A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
The Keys To An Oklahoma City Thunder NBA Championship This Season
Everyone in the world knows that the Thunder have a serious chance to win a championship as long as they have a healthy Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The missing piece to this puzzle is a pure point guard that can facilitate the rock and have the vision to hit KD in his sweet spots and Westbrook when he slashes. Russell Westbrook is improving on his skills but he is truthfully a shooting guard in a point guards position. The Thunder can be title contenders every year it just takes the right adjustments to make it happen and Scott Brooks will need to do that this season as he is already on the hot seat.
The two players that come to mind for me when I think of the improvement of the OKC Thunder over the past year are Steven Adams and Reggie Jackson. Reggie Jackson from Boston College has stepped his game up to the highest levels at the biggest moments when the Thunder needed him. Last season in the post season Reggie had 32 points against the Grizzles to save them in that series. Reggie was passing the basketball and attacking the basket like a man possessed as he was having his way with the Memphis defense. Reggie jumped from scoring 5 points a game in 2012-2013 to 13 points a game in 2013-2014 which is impressive especially when he doesn’t start because Westbrook plays the point.
What if Scott Brooks had put Reggie Jackson at the point guard position and played Westbrook at the shooting guard position? If you have Reggie playing point guard that would free up Westbrook and KD to be on both wings with the fast breaks. Westbrook is one of the best players in the NBA on transition but when its a half court set he seems to second guess a lot of his execution. If you put Reggie there it will give him the reigns to run that offense and it will unleash Westbrook to be the best slasher in the league. Reggie Jackson would be able to feed KD the ball at his spots and it would take down the wear and tear on his body if he has a true floor general that can get him involved and can get him the ball exactly where he wants it. KD would benefit from this change a lot because as we saw last season him and Westbrook had some trouble getting on the same page against the Spurs. Reggie Jackson has soon growth and poise in his 3 seasons in the league and I believe this will be the season where he takes that next step if given the opportunity.
The Oklahoma City Thunder were 12th this season in defense and if they are going to make it back to the NBA Finals again before KD becomes a free agent in 2016 its going to have to get better ASAP. Steven Adams stepped his game up in the postseason showing that he can play with the best of them in the paint. Adams only averaged 3 points and 3 rebounds in the postseason but that doesn’t take away the toughness that he brought to the table when Serge got hurt. I think that Adams can step in and actually learn from Kendrick Perkins and excel if he can polish up on his game inside the paint on the offense and defensive end. Kendrick Perkins has to get back to his Boston days when people like Dwight Howard were like he is the toughest person to score on. Perkins 3 points and 5 rebounds a game can’t cut it this season and if he can bring that Boston edge to his game this season the Thunder will be in deep contention this season.
The Thunder have great role players that are very promising to watch for this season in Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones III. I think this is the year that both of these great players make a difference in the Thunders outcome for this season. Lamb is a pure shooter when he is hot he can go off at any moment. Perry Jones has a quick first step that resembles Tracy McGrady when he played for the Magic and if he can use that to attack to the basket watch for his production and numbers to go up. Watching Perry Jones, Stephen Adams, and Jeremy Lamb this offseason at the NBA Summer League they played the game with ease and looked to be in midseason form the way the game came so easy to them. The OKC Thunder have been projected to meet the Spurs in the Western Finals again and if the players I mentioned step up to the challenge this season they will overcome the Spurs.
I see the OKC Thunder going 60-22 this season if everyone is healthy and if the supporting cast can help KD and Westbrook during the season and postseason. The ceiling is very high for the Thunder and if they don’t get back to the finals Scott Brooks may be in some serious trouble on that coaches hot seat. My theory of Jackson playing the point would open up the floor for KD and Westbrook to just go all out sorta like Allen Iverson & Carmelo Anthony did in Denver when they combined for 53 points a game.