Who’s OKC’s X-Factor Going Into The Playoffs?

Russell Westbrook finished the season as the leading scoring, averaging 31.6 points per game, but that 42% has people wondering if that will be enough to be the only star on a team that can advance

The Thunder will play against the soon to be MVP runner up James Harden and the Houston Rockets in the first round. Houston is loaded with 3 point snippers and a Mike D’antoni system that helped Steve Nash win back to back MVP awards and extremely high scoring. This new look Thunder team will go into the playoffs with an entirely new identity, not having Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. The team is built around Russell Westbrook and skilled big-men.

James Harden finished the season as the leader in assists averaging 11.2 a game, and Westbrook is at 10.4. An argument can be made tat Hardens’ assists are much easier that Westbrooks’. Rockets’ perimeter consists on Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Trevor Ariza, all proven shooters in this league. Westbrook has no true 3 point shooters. Majority of his assists come off of alley-oops and penetrations in the paint to feed the big-men.

Victor Oladipo and Enes Kanter have both shared the role as the number 2 scoring options, but Oladipo is only averaging 15.9 points as a starter and Kanter adds 14.3 of the bench, but banter is a defensive liability, which is the only reason he’s not a starter. OKC picked up Doug McDermott at the deadline and has proven that he can score from anywhere on the court, but where will his minutes come from? Andre Roberson is the best perimeter defender on the team but can’t buy a jump shot or offensive game.

OKC still doesn’t have an identity of who their 2nd best player is. OKC will have an advantage and will be able to hide some of the flaws against Houston because of the size, length and skills of the OKC big-men.

Maybe, there will be a unsung hero.


Author: armanitfryer

Armani T. Fryer is the brand. A collegiate multimedia journalist emphasizing is sports reporting and analyst. Jackson State University

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