As a writer I try my best to not show that I like one team more than the rest. Well I’m breaking that rule with this post. I love the Oklahoma City Thunder. That being said, they have let me down the past few years. It just doesn’t seem like they can quite get over the hump and get to that championship level. Of course as a fan of the team I think I know all the things they need to do to fix that problem. OKC’s “Big 3” are all under contract until the 2016-17 season, so the problem needs to be fixed before then. So here we go.
1. Play Team Offense (Looking at you Westbrook)
We all recently watched the San Antonio Spurs do there best ’86 Celtics impersonation and completely steam roll their way to yet another championship. I think we can all agree the reason was due to how well they played together as a unit and moved the ball. I can remember a ton of possessions last season in OKC where Westbrook would bring the ball down and either shoot without ever considering passing the ball, get himself into a bad situation and turn it over, or dribble around and then pass it to a teammate late in the shot-clock. That playing style did lead the team to 59 wins last season, but when you get deep into the playoffs it doesn’t cut it. The Thunder have to learn to run an actual offense instead of running isolations for Westbrook and Durant if they ever want to win a championship.
2. Low-post Scoring
The Thunder are blessed with a couple of the best perimeter players in the world. Add Serge Ibaka to the mix and you have 3 All-NBA starters. The only problem is that none of them give OKC that powerful paint presence that is needed to win the championship. Steven Adams showed flashes of promise to fill this void within the next couple of seasons, but the issue needs to be fixed now. Kendrick Perkins gives the team a strong post defender, but has little offensive skill. Hopefully Adams and rookie Mitch Mcgary will find a way to give the Thunder at least somewhat of a post threat next season.
3. Kevin Durant
I know when you see this you think I’m crazy. What can the reigning MVP possibly have to do with the problem? Well nothing really. It’s how he could help with the problem even more. We all witnessed the incredible numbers he put up in January while Westbrook was injured. Clearly he is one of the best at scoring the ball. That being said, I watched him drive the lane many times last year only to have him lose the ball or force a bad shot because of contact with a defender. I’m aware that on many of these drives he was getting fouled, but there’s an easy fix to this problem. If Durant can add a few pounds of muscle we will see him get up his shot in traffic much easier and also hold on to the ball more. There’s no telling how much he could score if he had his jumpshot AND LeBron’s ability to finish at the rim. Added strength would also help him defensively. He’s never been a great defender, especially when having to guard someone in the post. If he had the ability to hold his ground in the paint and alter shots with his insane wingspan we’d see a much more all-around Kevin Durant.
If the team can find a way to do these things then we very well may see a new team running the West and ultimately the NBA.