September 27, 2022
OKC

Hundreds, probably thousands of defensive plays were un-notice by the general public. Because the OKC Thunder’s coaches and players held them highly. This season saw a lot of “moment of truth” moments for the team. Including a rookie Jeremiah Robinson-Earl snatching a dunk from Troy Brown Jr. with his block.

However, the OKC Thunder’s mental toughness came through in the closing seconds of a game at Paycom Center. Because when they patiently held the LA Clippers in their backcourt. Furthermore, constrained the ball under the control of a subpar free throw shooter. Shai Gilgeous’s game-winning Alexander’s 3-pointer on the last possession was possible thanks to two missed free throws by the Clippers.

Senior supervisor and Executive Vice President Sam Presti of OKC Thunder remarked, “We have the bones of excellent defense. But it doesn’t guarantee we will be a terrific defensive team next year. We’ll need to begin without any preparation and modify the protection as we did. As a young team. We were able to show that we’re capable of being an efficient one on the other end of the floor.

Thunder Got back in Transition 

During training camp and the first several months of the season. The NBA’s youngest squad had a lot to learn. With a typical time of just shy of 24. Drop coverage, rotating, getting up to the screen level. And blitzing are just a few of the ways to defend pick-and-rolls. Zone defense, full-court pressure. And double-up on post-ups are all part of the strategy. To be an effective team defender. Newbies must study and execute each of these techniques on every possession.

Speaking of the OKC Thunder defense. “It’s about being lock in, trying to master every small element we can accomplish,” Lu Dort said. A ton of accentuation puts on this in the locker room. And it’s something we stress a lot. Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey are “both taller for the point guard position,” he noted. “It simply gives us more defense options now.”

OKC kept the paint safe

OKC Thunder’s focus was on the rim and guarding the paint after they got into half-court position. In the restricted area, the OKC Thunder allowed the sixth-fewest attempts and the season’s tenth lowest field goal percentage. The OKC Thunder disrupted momentum-swinging plays by putting their nose in there with verticality on layup attempts. Plunging on the floor for free balls, and aggressive in mismatches by being early in help position.

Unfortunately for the OKC Thunder, they didn’t have to chase many plays this year. Which means they couldn’t even get into such coverages while the other team was running the offense. Indeed, the OKC Thunder were second in fast-break points allowed with 10.7 per game. And allowed zero fast-break points to their opponents in three games last year. Against Utah and twice inside Paycom Center against Philadelphia and Dallas.

In transition defense, players must focus on picking up a guy rather than figuring out their defensive role. The OKC Thunder began with two 6-foot-6 or taller point guards in Gilgeous-Alexander. And Josh Giddey making it easier to get back, get set, and scramble on most nights.

Read more: Jerami Grant might be a realistic trade target’ for the Cavs this summer, according to reports

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