Thunder Basketball

Thunder Power Rankings at the All-Star Break Pt. 2

Thunder Power Rankings at the All-Star Break Pt. 2
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Oklahoma City Thunder guard Terrance Ferguson (23) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Thunder are one of the best teams not just in the West, but in the entire NBA. Terrance Ferguson has been one of, if not the reason for that.

Now before you throw your “MVPG” tweets at me, I understand that Ferguson is far from the best player on the team. But even you (yes, you) cannot deny the importance of Ferguson’s season and his potential moving forward.

In Ferguson’s 49 game appearances (all starts), he has shot 37 percent from three or above in 21 of those games. All but three of those games have come since December. Overall, Ferguson is shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor and 42 percent from three on four attempts per game since the final month of 2018.

It is no longer a trend, this is Ferguson’s game.

Coincidentally, the Thunder’s offense rose from the basement of the NBA to one of the more potent attacks during that span. Simply put, Ferguson has given Oklahoma City that much needed scoring punch from deep to go along with his growing ability to defend at a high level.

Let’s just cool it on the fouls, man. Ferguson has averaged 3.7 personal fouls a game since January. Clean that up, and you have yet another elite perimeter defender.

Brady’s Take

Ferguson is simply the missing link between the Thunder squads of the past and what Presti has wanted the team to become since 2008. As hyperbolic as it sounds, it is true. If Ferguson can give OKC 37 percent or better on four attempts a game in the postseason, the Thunder will be playing deep into May.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant (9) keeps the ball from Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) during an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 in Atlanta.(AP Photo/John Amis)

Remember when Ersan Illyasova — a floor spreading front court player — was traded for little known Jerami Grant — a young, athletic project? So many people questioned it.

Even in his second year with the team, there were doubters. His 37 percent shooting from three dipped all the way down to 29 percent.

While many have attributed Paul George’s success this year to him being in year two with Westbrook and the Thunder, perhaps Grant’s year two with Westbrook/George has been downplayed some.

Grant has shot 37 percent from three. Even more impressive are his numbers from the corner. This year he has attempted 95 shots (leads team) from both corners beyond the arc, while shooting 47%. The other two top three guys on the Thunder are Paul George (47% on 22 less 3FGA) and Terrance Ferguson (43% on 8 less 3FGA).

Grant brings it on the defensive end every night. Save for a few matchups — when New Orleans had Julius Randle at the 4 and a not crazy Anthony Davis at the 5 — Grant rarely finds himself physically outmatched. His length has given the Thunder another defender to throw at against the best offenses in the NBA, just ask Giannis.

Brady’s Take

Grant is so valuable, so good. His development has been the poster for the Thunder’s ability to grow players internally. He gives OKC so much flexibility with his versatility. His ability to score off the dribble, as well as his ever-growing presence from deep gives the team a perfect power forward to combat today’s NBA.

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Thunder Basketball

Brady has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder since 2016. University of Oklahoma alum class of 2014. He has worked for the Franchise since April 2018. Co-Host of the OKC-82 Podcast and the Inside OU podcast. Co-Host of the Basketball Insider's Show on Saturdays from 10am-12.

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