NBA Futures: Have The Thunder Dug Too Deep To Recover?

David Lawrence

Sunday, November 30, 2014 1:19 PM GMT

The Oklahoma City Thunder were one of the favorites to win the NBA title but now early season injuries have decimated them. They already have 12 losses in 17 games. Is it too late for them or is the 15/1 NBA betting odds to win the title a good value play?

How Big Of A Challenge Is In Front Of Them?
The Thunder find themselves in the Western Conference, which is obviously the tougher of the two. If they were in the East, nobody would care as there’s only four teams in the conference with a record better than two games above .500. However, the West is a different animal.

The Thunder have dug themselves quite a big hole when you consider that the eighth seed in the Western Conference last year won 49 games. That means the Thunder have to get in the neighborhood of 50 wins just to sneak into the playoffs and they are already seven games under .500. That also means the Thunder have to win 45 of their final 65 games to get to that mark. Or, in other words, post a .692 winning percentage the rest of the way. So is that too crazy? No, not really. The Thunder had a .720 winning percentage last season en route to a 59-23 record. If they do the same, they should finish with 50 or 51 wins.

 

Who Can They Catch?
The troubling thing in the West is that everyone is really good. The Grizzlies are 14-2, the Warriors are 13-2, the Rockets are 13-4, the Trail Blazers are 12-4. That means that – as of right now – the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns are the bottom four seeds in the West. While it’s hard to envision the Thunder catching the first three teams since they’re each – at least – six games above .500 and the Thunder are seven games under .500, there is a reasonable change the Thunder catch the Phoenix Suns. As of right now, they’re five games back but these teams will still meet four times this season. The Thunder should be able to make up some ground.

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Are They Worth A Play?
When you think about how the West is playing out, the answer might be yes. If the San Antonio Spurs or the Los Angeles Clippers were in the top spots, then the Thunder would probably be finished – even if they snuck into the playoffs as a No. 8 seed. However, the Grizzlies look like they’ll be fighting for the top spot along with teams like the Rockets, Warriors and Trail Blazers. A lot could change between now and the end of the regular season, but if those are the teams that end up with the No. 1 spot, there’s a very good chance the Thunder pull a first-round upset. Those teams are all flawed and while they would have home-court advantage, the Thunder would have an edge in experience and talent. This is a Thunder team that’s going to be very focused going forward, so consider taking a shot with the 15/1 NBA odds. This could be good value for a team who should be on a mission.