Fizer's Take: Oklahoma City Thunder
The inaugural season of the Oklahoma City Thunder, formerly Seattle SuperSonics, has been an expected growing pain. How can anyone think that a baby team led by a young franchise player could ever dominate in a Western Conference that has the Lakers, Spurs, Mavs and Jazz among others? No way... Well, at least not in the next 2-3 years. The thing about OKC, despite the fact that their uniform looks like it came from the WNBA, is that, they have loads of talent. Kevin Durant, the face of this franchise and one of the most explosive scorers the NBA will ever see... Russell Westbrook, the ex-Bruin who was never mentioned in any mock drafts up until his sophomore season in college where he really blossomed, many though he got drafted too high at 4 but he turned out to be a better player than anyone has anticipated, Jeff Green, the sorta Scottie Pippen role for the Thunder who has has a solid NBA Career byfar not to mention the guys they acquired on the 2008 Draft and 2009 Draft, the Thunder will be able to assemble a very intriguing team by 2011. You can quote me on that. Their season started very slowly but as soon as they got into rhythm, you can't help but notice their potentials along the way. They did finish a disappointing 23-59 record which is usually what you expect from a young team but when you got a great fan base at Oklahoma and you got guys that will further develop, it is a scary situation for other teams when you think about the future. Not to mention that they finish ahead of teams filled with veteran players like the Clippers and the Kings. Kevin Durant has improved from his rookie year and has become a borderline All-Star (which he will soon be a SuperStar). Russell Westbrook became the lead PG and has the athleticism that blows anyone's mind. Then there's Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and a lot more. They did try to get Tyson Chandler in the mid-season but failed to do so due to a failed examination. In the end, the OKC fell back to the lottery where they will find another piece that could hopefully make their team complete.
The 2009 NBA Draft was a good day for OKC fans... Why? Well, they landed 3rd pick in the draft PLUS they got one more firs round pick that could at least give them some young talent in their roster. They pretty much fill the need at the 2-guard spot by getting in James Harden of Arizona State. I am a very huge fan of this pick because they finally got a player that could help them at 2. He has a high basketball IQ and is a no-nonsense player who can create his own shot. He is an easy pick for the OKC since he is the best shooting guard available. While there are a tremendous number of skeptics when it comes to B.J. Mullens, drafting him at 24 is a great move by the Thunder. They need help in the frontcourt, that much is certain, and Mullens is one of the players with as much upside as anyone in the draft. By selecting him late in the first round(via trade with Dallas), OKC isn’t taking a major risk because the vast majority of players taken that late in the first aren’t going to wind up being big time players anyway, if Mullens does develop, then it’s a steal. They didn't get much in the second round and only acquired Robert Vaden of UAB... Not really an explosive athlete and a pretty one-dimensional guard... Still, with their picks in the first round, I totally salute their decisions during draft night.
The Thunder need no make-up nor do they need a big free agent to sign. They simply went to go and get 2008 Draft pick Serge Ibaka, a raw, freakishly athletic forward that reminds me of a Shawn Kemp/Tyrus Thomas mold with a more fluid jumpshot. His talent intrigues me and he can be able to help this Thunder team in anyway he can. With the oldest player on the team in Kevin Ollie, the Thunder has had 70% of their players with less than 3 years of experience and is probably bound for another lotto selection. Still, the fans and management have remained patient. Kevin Durant has worked hard and he has rubbed his teammates with his dedication to improve and be better as a basketball player. Can Kevin Durant make it to the All-Star this season? How will the Thunder improve their standings? Can they make it better than 23-59? We'll find out as the NBA season is coming.
NBA Draft Grade: A
NBA Offseason Grade: B-
Predicted W-L: 27-55
This is just a writer's opinion... Anyone care to comment, I am open for it^^
Im really hoping that mullens and ibaka will reach their potential, if that happens the thunder wont have to pay a free agent to come in so they have the money instead to lock up durant green and so on for the next couple of years. Plus they have 2 first round picks that will likely end up being lottery bound only to give a team full of talent even more, Sam presti has been making all the right moves with this team. the western conference has to teams like this them and portland that have enormous talent all over the starters and bench that will give plenty of teams problmes in the near future
I think the thunder are the next Trailblazers.....You can tell that Sam Presti has a clear plan for this team and is not going to stray away from this by any means....The best thing about this team is that when you compare them to a team like the Grizzlies, they both have great talent but the difference is that the Thunder who have guys who actually fit into a team....Green and Harden will have no problem playing complimentary roles and playing the team game
yeah the thunder are going in the right direction..they have talent at ever position( not sure why ya'll keep ignoring kristic but im guessing ya'll forgot how good he was in nj before he got injured and hes now healthy) now all they need is to continue to let the young guys develop and make there bench a lil stronger