NBA power rankings roundup: Where Thunder place after 5 games

Logan Newman
·4 min read

The NBA season is only a week in, but through five games, the Oklahoma City Thunder have failed to impress most prominent national reporters who put together power rankings.

Oklahoma City is 2-3 on the season with wins over the Charlotte Hornets and Orlando Magic and losses to the Magic, Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans.

Despite the losing record, seven players on the Thunder are averaging more than 10 points per game, though one is Isaiah Roby who has only appeared twice. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leads with 18.8 points per contest.

What are other experts and analysts saying about the Thunder early in the season? Here’s a rundown of their placement in power rankings released by major outlets Monday:

ESPN: 28th

The Thunder fell two spots in ESPN's ranking after being No. 26 in the first in-season release of the power rankings. While Oklahoma City isn't impressing on the court, analyst Royce Young wrote that the season is going exactly how planned for OKC:

They've won a couple of games that featured positive developmental moments for their young players (like Darius Bazley dropping 19 points and 12 rebounds on Saturday against Orlando). Veterans like Al Horford and George Hill are playing well, increasing their trade value. And the games the Thunder have lost have mostly been close ones.

Low ranking, but that's at least praise, which is more than can be said about what was given to the No. 27 Hornets or the No. 29 Chicago Bulls.

The Athletic: 28th

The Athletics's Zach Harper debated whether each team was poised or panicked at this stretch in the season. Teams 22-27 were all panicked, he said. The Thunder, at 28, were poised despite the 1-4 week. It was quite a drop from his previous ranking, when he had OKC at No. 17.

The Thunder win over Orlando was impressive, simply because Shai Gilgeous-Alexander couldn’t find his touch from the field. Their bevy of young guys played excellent basketball, and watching their development throughout the season should be fascinating. Darius Bazley has great size for his position. Theo Maledon looks very comfortable for a rookie point guard. Hamidou Diallo does a great job of utilizing his athleticism. And Lu Dort has been a highly efficient offensive option.

At the very least, that's a lot of role players who stand out to Harper.

NBA.com: 28

John Schuhmann of NBA.com looked at the Thunder's offensive and defensive ratings as he too ranked them No. 28 in the league. On offense:

Of the teams that rank in the bottom five in offensive efficiency, the Thunder sure look like the one most likely to stay there for the next 4 1/2 months.

On defense:

The defense has them hanging around in games, though. Four of their five games have been within five points in the last five minutes (a phrase familiar to those who followed this team last season), with their 33-point loss to New Orleans (in which they scored seven points in the third quarter and shot 5-for-15 on free throws) on Thursday being the lone exception.

Nice little shout-out to the clutch play from last year's team. This squad hasn't quite figured it out, yet.

Bleacher Report: 24

Here's a favorable ranking for the Thunder! Bleacher Report likes the Thunder more than any of these other sites do, listing several teams below them. Mo Dakhil expressed some concern about Gilgeous-Alexander, who has had declining stats this season, but he is getting trapped and double-teamed much more than any other point in his NBA career. There are two surprises that Dakhil likes:

No one would have bet going into this season that Luguentz Dort would be shooting 44.4 percent from three-point range, but alas, here we have arrived.

Al Horford is proving he still has something left in the tank, averaging 10.8 points, shooting 38.1 percent from three and pulling down 7.5 boards a night.

CBS Sports: 29

And here's a lower ranking. Thunder dropped five spots in CBS' report, falling all the way to No. 29, ahead of only the Minnesota Timberwolves.

OKC went 1-3 this week, splitting with the Magic while dropping a close one to the Jazz and getting blown out by New Orleans. Wins will be tough to come by for the Thunder this season, so development of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, Darius Bazley, Theo Maledon and Aleksej Pokusevski will take priority, while Al Horford and George Hill potentially build up their trade value.