Oklahoma City Thunder: Season Preview

Published 10/07/2017, 5:44 AM EDT


2016-17 Oklahoma City Thunder Regular Season: 47-35 (6 in Western Conference)

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Additions: Terrance Ferguson (NBA Draft), Paul George (Trade), Carmelo Anthony (Trade), Andre Robertson (Free Agency: Re-signed), Nick Collison (Free Agency: Re-signed), Patrick Patterson (Free Agency), Raymond Felton (Free Agency), Dakari Johnson (Free Agency: G-League), Daniel Hamilton (Free Agency: Two-way contract), Markel Brown (Free Agency), Isaiah Canaan (Free Agency), Bryce Alford (Free Agency), Rashawn Thomas (Free Agency)

Subtractions: Taj Gibson (Free Agency), Victor Oladipio (Trade), Domantas Sabonis (Trade), Enes Kanter (Trade), Doug McDermott (Trade)

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Last season, Westbrook carried the team in a historic season. Averaging a triple double, he took the team to 6 in the Western Conference. Unfortunately, with little to no support, they fell easily to Houston. Sam Presti, the General Manager made surprising changes. The Thunder have upgraded their arsenal.

New Faces

Patrick Ferguson, the only draft pick of the Thunder has no US Collegiate experience. He played a season of professional basketball in Australia. If anything, he has game experience for a rookie. Re-signing of Robertson was a good move for the Thunder.  Poor offensively, he is a defensive expert and locks down on the main player of the opposition.

Paul George came surprisingly cheap for OKC.

The biggest splashes came in the trade. The Thunder took everyone by surprise by giving up Oladipio and Sabonis to get in Paul George. The 4x All-Star is an all-round player, who can score, defend, provide play and rebound. He is not a very ball-dominant player as well, suiting the team profile. He is also a good 3-point shooter (something Westbrook is not good at). The team gave up very little to get George, a major coup for the team. Carmelo Anthony, who wanted to join Cleveland or Houston waived his no-contract clause to join the Thunder. Like George, Melo is an all-round experienced talent. He is a pure scorer, never gone below 20 points a season. A good addition for the Thunder who have a strong front court now.

The addition of Raymond Felton, Patrick Patterson, Isaiah Canaan, Markel Brown are valuable bench additions. The Thunder depleted the core of the 2 unit, and needed reliable players who can contribute efficiently while the starters rest.

The Bad

It would be an interesting season for the Thunder. George is not ball dominant which is fine. However, both Westbrook and Carmelo are ball dominant players. The offence has to flow through them. If they cannot co-exist, it would hamper the team. Though, Westbrooks more able ball-providing skills mean he will still be the focal point of the attack.

The Thunder have gutted their main second unit from last season. Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott being big examples. The new second unit will have to step up. If not, the team will then be outscored when the starters rest.

The Thunder are on a one-year rental. George and Melo enter free agency next summer. If the season is not a success for all, the two stars can look at other options next summer.  The Thunder would get nothing in return.

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Melo, a valuable addition to the squad will be hitting free agency next summer.

Verdict

The Thunder are a force in the Western Conference. Between their all-stars, it is possible to expect 70-80 points a night from just them. Westbrook’s super max contract, has tied the star for 5 years. George and Anthony have said, Westbrook’s commitment to the team will have a big impact on their decision.The team will be considered as a potential winner of the NBA trophy in the summer.

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Westbrook has committed to the Thunder, signing a 5-year, $205 million contract.

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Gaurav

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Sports is such an amazing passion. A content writer of NBA

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