Another week has passed which means we’re that much closer to seeing the resumption of the NBA season. Here are some of the latest nuggets of information, and some opinions, Oklahoma City looks to close out the final eight games of the regular season and then make a playoff run in the NBA’s bubble.
What Are The Odds?
According to some of the best sports betting sites available the Thunder are 31-to-1 odds to win the West. That’s the seventh best odds in the Western Conference and puts OKC ahead of New Orleans (41-to-1), Portland (67-to-1), Memphis (67-to-1), San Antonio (101-to-1), Sacramento and Phoenix(151-to-1). That’s not bad considering this was supposed to be a rebuilding year.
Is It Possible That Billy Donovan Doesn’t Want To Stay In OKC?
One thing this season has shown us is that Billy Donovan does, in fact, know how to coach. That wasn’t a certain fact in the spring of last year when we first started talking about the contract status of OKC’s head coach. Back then he was mostly deemed to be an underachiever with a roster of All-Stars. Going back to the beginning of the current season, Donovan was thought to be a candidate for replacement on Oklahoma City’s bench. When you consider that the 2019-20 season was the final year of his contract it became a logical conclusion that a new coach would ultimately guide a revamped Thunder team in following seasons. Then Donovan’s rag-tag squad of over-the-hill veterans and trade bait players did the unthinkable and found themselves on the cusp of a Top-4 seed in the playoffs.
What does that say about Donovan? It says that now he’s a commodity! Perhaps that’s the reason he still guides from the bench without a new contract. Not because Sam Presti doesn’t want him back but because he now has leverage for a better deal that might actually be on another bench. Brooklyn would be a fantastic fit for Donovan and if he’s had his fill with the NBA then opportunities could be opening up soon at Blue Blood college programs schools like Arizona and Kansas due to the pending results of an NCAA investigation. That all begs a legitimate question as to whether Donovan ultimately wants to return to Oklahoma City next season?
Dennis Schroder Is Making The Right Decision
This isn’t a normal year by any stretch of the imagination and that puts Dennis Schroder in a tough spot. Life in the bubble has caused his desire to help his team into the playoffs and be with his wife for the birth of their second child to collide. Schroder has chosen family over ball and I, for one, applaud him for it. What it means is that he’ll be leaving the bubble to see his child come into the world and has a greater chance of not returning than he does of being with the team through the playoffs.
Schroder has been having a career season with the Thunder, averaging 19 points per game on a career-high 57.3 TS% with 4.1 assists a game.
Cause For Confidence
Oklahoma City has been clutch in the closing minutes. Led by Christ Paul’s 3.5 points per game on 53.5 percent shooting in crunch time, the Thunder are 29-13 and lead the NBA with a plus-30.2 net rating in clutch situations (games within five points with five minutes remaining). Oklahoma City has played more clutch minutes than any other team in the league and have found success time after time. As teams prepare for the playoffs one thing is clear, you don’t want a tight game against the Thunder down the stretch.
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