The Oklahoma City Thunder kicked off 2021 on a positive note by picking up a 108-99 victory on the road against the Orlando Magic. Despite not shooting the ball particularly well (44.2% FG, 31.7% 3P), the Thunder turned the ball over just 10 times while holding the Magic to just 37.0% from the field.
Sharing is Caring
For the majority of the franchise’s existence, OKC has typically had at least one scorer averaging 25-30 points per game. That changed last year, and that trend has continued into this season. While that could sound like a bad thing, it’s actually a positive quality, and tonight was a great example of why.
The Thunder finished tonight’s game with 6 different players in double-digit scoring figures and another two who just barely missed the mark. With the scoring spread out, OKC can be dangerous because you never really know where the points are going to come from.
The Drive & Kick/Dish is There
Oklahoma City has not been a great 3-point shooting team so far through 5 games. This is nothing new for Thunder fans, but that doesn’t mean that it should stay that way. If you take a look at the roster, it’s obvious that the shooting talent is there, but they have yet to capitalize.
One area of the offense that’s going to help improve the shooting percentage from downtown is the Thunder’s ability to get into the paint and kick to open shooters. If you take a look at the guys that are capable of penetrating down low—Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luguentz Dort, Theo Maledon—then shooters are going to be open at some point or another.
The Thunder knocked down just 13-of-41 (31.7%) three-point shots, but despite being able to capitalize on the drive & kick opportunities, OKC was able to drive & dish with some success.
OKC finished with 22 assists as a team on 38 made field goals. Four different guys recorded at least 4 assists, and with that many playmakers on the team, the Thunder is bound to put up some incredible highlights on a nightly basis.
Thunder Unsung Hero of the Game
Tonight’s unsung hero award goes to 19-year-old rookie Theo Maledon. The 34th overall pick of the 2020 NBA draft had his best game so far scoring 12 points on 5-of-7 (71.4%) shooting along with 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and only 1 turnover.
OKC getting Maledon in the second round is looking more and more like one of Sam Presti’s diamond in the rough situations. At just 19 years old, Maledon is one of the youngest players in the entire league. OKC is the perfect place for him to grow and develop, and I don’t think it will be long before he’s a regular contributor.