The Week 1 Over-Analyzation: Part 1
Let's jump right into the over-reaction to Week 1 results.
If you want to know what the heck is going on, just read the intro article to this series.
1. Oklahoma City could miss the playoffs this year
I’ll start with OKC because I’m shamelessly biased; I have two favorite teams, Oklahoma City and Golden State. To say that the Thunder are injured would be an understatement. They seem to have made injury dangerously contagious. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are out until mid December at a minimum. That’s somewhere around 20 games. But it’s not just those two. Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb, Andre Roberson, and Perry Jones have all been injured in the early part of the season. To say that Perry Jones is a significant injury to OKC says it all, really.
Here’s the deal: This team is really, really bad without Durant and Westbrook. Their first two games were a nice, cute showing, but they were not an indication of what this team actually is right now. They're currently 1-4. For OKC to go 5-15 over their first 20 games would not be at all surprising.
This means that they'd have to go a blistering 44-18 to finish with 49 wins, which claimed the 8-seed in the West last year.
And if they can accomplish that, look out, world! To hit that mark, they’ll be clicking on all cylinders, and as fans, we’ll be treated to an incredible 1-seed vs basically-a-1-seed in Round 1. If it lines up that way as the season closes, are we going to see teams shy away from wanting to claim the No 1 spot in the West? Are teams going to suddenly be “resting players” to move away from facing OKC in round 1? Maybe. Stay tuned.
If not, OKC will likely end up somewhere between 35-40 wins, and we’ll see them in the high lottery with just the smallest little chance of getting that lucky ping pong ball in the Top 3. I wonder if Sam Presti is seriously reconsidering his recent vote against lottery reform?
2. Minnesota may have hit the jackpot with Wiggins and Bennett
Again, I'd like to mention that we’re working with a very small sample size, but both Andrew Wiggins -- only 19! -- and Anthony Bennett -- still only 21 -- have both shown flashes of very impressive play. Wiggins finished a win over the Nets with 17 points, a game where he played 37 minutes, which is the most he’s played by far. Rubio has looked good to start the season, and the young Timberwolves might have something going to build on.
They’ll still lose quite a few games this year, as you might expect, but give them a few years and this team is going to be a force to be reckoned with.