Before the new season started, the Oklahoma City Thunder is predicted by many to win the NBA championship. But because of early troubles like the injury of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, the Thunder will have a hard time to win it all this season. With an 18-19 win-loss record, many are saying that they will get no home court advantage as they enter the playoffs. It’s tough for them most especially because they are playing at the Western Conference.
Although they are not leading the pack at the West, they are still one of the favorites to win the title. Many believe that when playoff time arrives, the 2014 MVP and Westbrook will dominate on offense. Just like last season, analysts do believe that Durant and Westbrook will double their production as the season progress. But what they fear about is what will happen with the Thunder if one or both of them got injured?
OKC Thunder’s offense relies heavily on Durant and Westbrook. Their dominance on the score board is in full effect this season.
Putting points on the board has always been Durant and Westbrook’s strong suit. KD is a four-time scoring champion, while Russ averaged at least 21 points per game for the past four seasons.
This year hasn’t been any different. While they are kept off the leaderboard due to a lack of games played, the efforts of Westbrook (26.2 points) and Durant (25.0 points) would rank second and fourth in scoring, respectively. Westbrook (29.59) and Durant (29.11) are also second and third in player efficiency ratings, respectively, per ESPN’s Hollinger stats.
I believe that when the season ends, the All-Star duo will be on the top 5 of this season’s scoring leaders. If you think about it, it’s really great stats for their team. But we all do know that two players alone can’t win a championship. The whole team must function and contribute so they can win it all this season.
In an article posted at NewsOK.Com, Darnell Mayberry and Anthony Slater discussed the championship chances of the Thunder this season. One of their most interesting points is about the biggest concern regarding this team’s title hopes.
Slater said that it was the late game offensive issues that give the Thunder a big problem. Although Durant is a clutch player and a reliable shooter in the end game, he alone can’t solve this problem. Slater said that “even with Durant, too often over the past few years, the Thunder fires up low-percentage, long-range contested looks in the crucial moments.” He also added that “There’s such a little margin for error in the West. Playoff games will be tight. Either Durant’s gonna have to hit a ton of tough looks or Scott Brooks is gonna have to find a way to get OKC a few easy ones.”
But for Mayberry, it’s not the end game issues or clutch performances. For him, it’s their over reliance at their two stars. The Thunder needs to perform as a team. They must find a way to get their other players involve especially on offense.