The Thunder looked as if it was the first time they had played together in years last night in an 86-84 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Offensively they only accumulated 18 assists and had an equal number of turnovers. This also went with an unreasonable amount of failed defensive rotations and blown assignments as well.
You name it, the Thunder did it. Lazy passes, lazy dribbling, double close outs and terrible help defending. They executed plays poorly and didn’t have very much variation or action in them.
This isn’t a new thing for the Thunder. Notice, they only lost the game by two points. It was because of a Kevin Durant turnover that the Spurs even had the opportunity to win the game.
The Thunder ran a play to set Kevin Durant up at the free throw line–in my opinion one of their most successful plays. Durant got bullied by Kawhi Leonard and turned the ball over.
The Thunder shot themselves in the foot last night and only lost by two. That shows how talented this team is. They’re able to play an awful game and stay in it with the best competition in the Western Conference.
This talent is the same thing that got them to the Finals last season, but it isn’t going to put them over the hump. They run very little plays to get their players in successful position. This results in heavy isolations and easily defended passes.
And this brings me to my point on Scott Brooks. I think that the Thunder will need to move on at their head coaching position. No, this isn’t a first game overreaction, either.
This team is a turnover machine and it isn’t going to change. Brooks implements no action that promotes ball security or any sense of unpredictability. With Brooks, its always a high screen or a pindown. That gets old and teams know its coming.
Its one thing when you have three All-Star talents on the floor at one time to cover you, but now Brooks only has one. Instead of making any adjustments, it appears that Brooks is resting on his laurels.
Now, Brooks has made some great coaching decisions before. The adjustment that he made in the Western Conference Finals to shut down Parker was a good one. But it was only just enough–then his team flexed their talent once again.
Brooks was schooled in the NBA Finals. When we thought that he would eventually make an adjustment to LeBron James playing at the power forward position, he only allowed his star player to get into foul trouble.
Though James Harden’s production can be made up for by multiple players, the Thunder aren’t going to be able to do that if Brooks doesn’t maximize their talent.
With Kevin Martin being a well-rounded off the ball player Brooks will need to move him around through the use of a bevy of screens. It didn’t seem like there was much of a variation between the plays that were used for him.
When Westbrook and Durant were on the floor, Martin just seemed plain uncomfortable. He didn’t know where to be or what to do.
Brooks needs to find ways for all three of these guys to function on the floor at one time. Through the proper use of screening, its going to be easier for them to get to their spots with or without the ball.
There won’t be any ‘Westbrook being Westbrook’ as some of us like to call it. Its not that he isn’t a good point guard, its just that his options are limited because of the coach’s calls.
We’ve seen this over and over again. Talent is only going to get you so far. With a stagnated offense that relies on simple movements, the Thunder aren’t going to get back to the Finals.