By Professor Fred Whitted NORTH CAROLINA (BASN) — The title above...
The Most Important Season In OKC Thunder History
The Thunder are coming off a season where they didn’t make the NBA playoffs since the 2008-2009 season. The crazy thing about this situation is that you had Kevin Durant as last years MVP and Russell Westbrook had his hands in the mix for the 2014-2015 MVP. The injury to Kevin Durant was very devastating to the team. KD tried to come back a couple of times to help his teammates but wasn’t able too which opened up the spotlight for Westbrook. Russell went on a tear from winning the NBA All Star MVP to the end of the season Westbrook was unstoppable. Westbrook averaged 28.1, 8.6 ast, 7.3 rebs in his magical season without his right hand man Kevin Durant most of the season. The Thunder made some serious changes this offseason when they announced the firing of Scott Brooks after having him as Head Coach since 2008. The Thunder brought in Florida University Head Coach Billy Donovan to steer the Thunder ship to the promise land.
Billy Donovan is coming into a very pressured situation because he has to be in the hot seat and also try to eclipse what Scott Brooks was able to accomplish. Scott Brooks was a great coach but wasn’t able to have all of his players healthy around playoff time numerous years which wasn’t fair. My thing is if Billy Donovan has a season with injuries too then he would be in the same situation Scott Brooks was in where the coach gets the blame. The NBA is a players league as we all know and the Thunder are going to do anything in their power to make sure the players are put in the best position to win. Billy Donovan brings a defensive presence to the Thunder and he has a great amount of set plays that the Thunder will be able to run. Donavan has coached many NBA players that are in the league now like Bradley Beal, Joakim Noah, Mike Miller just to name a few. He’s a proven champion as his college resume speaks for itself.
With that being said, Donovan is going to have to get on the same page as Durant and Westbrook and create a system where both players can succeed. Donovan has big shoes to fill coming after Scott Brooks who was very comfortable with KD and Russ. The one thing that has been noticeable over the last two seasons is that KD and Russ pick up the team if one of the dynamic duo aren’t in the line up. When KD was out last season Russ went off on one of the best runs ever seen in the NBA in a long time as far as triple doubles and leadership. When Russ was out KD was on a scoring spree that was unmatched by any player in the league and he slowly shifted in front of LeBron that year for the MVP. When both are on the court the same time they both have to water down their game to tend to what the team needs. If the team needs scoring down the stretch KD gets the ball and if the Thunder need slashing and facilitating Russ comes to the rescue. Both have grown as men and have grown leadership wise thats why everyone is looking forward to this season. The Thunder have the pressure and the TV schedule to give any team the title contender label. The Thunder have been voted to have the biggest improvement of any team this season in the NBA and they’re determined to get to that NBA Championship.
Kevin Durant is coming off his Jones Fracture in his foot and showed that he is ready to reclaim that number 1 spot in the league. Kevin Durant told everyone “I am the best player in the world” in a way that made everyone believe him. He was at USA Basketball Training Camp and displayed some flashes of the MVP that everyone has grown to love. KD coming into the season has a lot on his plate as he will just try to focus on winning a championship.
The problem is they have to get through the NBA season first while wondering what the superstar Kevin Durant will do. KD is under contract with the Thunder until June 30th 2016. The question people are all wondering is if KD will sign an extension or will he just leave the Thunder for another team. There are a lot of teams in the NBA trying to position themselves to be a player in the Kevin Durant Sweepstakes. KD has been very loyal to the Thunder organization and done everything by the book and very professional. Kevin has signed with Roc Nation Sports to get his brand out there more and to be able to better his contract negotiation situations. KD has been very loyal but if you are the Thunder and Sam Presti how do you go about this season. KD has always been loyal and humble towards the organization that believed in him his whole career and will have the team in his hands. If KD doesn’t know what he wants to do throughout the season that puts Presti in a tough position. Do you want to trade KD or wait until he makes a decision in free agency and perhaps not get anything in return. Thats all a possibility in the coming season and it will be on the mind of all Thunder fans coming into the season.