Oklahoma City Thunder
47-19 (1st Place Northwest Division, 2nd Seed Western Conference)
While the season did not end on the note that the Thunder thought it would, there’s no denying how far this team has come in just three years of existence. This is the Thunder team that in 2008-2009 ended up with a 23-59 record, and in year three ends up in the NBA Finals. There’s a great chance with the roster they have, they can make a few more trips back to the Finals.
The Thunder really got off to a hot start that saw them sitting at 16-4 through the first months of the season. They had a two game losing streak and wouldn’t lose three in a row till April, where they fell behind the Spurs for the top seed.
But most of the way, the Thunder sit at the top of their division and the conference. Kevin Durant would work his way to a third scoring title in his fourth year. Russell Westbrook worked well as the number two man. James Harden ended up winning the Sixth Man of the Year, and could probably start on some teams.
This Thunder team just seemed to grow into their own as each game happened. I think the playoffs really made this team who they are. They took out the Dallas Mavericks in four straight games with a rout in game three in Dallas.
Then came the Los Angeles Lakers, the same Lakers that were tested by the Thunder in last year’s playoffs. The Thunder made sure that wouldn’t happen this year as they won 4-1 in this series. Even with Kobe Bryant putting up over 35 points in the last three games, the Thunder were too much for the Lakers.
Next came the tough series against the San Antonio Spurs, which featured the Spurs team that had just rattled off a perfect postseason and a 10 game winning streak before that. They would jump out to a 2-0 series lead in this one,and the Thunder looked dead in the water.
But something turned it around, and Kevin Durant really carried the team throughout this series, even playing a full game come game five to put away the Spurs. There was so much joy after that game in the Thunder. You really got to enjoy the moment with that team.
Finally this team had made it to the NBA Finals. They were going to go up against a Miami Heat team, just there last season. Unfortunately, the Finals didn’t go as planned for the Thunder. They win the first game, but then lose four straight as Miami really made things difficult for that Thunder team. Lebron James figured out the best way to attack the Thunder defense, and was able to carry the Heat to this Finals win.
But like I said before, this Thunder team is young, and the core group of guys are signed there for the next couple of years. There’s room for improvement, and they can definitely make another run through the West and be right back there in the Finals next season. Hopefully, they’ll get a different ending next year.