The Oklahoma City Thunder/Seattle Supersonics have not won a championship since 1979, but the current squad has been showing signs of potential to help the franchise reach its second championship, but can they actually do it?
The Oklahoma City Thunder made the Finals in 2012; but unfortunately for them, they fell to the Miami Heat in five games despite having home court advantage. In 2013, they were the favorites to win it all, but the injury of Russell Westbrook in the first round caused them to be bounced by the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round. And as for 2014, they came up short against the now current champion, the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, as reported on ESPN.
With the way Kevin Durant is playing, the Oklahoma City Thunder are always contenders for a championship, but as Lebron James showed us in his first six years in Cleveland, it takes more than one man to win a championship. But of course, you can’t say Kevin Durant is alone, as he has one of the best point guards in the league playing alongside him, Russell Westbrook. But the problem that the Thunder have is that they’re in a position where they can’t use their All-Star point guard like they want to.
The purpose of a point guard is to be able to make plays for your teammates on the court, but with the way the team plays, Westbrook only sets plays for Kevin Durant, and if he doesn’t make a play for him, it’s for himself, whether it be him driving to the rim in a clogged up paint, or him shooting a low percentage jumper from the wing or behind the three point line.
The problem with that is that eventually Kevin Durant is cooled down as the defensive pressure on him is maximized, especially in the playoffs where all teams step up defensively, which forces him to take low percentage shots or even leads to turnovers for both Durant and Westbrook. When the team had James Harden, they had a second guy who could make plays, and took a lot of the pressure off the Westbrook in terms of finding open looks and making plays.
The team doesn’t have someone like James Harden, but if they’re lucky, they can find someone who can help Westbrook in terms of making plays and prevent him from having to make rushed decisions with the ball in his hands in the draft, as they have two first round picks. They’re late first round picks, but that’s not a problem as this draft class is loaded with great players.
If some changes to the team’s roster and play style aren’t changed, than that’s only going to lead to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook become more frustrated with the team and one another, and eventually, one or both of them will eventually split, which would kill the franchise, especially in a very competitive and over stacked Western Conference. This team really prides itself on his offense instead of defense, so they need more scoring from more players.