue that a tougher, meaner and more aggressive Durant could be nothing but good for the Thunder. Then again, those technicals do cost the team points, which could end up costing games. It could definitely cost a game if Durant passes the 16-technicals threshold, in which case he’d receive a one-game suspension. He is only three away.
Technicals or not, the Thunder are playing their best season yet when it comes to wins, and this team is poised yet again to be among the last few teams standing when the season ends in June.