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View Full Version : Has OKC legitimaely cracked into the (non-elite) upper echelon of the NBA?



DenButsu
02-23-2010, 03:13 AM
The Oklahoma City Thunder is now 5th in the West, and 9th in the league, ahead of (in this order) Phoenix, San Antonio, Toronto, Portland, New Orleans, Chicago, Houston, Memphis, Miami, and Charlotte.

Somewhat surprisingly (considering Durant's reputation), they are tied for 3rd in the league with Orlando in defensive efficiency, putting them right behind Boston and L.A., and ahead of Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, and Miami. They also have the 4th best rebound rate, which surely contributes to their solid defense.

They have only the 18th best offensive efficiency rating, but on the balance their efficiency differential is 9th best in the league, ahead of Phoenix, Portland, Dallas, Miami, Charlotte, and Houston.

They have won 9 in a row, currently the league's longest winning streak.

Durant has the 6th best PER in the league, ahead of Melo, Dwight, Kobe, Nash, Dirk, Gasol, Billups, Smith and Roy.

They are on a clear trajectory of fairly rapid improvement, and as the youngest team in the league it also seems clear that they'll not only just keep getting better but will stay that way for a long time. This is especially likely if, as it now seems they will, they get some experience in the postseason this year.

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Just based on them being longtime bottom dwellers, it's kind of hard for my brain to compute that the Thunder (née Sonics) should be mentioned in the same breath as longtime and/or well-established contenders and near-contenders like Dallas, San Antonio, Phoenix, Utah, Houston, New Orleans and Denver.

But I think they may really have arrived.

bchissie
02-23-2010, 03:43 AM
Not yet. Half a season of good basketball isn't quite enough.

Raph12
02-23-2010, 03:49 AM
No, when they beat the Lakers, Nuggets, Magic or Cavs in a playoff atmosphere game, then we can start to consider them.

ko8e24
02-23-2010, 03:51 AM
They are a very promising team. But I think it is an injustice to the Thunder to already call them a "non-elite" yet upper echelon team. You need to let a team grow at their own pace. Early crowning and hyping up teams sometimes puts more pressure on them, and it can hinder their progression. Every "bound to be good to great team" improves and builds upon their successes at their own rate. I feel we should applaud what the Thunder have done this season, but we should also understand that it's a young core of guys, with a young coach, that needs to improve according to their own timeline and rate. I think an NBA franchise in pursuit of eventually getting to that "elite, or upper echelon level" deserves that much respect and regard. We should let the Thunder organization improve yearly at the pace that they are comfortable with, and meanwhile, we will enjoy and have fun watching the growth of this very young yet promising basketball team.

Mavrix
02-23-2010, 03:51 AM
I'd be shocked if they went from not making the playoffs to being the 5th seed. They're probably going to end up at 6th of 7th and face either Denver or Dallas in the first round.

Chronz
02-23-2010, 04:08 AM
Id still take the Spurs or the Mavs over them

tredigs
02-23-2010, 04:33 AM
They are a very promising team. But I think it is an injustice to the Thunder to already call them a "non-elite" yet upper echelon team. You need to let a team grow at their own pace. Early crowning and hyping up teams sometimes puts more pressure on them, and it can hinder their progression. Every "bound to be good to great team" improves and builds upon their successes at their own rate. I feel we should applaud what the Thunder have done this season, but we should also understand that it's a young core of guys, with a young coach, that needs to improve according to their own timeline and rate. I think an NBA franchise in pursuit of eventually getting to that "elite, or upper echelon level" deserves that much respect and regard. We should let the Thunder organization improve yearly at the pace that they are comfortable with, and meanwhile, we will enjoy and have fun watching the growth of this very young yet promising basketball team.

Spot on. This is the most succinct, best post I have seen you make. I agree 100%.

_KB24_
02-23-2010, 04:56 AM
No offense, but kind of a stupid question you are asking. Give them a year or two. I see them developing into a better version of the current Portland and how they revived that franchise.

soonabooma
02-23-2010, 05:04 AM
OKC is definitely a top 10 caliber team right now, and that's all we can ask for. It sounds crazy to say that, but based on the way we've been playing, it's pretty legit. Nobody expected us to be 33-21 a week after the All-Star break and sitting in the 5th seed in a brutal Western conference. Everybody just kinda expected us to maybe hover around .500 and just barely miss the playoffs. Nobody was counting on this. So I think it's safe to at least say we've exceeded expectations up to this point. And the thing about this team is...they're really starting to get it. Wins are no longer flukes, no matter who they're against. We've gotten to the point of the elite teams knowing they're gonna be in for a fight, and the lower tier teams know that they're more than likely gonna lose to us. We're learning how to win, and the really cool thing about it is the fact that we haven't even brought in any reinforcements yet, no big trades, no free agent acquisitions....just some good draft picks and the addition of good role players like Thabo Sefolosha. What's gonna happen when we eventually upgrade our center position? We could very well address that this summer. We're not gonna get BIG NAME guys to come play here becuz we're a smaller market, but we can sure as heck bring in some very solid guys that would love to play with this young group, and that's all we need. So with the young core we have now and a couple of additions at some point, I think we're gonna have a chance to be a very special team and maybe one of the teams of the future.

Sometimes a team just isn't fun to watch, even if it's your own team, but I love watching our boys play ball now. And I think people are starting to realize that if the Thunder are on TV, you should watch them becuz you will definitely be satisfied with the product. We're playing some really good ball. We're a defensive minded team, but not to the point of being boring. Our guys are flying around on both ends. There's nothing boring about Thunder basketball anymore. Last year was pretty painful, so we know exactly what teams like the Nets and Wolves are going through right now. It's tough to go through that building process, but things are starting to look real bright in OKC.

ko8e24 made a good point...we just have to let them improve at their own pace. That's all we can ask of them, and so far so good.:box:

ElMarroAfamado
02-23-2010, 05:42 AM
No, when they beat the Lakers, Nuggets, Magic or Cavs in a playoff atmosphere game, then we can start to consider them.

r u really a fan of all the teams on your sig?
what a surprise none of them suck.......
..............

ko8e24
02-23-2010, 05:47 AM
r u really a fan of all the teams on your sig?
what a surprise none of them suck.......
..............

Raph12 is a true NBA fan. He doesn't prefer one team. And you really shouldn't have a problem with the teams that he likes.

DenButsu
02-23-2010, 08:56 AM
No offense, but kind of a stupid question you are asking.

What's with the attitude, man? It's a perfectly reasonable question to ask. They're having a great season, and in this current win streak they're passing by much more established teams. They're worth a closer look now. Besides, it's not as if I thought everybody would answer "yes" (if I did, I wouldn't have posted it, because I'd have considered it a boring question).

Maybe if you had something more substantive to offer by way of an answer I'd take your jab more seriously. But as it is, there's really no reason to give it any merit at all.

No offense.

Corey
02-23-2010, 08:59 AM
No offense, but kind of a stupid question you are asking. Give them a year or two. I see them developing into a better version of the current Portland and how they revived that franchise.

They already are at least as good, if not better than Portland.

AK-50
02-23-2010, 09:05 AM
i think a playoff series win or lose will make them more mature and watch out for next season

iHoop
02-23-2010, 09:28 AM
They are a very promising team. But I think it is an injustice to the Thunder to already call them a "non-elite" yet upper echelon team. You need to let a team grow at their own pace. Early crowning and hyping up teams sometimes puts more pressure on them, and it can hinder their progression. Every "bound to be good to great team" improves and builds upon their successes at their own rate. I feel we should applaud what the Thunder have done this season, but we should also understand that it's a young core of guys, with a young coach, that needs to improve according to their own timeline and rate. I think an NBA franchise in pursuit of eventually getting to that "elite, or upper echelon level" deserves that much respect and regard. We should let the Thunder organization improve yearly at the pace that they are comfortable with, and meanwhile, we will enjoy and have fun watching the growth of this very young yet promising basketball team.

Amazing post! :clap:

You hit it right on the head.

Draco
02-23-2010, 09:41 AM
I agree.. credit goes to Durant.

beardown78
02-23-2010, 10:12 AM
Not elite or upper echelon quite yet maybe A year or two away. If they could somehow add David Lee to the mix this summer and the young guys continue to improve they are easily A top 3 team in the west

king4day
02-23-2010, 10:15 AM
Not yet. They're close. I think another year they'll get there. Durant is going to be even better and the team will probably get a veteran to play with them next year. Amazing that they're that good, yet that young.

DenButsu
02-23-2010, 10:49 AM
They are a very promising team. But I think it is an injustice to the Thunder to already call them a "non-elite" yet upper echelon team. You need to let a team grow at their own pace.

I understand the point you're making, but describing them that way (rather than, say, something like "up-and-coming" or "promising", etc.) was intended as a compliment due to their progressing more quickly than I had anticipated.

And you know what? I'm sure that the pressure that comes from the hype they'll get from moving up in the standings ahead of perennial playoff powerhouses is a very welcome change for them from the past few seasons. My guess would be that they're not that worried about it, and would in fact welcome it.

HouRealCoach
02-23-2010, 10:53 AM
They are just damn good... People seem to forget about how good Jeff GReen and Westbrook are... Then they also have Harden, This team is great

HouRealCoach
02-23-2010, 10:53 AM
Hopefully they somehow trade for Thabeet and sign Chris Bosh in the offseason

JNA17
02-23-2010, 10:54 AM
right now, there like a 6 or 7 seed to me. Which is great for them for what they were before. At this rate, i see them being contenders in only a season or 2. That team is full of unlimited potential. It's just a shame the team name sucks lol

YoungOne
02-23-2010, 11:24 AM
i think they are a good defensive and rebounding bigman (someone like Oden or Perkins) away from being a contender. kristic and collison aren't enough to beat the lakers or mavs for example.

HoopsDrive
02-23-2010, 12:22 PM
A 5th seed sounds about right. A matchup between the Blazers and Thunder would be exciting.

They're a big man away from being considered contenders. I'm not sure if Lee would cut it, but if they can somehow get their hands on him, they would probably be fighting for that 3rd or 4th seed faster than expected.

td0tsfinest
02-23-2010, 12:26 PM
They've done a great job this year. They're playoff bound this year. Give them a year or two and a Center down low and this time might just be ready to compete with the big dawgs.

Baller1
02-23-2010, 07:31 PM
A 5th seed sounds about right. A matchup between the Blazers and Thunder would be exciting.

They're a big man away from being considered contenders. I'm not sure if Lee would cut it, but if they can somehow get their hands on him, they would probably be fighting for that 3rd or 4th seed faster than expected.

They're already fighting for a 3rd-4th seed, just throwing that out there.

Big Quett
02-23-2010, 07:56 PM
Not yet. Half a season of good basketball isn't quite enough.

The season is like 75% done


I'd be shocked if they went from not making the playoffs to being the 5th seed. They're probably going to end up at 6th of 7th and face either Denver or Dallas in the first round.

I thought this was a crazy question until i looked it up. They are only 3 games behind Denver for the 2nd seed in the West with 28 games to go. And they just beat Denver. And you say 6th or 7th seed like it would be a big drop. There is only like 3 games from the 3rd and 6th spot. And they haven't lost this month.

I dont know about other people but if they could be #3 in the west i could see them beating Portland or Phoenix in a series. They have a chance. You always have a chance when you play defense and have a straight out Stud

Shady66
02-23-2010, 08:33 PM
This team is definatly in the upper class of the NBA maybe top 10. The only thing they need is a respectable low post scorer and more defenders. No offence to Jeff Green but he is not the PF they need for the future. Hes a SF anyways.

loki34
02-23-2010, 08:36 PM
not yet

_KB24_
02-23-2010, 11:12 PM
They already are at least as good, if not better than Portland.

Portland been missing more than half their team. I still like Portland over OKC even without Oden. But they have to get healthy.


What's with the attitude, man? It's a perfectly reasonable question to ask. They're having a great season, and in this current win streak they're passing by much more established teams. They're worth a closer look now. Besides, it's not as if I thought everybody would answer "yes" (if I did, I wouldn't have posted it, because I'd have considered it a boring question).

Maybe if you had something more substantive to offer by way of an answer I'd take your jab more seriously. But as it is, there's really no reason to give it any merit at all.

No offense.

Wow, kind of caught me off guard. I wasn't showing attitude, lol, I said no offense for a reason. I never pick on mods:cool:. I think its stupid because they're such a young team and to say that they "cracked into the (non-elite) upper echelon" is unfair. Give them a year or two, than you can have a better picture of this team.

ManRam
02-23-2010, 11:14 PM
Russy has been great lately. He's their X-factor.

But yeah...I think they are right up there. Definitely a legit team...especially now that their defense is at an elite level.

Kakaroach
02-23-2010, 11:14 PM
If Durant can keep up this play, then I have no doubt they are a legit playoff team to be scared of come playoff time. Westbrook and Green have been great too.

ElMarroAfamado
02-23-2010, 11:29 PM
Kevin Durant has truly arrived....
woah..lebron james better watch out for this guy he might have met his roadblock for a title after kobe retires...
and Kevin Durant is probably one of the least HATABLE guys in the league so i wouldnt be surprised if he becomes more popular than lebron james

ManRam
02-23-2010, 11:35 PM
Kevin Durant has truly arrived....
woah..lebron james better watch out for this guy he might have met his roadblock for a title after kobe retires...
and Kevin Durant is probably one of the least HATABLE guys in the league so i wouldnt be surprised if he becomes more popular than lebron james

LeBron was incredibly likable until he really reached superstar status. Most every player is like that. Kobe was the same way.

KD's perfect image will slowly deteriorate as his star power increases...sadly.

soonabooma
02-23-2010, 11:50 PM
LeBron was incredibly likable until he really reached superstar status. Most every player is like that. Kobe was the same way.

KD's perfect image will slowly deteriorate as his star power increases...sadly.

Not likely.....Kevin Durant is not that kind of player. He never has been that way. He's a very quiet, humble guy. He's becoming a superstar right now and still staying humble in the process. Lebron was hotdogger type of player from the start. He has that kind of personality and unfortunately for him, people are starting to see just how immature he really is when things don't go his way. He wants all the attention focused on himself, and he almost looks fake now every time he tries to act like a classy guy. KD doesn't have that problem. He's genuine and it's not hard at all to see that. He lets his play do the talking. He's more like MJ than Lebron will ever be.

ManRam
02-23-2010, 11:55 PM
Not likely.....Kevin Durant is not that kind of player. He never has been that way. He's a very quiet, humble guy. He's becoming a superstar right now and still staying humble in the process. Lebron was hotdogger type of player from the start. He has that kind of personality and unfortunately for him, people are starting to see just how immature he really is when things don't go his way. He wants all the attention focused on himself, and he almost looks fake now every time he tries to act like a classy guy. KD doesn't have that problem. He's genuine and it's not hard at all to see that. He lets his play do the talking. He's more like MJ than Lebron will ever be.

I disagree. LeBron was one of the quietest people in the league...he still is relatively quiet. I swear I didn't know what his voice sounded like for the first few years. People are making him seem more immature than he is, and the same will happen for Durant. Every time he does ANYTHING, it becomes a thread on this main forum. If we had a thread for every time a player complained about not getting calls, a player not shaking hands after a game...or whatever, we'd could have a new forum with more posts than any other one here. It's just that when you're a star, everything is put under an intense microscope. It will happen for KD if he ever gets to LBJ's level of super stardom.

And MJ was the most arrogant, egotistical, brazen douche bag the league has probably ever seen. Ask any insider, teammate, coach...whatever. You're comparison is not supporting your claim.

0nekhmer
02-24-2010, 12:06 AM
They are becoming a very good team fast. I can see them making an upset in the first round.

soonabooma
02-24-2010, 12:47 AM
Jordan was obnoxious at times no doubt, but he didn't act like a baby the way Lebron does. Very rarely if even ever did we see MJ storm off the court becuz he was pissed about losing. Jordan did his fair share of handshakes in defeat....not alot compared to his victorious ones, but enough for people to know he was still a class act, just a very tough competitor who liked to win. Lebron has almost gotten to the point of being expected to leave the court with a crybaby look at least every other time they lose. That's pretty pathetic. In terms of maturity and professionalism, he's not even close to what MJ was.

Now, if you want to say Durant could become a little bit of a moody type of player as his superstar status increases, then that's fine becuz that comes with competitiveness, but he's about as quiet and humble as it gets. Like I said, that's his personality, Lebron was never THIS humble of a guy. He was all about attention from the start. He just talks more now with that big mouth of his. That's what makes KD different. He's only 21 years old, and already a more humble, classy, mature, respectful person than even some of the veterans in the league. He plays ball to play ball, he doesn't worry about how many cameras are in his face, he doesn't spend more time on a faggy pregame dance than he does his actual game, and he doesn't worry about having all the attention focused on him. He lets his game do the talking, and whatever attention they want to give him, he's fine with it. He worries about basketball. So don't expect him to ever reach BABY status the way Lebron has. KD is better than that. So like I said, in terms of MATURITY and PROFESSIONALISM, KD will be more like MJ than Lebron ever will.

ManRam
02-24-2010, 12:53 AM
I'm not saying he'll become a bad person...I'm saying the fans, media and everyone will make him into one. He isn't going to change as a person...our perceptions will change of him. It's happened to most every star. Kobe, Shaq, LeBron, KG and so on. They all start off likable, but as they get better, as their teams become a threat, we start to dwell on all the "bad", and they become villainized.

I see no character differences between LeBron in his third year and KD in his. I really, truly don't. LeBron was always characterized as the down-to-earth, humble future super star. If you don't me, go check the pre-draft articles and such to refresh your brain.

soonabooma
02-24-2010, 01:50 AM
Well, we can debate it forever......Kevin Durant is not gonna be a prick. If you start acting like a prick, chances are you always were one, you just did a good job of hiding it at first. Shaq is a perfect example. The guy is a straight up douche, he always was, he just masked it better when he was younger. He doesn't care about anybody else, he acts nice when it's convenient for him, but he's already shown his true colors, he's a jerkoff. Lebron....pure brat, immature, selfish, wants all the attention, he acts nice and humble, but that's just what it is....an act. I don't care if we're talking about when he was 18 or when he's 30. The dude is a fake. Kevin Durant is not like those guys.

Why don't we ever hear anybody saying bad things about Tim Duncan? How bout Steve Nash? Dirk Nowitzki? Grant Hill? Dwyane Wade? These guys are superstars too. They just know how to carry themselves better than people like Shaq. Everything is not a contest with them on who can get the most attention, who can get the last word in, who can always have the last laugh the way superdouche approaches everything. There's a reason why nobody thinks they're pricks, it's becuz they're not. They're not hiding anything the way Shaq was back in the day, they're just good guys, great players, certainly competitive, but never lacking class or humbleness.

I'm just saying....KD will be in that class of guys. He will be as big of a superstar as there is, but he's not gonna fall into that prick trap. He'll be a genuine person, not a fake the way so many other guys are.

Wilson
02-24-2010, 02:21 AM
I'm really stunned by their defensive numbers, I had no idea they were that good. I think they'll need a bigger center than Nenad Krstic to be a true championship contender, but to say they're on the right track is a huge understatement...

Baller1
02-24-2010, 02:42 AM
I'm really stunned by their defensive numbers, I had no idea they were that good. I think they'll need a bigger center than Nenad Krstic to be a true championship contender, but to say they're on the right track is a huge understatement...

I agree. I think Kristic is perfect... as a back-up. He's a great shooter and is an alright defender, but the Thunder really need a banger down low; like Nick Collison, but bigger and stronger.