The Thunder came into the NBA season with a weakened squad from previous years. Former MVP Kevin Durant announced in the offseason that he would leave Oklahoma for the Golden State Warriors to join the likes of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in the hopes of winning an NBA Championship in the near future. Serge Ibaka was also traded to the Orlando Magic in a trade which seen both Victor Oladipo and Ersan Ilyasova relocate to Oklahoma. Ilyasova has since been traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Thunder were definitely weakened during the offseason in losing two key players in Durant and Ibaka but all was not lost...
The mood around Oklahoma was dull until on the 4th of August, Westbrook announced he would be signing a contract extension with the Thunder and that he was in it for the long run. Westbrook had just shown his loyalty to the team in doing so and that he wouldn’t give up on the team even though Durant had left. He had now earned the full backing of the Thunder fans as they prepared for the upcoming NBA season and what lay ahead.
The preseason for the Thunder was a quiet one where they managed to achieve an okay record of 3W-3L but the team chemistry was definitely on the up and they were ready for the upcoming NBA season.
There was no doubt that the Thunder were title contenders in the 2015-2016 season but after the offseason, a lot of people took the Thunder off their raider’s after losing KD. These people were wrong, though, as the Thunder proved in the first few games of the season. The Thunder came out fighting and started the season off with a 4-win streak, defeating teams like the Los Angeles Clippers and the Phoenix Suns before being defeated by none other than the Golden State Warriors in what wasn’t a close affair as the Thunder lost by 26 points, a game in which Kevin Durant knocked down 39 points against his former team. There had been much building up to that game but at the end of the day the Thunder just didn’t show up. The Thunder didn’t drop their heads though and went on to win 2 games against the young Minnesota Timberwolves and the Miami Heat. The Thunder are now on a 4 game losing streak in which they lost games against the Clippers and the Orlando Magic by just two points in both games. The 6W-5L record leaves the Thunder lying in the 7th spot in the Western Conference, just about qualifying for a playoff spot.
The Storm is Coming
Westbrook has shown that he’s a man on a mission this year and has put in some spectacular games this season already recording 3 triple-doubles this season which is extremely impressive and I’m sure that there're many more triple-double nights to come from him before the NBA season is out. Even though some games haven’t went the Thunder’s way some of Westbrook’s scoring outings have been truly incredible.
His averages this season are 32 ppg, 9.9 apg and 9.7 rpg, that’s nearly a triple-double per game on average… spectacular!
The guard can score extremely well, pass the ball efficiently and is probably the best point guard to get you rebounds at the moment, in fact, he’s probably the best point guard to get you rebounds that we’ve seen in a long time.
On the other hand, you’ve got Victor Oladipo, a guy who’s an incredible talent with lots to bring to the table as he develops. Oladipo is still only 24 years old and definitely has time on his side. The young guy will be able to hone his skills and mature under Westbrook’s wing and become an All-Star caliber guard. Already this season Vic has put up some solid performances and I'm sure the best is yet to come from him as he grows more comfortable with the Thunder.
I truly believe that Westbrook and Oladipo are developing into one of the best backcourts in the league. Sure they’re not your Curry and Thompson or your Lillard and McCollum but in the future, we could be calling these guys the best backcourt duo in the league.
Rome wasn't built in a day
The Thunder will definitely not be as strong a team as in previous years but with young potential in the team and lots of hard work, they can grow and develop together and who better to lead the team than Russell Westbrook. I’m confident that if the team keeps improving together that in the future a Ring could come to Oklahoma.
Russell Westbrook wouldn’t have it any other way but it will take time and patience from both the players and the fans. ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ is a quote I would use to describe the situation in Oklahoma but the time will come for Westbrook and his teammates to step up and take the throne atop the NBA. How long that takes is a question I can’t answer and we’ll just have to wait and see but it will be exciting to watch the team as they continue to develop their potential and continue fighting in the tough Western Conference as they battle for a top seed.