Just like last year, the Oklahoma City Thunder got off to a 14-8 start this season -- which was fifth best in the Western Conference.
But due to the team's recent shooting woes, Oklahoma City has dropped three of its last four games and now sits seventh overall in the Western Conference.
The Thunder's recent shooting woes began last Friday when the Thunder lost to the Houston Rockets 102-99. It was another game the Thunder failed to reach 100 points, and are now 10th overall in total points per game with 105.6 PPG -- eight spots lower than they were a year ago when they were second in total points per game with 110.2 PPG, according to basketball-reference.com
Oklahoma City wound up beating the Boston Celtics following its loss to the Rockets, but lost shooting guard Victor Oladipo to a sprain wrist. Oladipo sat the next two games and the Thunder got blown out by the Portland Trail Blazers 114-95 and to the Utah Jazz 109-89.
With Oladipo out of the lineup, the Thunder's offense has become more and more stagnant -- and because of that point guard Russell Westbrook now has to add a lot more to his plate.
During the Thunder's two-game losing streak, Westbrook has been unable to put up the numbers he was when Oladipo was in the lineup. In Westbrook's last two games, he has shot a miserable 32 percent from the field, making 14-of-44 shots, according to basketball-reference.com.
However, Westbrook isn't the only player that should be taking the blame for the team's recent shooting woes. No one has stepped up to fill Oladipo's void from an offensive standpoint.
Since Oladipo hurt his wrist, head coach Billy Donovan decided to put Jerami Grant in the starting lineup, sliding Andre Roberson down from defending small forwards to his normal role of guarding shooting guards. But with Grant in the starting lineup, who has great athleticism but struggles to shoot the ball, he has not produced much from an offensive standpoint.
Since replacing Oladipo in the starting lineup, Grant has 18 points on 5-of-14 shots from the field.
But realistically the Thunder can't rely on Grant as another option to score the ball. That falls on the $100 million center Steven Adams.
After signing a contract extension with the Thunder, Adams had high expectations heading into this season, but has yet to live up to the extension.
Only scoring 11.6 points per game, Oklahoma City has to get Adams more involved in the offense if they want any chance of getting to the next level offensively.
And as for the bench, center Enes Kanter is the only player that is putting up consistent numbers.
Shooting guard Anthony Morrow got off to a hot start when coach Donovan gave him more playing time, but has struggled as of late shooting the ball consistently. And as for Semaj Christon, Alex Abrines, Kyle Singler and Joffrey Lauvergne, they have had little contribution to the offense as well.
Once Oladipo gets back the Thunder's offense should get back in rhythm. But until then some players will have to step up from an offensive standpoint to end the team's recent shooting woes.