Welcome back another edition of the Sports Script’s 2013-14 NBA preview! We’re finally nearing the end, in fact this is the final three teams. Yesterday I covered the San Antonio Spurs, so make sure you go back and check out my number two team in the West. Today we have the number one team in the West. They has a star go down with a bad injury, but he should be back soon. They had the WORST TRADE IN NBA HISTORY, but they still do have the no question second best player in the NBA. Let’s talk the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Key Additions: Ryan Gomes (Signed via Clippers) Steven Adams (Draft) Andre Roberson (Draft)
Key Departures: Kevin Martin (Wolves) Ronnie Brewer (Rockets)
Projected Starters: PG Russell Westbrook, SG Thabo Sefolosha, SF Kevin Durant, PF Serge Ibaka, C Kendrick Perkins
I know what you’re thinking. How can I possibly say the Thunder after trading away the best shooting guard in the NBA for a couple dimes, and then proceeded to lose those dimes, along with their second best player for the first two months, possibly be the best team in the West? I have four words: Kevin Durant. Monster Season. I predict that Kevin Durant will go god mode on the Western Conference waiting for his partner in crime Westbrook to return from an ACL injury. Durant struggled without Westbrook in the playoffs, but I think he’ll be properly prepared both physically and mentally this season, and put up monster MVP numbers these first two months. They added next to nothing really. Gomes is a 10 minute a game player at best, Steven Adams is a decent energy big man, but nothing special, and Roberson could be a decent wing player, but he was picked late 1st Round. They lost Ronnie Brewer to the Rockets but no one cares about that. The big one is the scoring they lost in Kevin Martin leaving for the Wolves. Durant just needs someone to run beside him for two months, and they’re relying on Jeremy Lamb to do that. Scary.
The starters once again look solid, except for Perkins, he’s been awful. Westbrook will be back by Christmas, so it gives the Thunder something to work with. He’s a top 10 player in the NBA when healthy, and compliments Durant’s shooting with unbelievable speed and slashing. He’ll come back and average 20+ points a game when he returns, and I have no doubts about that. Thabo Sefolosha is a glue, defender player, who isn’t a great starter, but you love him in your lineup. He can defend the likes of the Hardens and Kobes of the West, and at least do a decent job on them. Serge Ibaka is a very good power forward, and while he’ll never be more than a 4th player on a contender, he still brings excellent mid range shooting, good defense, and great shot blocking. He’s a hyped up energy guy, who’s playing better that he probably ever should have been. Kendrick Perkins has been so puketastic since he came over from Boston, it’s not even funny anymore. The guy was supposed to come over and deal with the Laker bigs, and the rest of the conference big men, but his alright defense, has been overshadowed by the fact that he’s one of the worst offensive players in the NBA, and actually starting. If his defense was DPOY caliber, you’d forgive him, but even his supposed “strength” has been really lacking the past few years. Finally Durant. What else to say about him? He’s the best pure offensive player in the NBA. Can get his shot over anyone, underrated athlete and slasher, and has that rare gene in him that allows him to take over games at will. Plus look at this shooting graphic. Red is great. Durant has a LOT of red.
I’m thinking another 50/90/45 season shooting percentage wise, and these first two Westbrook-less months, I’m looking at 30+ points a game, and that killer instinct to really show.
The Thunder’s season rides on Kevin Durant playing like a basketball god, and Westbrook making a complete comeback. I have faith in these guys, because you have the second best player in the world, and best in the conference, along with the second best scoring point guard in the NBA. You have those two, I don’t really care who else you have, that alone makes you a contender.
Final Prediction: 57-25, 1st Western Conference