2012-2013 NBA Season Preview – Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder showed that they were ready to contend for championships last season. They also showed that they were not up to the challenge of the Heat yet, as Miami revealed some flaws in the Thunder’s game as the finals wore on. That is part of the growing process of a team though; making it deep and being disappointed in the playoffs. America’s Bookie has the Thunder at +300 to win the NBA championship and +175 to win the Western Conference.
Russell Westbrook’s scoring and shooting numbers have improved in each of his first 4 seasons and I think we have yet to see the best out of him. He gets criticism at times which is mostly because he plays a little too fast at times and either turns over the ball or rushes and doesn’t set up his shot. I would take him on my team anytime. He is one of the best rebounding point guards out there and he is fierce on defense. His backup, Eric Maynor, tore his ACL last year and missed most of the season. It will be important to get him back in the rotation as he can run the offense when Westbrook gets a break.
In the other guard position James Harden is clearly the man, although he comes off the bench most of the time. Oklahoma City usually starts Thabo Sefolosha or Dacquan Cook, but Harden is the one to make things happen. He is also a lot more athletic than he is usually given credit for.
In the small forward spot is one of the best scorers on the planet, Kevin Durant. He has won the last 3 scoring titles and should be right back near the top again this season. He has become a really strong rebounder and his defense has gotten consistently better each season. This superstar has a great work ethic with a team first attitude, so you just know that the kid has a ring in his future. The question is will this be the year?
At power forward will once again be Serge Ibaka who defends the paint probably better than anyone in the NBA. He lead the league in blocks per game last season and can step in quite well at center when Kendrick Perkins is out. Perkins main role is to defend the post one on one and provide that physical aspect at both ends of the court. All indications point to the Thunder being right back in contention again this season. They are young, talented and deep. But there are going to be several much improved teams this season. It will be a long road back to the finals but the Thunder have the ingredients to make that a possibility.
Keep up with the action at NBA Scores and Odds.
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