By Jerry Zgoda
The last time these teams played, the Wolves beat Oklahoma City by 42 points at Target Center.
That was Jan. 7.
Of course, Al Jefferson was healthy and the Wolves were on their way to a 10-2 start in January.
Now, the Thunder, after a 3-29 start, has pulled dead even with the Wolves in the standings, each with a 20-50 record. If the regular season ended today, they’d be tied in line for the fifth pick in the June draft.
Those of you fretting about the Wolves’ lottery odds, don’t worry. The Thunder will leave the Wolves in the dust before this is all over and only Washington, Sacramento, Memphis and the Clippers will stand between them for the best odds at the No. 1 pick.
Five months ago, I loved the young nucleus the Grizzlies had put together and was a bit skeptical of the Thunder and Kevin Durant and thought it would take quite some time for the transplanted franchise to mature. Now after the Grizzlies’ incredibly disinterested performance at Target Center a week ago and another look at this new, improved Thunder team…I’d say Oklahoma City is next in line behind Portland in the Western Conference race of, say, 2013.
Here’s the piece I wrote for Monday’s paper, more an analytical look rather than your traditional game story about today’s game, when the Wolves trailed by 32 points in the third quarter.
Your opinion requested: How much further along do you think the Thunder is than the Wolves? Light years or just a little bit (of course once Al Jefferson comes back healthy)?
Also, I also saw UConn’s opening-round game on Thursday, but were you as unimpressed with Hasheem Thabeet as I was? And, granted it was against Dayton, but what did you make up Cole Aldrich’s game today in the context of his future as a pro?