Aside from Russell Westbrook, the Oklahoma City Thunder struggled mightily last season in finding anyone who had any type of offensive consistency. Last season the Thunder finished 17th in the NBA with an offensive rating (points scored per 100 possessions) of 105.0 and a net rating (the difference between offensive and defensive rating) of -0.2.
Of the 12 teams that the Thunder finished ahead of in offensive rating, only three of them were playoff teams, and of the 12 teams that Oklahoma City finished ahead of in net rating, only one was a playoff team.
The major issue with Oklahoma City’s offense was simply the fact that Russell Westbrook could not play all 48 minutes. With him on the court, the Thunder had an offensive rating of 111.5 and a net rating of +4.0. As soon as he took a seat, however, those numbers drop to an offensive rating of 100.9 and a net rating of -8.5. Simply put, without Russell Westbrook on the court, the Thunder offense was hot garbage.
Take a look at the first round of the playoffs last season against the Houston Rockets. Because it was the playoffs, Westbrook saw more minutes than he had in the regular season, but even that was not enough to help Oklahoma City to more than a single win in the series. With him on the court, the Thunder outscored the Rockets by 2.7 points per 100 possessions, and with him off the floor, the Rockets had the advantage by a whopping 60.1 points per 100 possessions. Over the course of the five games played in the series, Westbrook sat for only 46 out of a possible 240 minutes, and the Thunder were outscored by 58 points in that time.
Russell Westbrook was off the floor for 6 minutes in Game 5.
In those 6 minutes, the Rockets outscored the Thunder 27-9. pic.twitter.com/AicL24JgEd
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 26, 2017
These numbers should be drastically different this season, thanks mostly to the additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, who are both extremely capable scorers. When Russ has to take a seat, the Thunder should be able to keep at least one of its other offensive machines on the floor to keep things moving.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.