Thunder Team To Beat

The Thunder have quickly established themselves as the team to beat in the West.

Nash Herringtonby Nash Herrington

Don’t let Durant’s humble demeanor fool you, this team is loaded with talent and have what it takes to possibly even win it all. It an off-season where many teams in the West got weaker, OKC only got better.

Perhaps the biggest advantage the Thunder have is the shortened schedule. They are a young team that has the youth to win with a condensed scheduled that may really grind down the older more veteran teams. Another benefit for OKC is that fact that they didn’t make any major changes in the off-season. Since the pre-season was non-existent, teams with few roster changes and even few offensive and defensive scheme changes will benefit, especially early in the year.

Oklahoma let the West know exactly what their plans were for the 2011-2012 season with their 5-0 start. These five quick wins weren’t against fluff teams either. They knocked off the defending champions Dallas, Memphis and Orlando. Clearly, the Thunder are for real.

Led by Kevin Durant who is the two-time NBA scoring champion, the thunder have no shortage of big-time shot makers. When the clock is running down both Durant and Westbrook and eager to have the ball in their hands and both will make you pay with both the long ball and on the drive.

Perhaps, the one possible weakness the Thunder must continue to work on is offensive flow. Durant is definitely an offensive machine, but he often needs help in getting the ball in positions where he can be affective. Westbrook would appear the perfect compliment to a big-man with Durant’s unique skill-set, but Westbrook still struggles at times with decision making and lets not forget to mention his inability to manage his emotions. At times, it looks like Durant’s biggest job on the court is keeping Westbrook from pouting.

Durant is clearly the leader of this young team, but the success of the Thunder will likely go with the maturity development of their dynamic guard. Westbrook is a diamond in the rough. The only question is can he learn to shine and not explode at the same time.