2 min read

Thunder 2020 Playoff Rankings 1.4: Cracking the Code

Thunder 2020 Playoff Rankings 1.4: Cracking the Code

OKC won Game 4 to even up the series. We re-organize the Thunder’s best and worst performers accordingly. See versions 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3.

1. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+0)

SGA+. Gilgeous-Alexander is the playoffs leader for minutes played per game (41.2), and has been the steadiest performer throughout the series. Despite sharing the court with the most different lineup looks by virtue of playing all game long, SGA leads the rotation players in on/off stats–the team is +3.7 NRTG better when he plays and -38.6 worse (not a typo) in the rare times he sits.

2. Chris Paul (+1)

I know Lu Dort is the resident folk hero, but Chris Paul Bunyan added a tall tale of his own to the NBA’s history books on Monday. Like man vs. machine fables of yore– lumberjacks competing with newfangled log-splitting technology–Paul kept it old school, chopping away from the midrange while the Rockets churned out eight straight three-pointers to open the second half. They lost the stretch, but Paul and company eventually overcame The Math with good ol’ mismatch, two-point heavy basketball. If Paul has any say, the modern days of hoops being reduced to 3>2 will be kept at bay a little longer. Old fashioned cooking–in isolation against James Harden as a defender, and in clutch time decision making–was enough to offset Oklahoma City’s disadvantage of making 12 fewer threes as a team on Houston’s record-setting night (58 attempts from distance).

3. Dennis Schröder (+1)

Schröder, as much as any Thunder player, appears to have cracked the Houston code. Go. Even in his awesome Game 4 (30 points on 10-16 FG, 4-7 3P, 6-7 FT), he was still a hair indecisive at times when catching, pump-faking, and dishing on the perimeter–look for him to be even more aggressive as a grab-and-go-er against the likes of Jeff Green, Robert Covington, and P.J. Tucker. OKC has gone from feeling out to hunting, and Schröder is the hound.

4. Danilo Gallinari (-2)

5. Luguentz Dort (+0)

6. Darius Bazley (+0)

7. Billy Donovan (+0)

8. Nerlens Noel (+1)

9. Steven Adams (-1)

10. Terrance Ferguson (+1)

11. Mike Muscala (-1)

12. Abdel Nader (+0)

13. Andre Roberson (+0)

14. Hamidou Diallo (+0)

15. Deonte Burton (+0)