Sitting in seventh place in the NBA’s Western Conference at 13-14, the Oklahoma City Thunder are playing good basketball and suprising some.
The Thunder are led by the quad-presence of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Scroeder and Chris Paul.
On Wednesday night, the Thunder overcome a 24-point deficit to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 126-122. That’s great news for a Thunder team who started their season losing close games pretty regularly.
For those keeping score at home: Schroder scored 31 points, Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander each scored 20 points and Chris Paul chipped in with 18 points.
Also worth noting: Oklahoma City is the only NBA team in the past 20 years to overcome deficits of at least 24 points in consecutive games and win both. The Thunder beat the Bulls on Monday night.
It was a foregone conclusion that Chris Paul would be traded after he was brought in via a trade that shipped Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets.
Over summer, the Miami Heat were one of the top suitors for Paul.
While the Thunder have suprised some in season. So have the Heat.
Jimmy Butler, their top summer free agent signing is playing great basketball. This season, Butler is averaging 20.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists.
Guess what? Kendrick Nunn is also playing well. The undrafted combo guard out of Illinois is averaging 16.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1 steal per contest. The Chicago representer is on the radar and is an NBA Rookie of the Year candidate. “I personally didn’t know who he was until summer league,” Chicago Bulls rookie point guard, Coby White tells me.
“And he was killing at summer league on Miami just going off, and then preseason, he dropped 40 the last game, and then ever since then, he’s been in a crazy rhythm. You know, a lot of people hadn’t heard about him, but he’s definitely earned my respect, you know, and it just proves that, no matter where you come from, no matter who you are, as long as you’re given the opportunity-I feel like he’s been given the opportunity and he’s made the most of it.”
As of Thursday morning, the Heat are 20-8 and are third in the NBA’s Eastern Conference standings.
Meanwhile back at the ranch: Paul is still in Oklahoma.
One of the holdups was the Miami Heat’s lack of interest in shipping Tyler Herro.
On a recent episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast, I discussed it with my colleage at Heavy.com, Sean Deveney.
Check out a snippet from our Q&A below:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Chris Paul has a contract with a 44 million dollar player option for the 21-22 season. You reported on Heavy that the Heat are still in the driver’s seat would that deal include Tyler Herro?
Sean Deveney: I think if you’re Oklahoma City that you would have to I think if you’re Miami it’s no way you can. In the end if you’re Oklahoma City you’re looking at Chris Paul as an asset you would still want something for this guy he’s still an all-star caliber player maybe not quite on that level but certainly near that level. Probably could be an all-star if he was playing in the east next year but if you’re Miami looking at the contract number saying no if we take him were doing you a favor so you would have to give us some draft picks. So that’s where that standoff is I do think that as things progress we’ll see where we’re at with Miami. If they underachieve out the gate there will be more pressure for them to make something happen. I don’t think they’re in a hurry to make this happen. We’ll see how things unfold in training camp with Goran Dragic obviously they know him and what he can do he probably will be included in a deal for Chris Paul so if they come out and they look like their going to be a team can get to the high 40’s in wins I think they can give themselves a chance to contend in the Eastern conference I think that they’ll pass for a deal for Chris Paul like it’s another instance of where we’re going to have a team that’s just a little bit above .500 then they’re going to have some pressure to make a deal.