Can Chris Paul’s Oklahoma City Thunder Pull Off Some Upsets in the Orlando Bubble?

Published 07/17/2020, 8:10 AM EDT


In the 2019 Off-Season, the Oklahoma City Thunder were termed as big losers. After trading away Russell Westbrook and Paul George, it seemed like they would tank. But veteran Chris Paul, along with young star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, have shown they mean business. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman think they can cause some upsets in Orlando.

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On ESPN’s First Take, Smith and Kellerman said that the Thunder can be a threat to any team in the playoffs. While acknowledging they aren’t the best team on paper, Smith said they can catch a team sleeping. Kellerman said that the team is blessed with four All-Star caliber players and also has Steven Adams, who is an underrated big man in the league.

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Oklahoma City Thunder: Proving critics wrong

Back in October, ESPN gave the Thunder a 0.2 chance to make the playoffs. In reply, Thunder have shown out on the court and are the fifth seed heading into Orlando.

Paul has been the leader, orchestrating the team while averaging 17.7 points and 6.8 assists. After an injury-ridden season, Paul has emerged strong. His floor generalship has been a big factor in their performance. Despite being 34, he is showing no signs of stopping.

Gilgeous-Alexander has been on a tear too, scoring 19.3 points per game, nearly double from his rookie season. With the Thunder playing Paul as their point guard, Shai has transitioned to the shooting guard spot smoothly. He may not be the most lethal shooter from beyond the arc, but his drives combined with his shifty handles leave defenders dazing.

Danilo Gallinari arrived with Shai in the Paul George trade and is continuing his form from last season. He is averaging 19.2 points per game. On the other hand, Schroeder is building a strong case for Sixth man of the Year, averaging 19 points per game off the bench. Big man Steven Adams is as consistent as ever, almost averaging a double-double, scoring 10.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.

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However, their one main weakness is their lack of depth at the wing position. They have an inexperienced duo of Terrance Ferguson and Luguentz Dort running the wings right now.

But there are some rumors about Andre Roberson potentially returning from injury. Roberson hasn’t played in over two-and-a-half years, ever since his knee injury in January 2018. His arrival will give them a solid defensive boost at the wing spot if he can be as good as he was.

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The OKC Thunder remains the dark horse. They are ready to cause some upsets and will certainly be a team to look out for.

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Aaron Mathew

1463 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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