Are the OKC Thunder a Future Dynasty?

Are the OKC Thunder a Future Dynasty?

Anthony Bearese, Staff writer

During the last decade of the NBA the OKC Thunder have had their ups and downs going making the playoffs nine of the last ten years. At their peak early in the decade they had Kevin Durant, Russel Westbrook, and James Harden all former MVP’s on one team. To have that many young future hall of famers on one team and not win a championship is really devastating. Every fan was was sure this team was gonna win the chip with this team until they traded James Harden when they couldn’t work out his contract extension, so they shipped him off to Houston in return for the six man of the year they got two first round picks, a second round pick and two fill in players for the deal. To fill out the rest of the decade, the Thunder could not get it done in the playoffs at all.  The closest they got to the title again was when they blew a 3-1 lead against the Warriors to set up a legendary series between the Cavs and the Warriors in the 2015-16 season. Westbrook and KD clashed after Durant left for Golden state to set up a super team for the ages in the bay. Westbrook went off the last three years in OKC. He was the first player to average a triple double since Oscar Robinson and he captured his one MVP. For a last desperation move the Thunder front Office decided to trade for Indians Paul George. George would have great success in his two seasons as he was an all star in both seasons and was a MVP candidate in his second year with the team. Even though the thunder tried to be a contender with George and Westbrook without Durant this team did not even make it out of the first round. They finally decided to blow it up, sending George to the Clippers for a king’s ransom and Westbrook being sent to Houston with his former teammate James Harden for another load of picks and an ageing Chris Paul. With low expectations coming into the season the Thunder had a one percent chance to make it to the playoffs.

Chris Paul’s impact on this team last season was unbelievable even though coming into the season he wasn’t an all NBA type of player anymore. He impacted the team with his leadership to the young players on the team such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, as Paul gave the second year guard some guidance and he was one of the most improved players after the season. Shai put up 19, 3 and 6 this season and that was an incredible jump in his game.  He was also shooting really efficiently from the field shooting 47 percent. Without Paul Shai wouldn’t have been the player he was last season and how Paul set the example of a gritty winning culture looks like without being carried by Russel Westbrook the entire season.

Just this week on November 17th Paul was traded to to Phoenix Suns for Kelly Oubre, Ricky Rubio, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque and a 2022 first-round pic and the suns only revive Paul in return as Phoenix thinks they can have a nice playoff push this year as they were on fire in the bubble. There are also speculations that guard  Dennis Schroder will be traded to the Lakers in the next few weeks too for a first out pick and this trade is great value for both teams because the Lakers need more depth and the Thunder are getting another first round pick.

Over the next six drafts the Thunder have 16 first round Picks , that’s  right 16 first round picks! We have never seen a team have this many first round picks through a six season stretch in the NBA ever in the history of the NBA. Sure there have been teams that have gotten a ton of picks for trading a superstar player but there has never been a team that basically controls the first round of the NBA draft for the next six seasons. The Thunder already have a really young core right now they could basically do anything with these amount of picks but they’re not gonna be worth anything for your future if you don’t draft and develop those picks in star players in the league. The Thunder basically can do whatever they want over the next couple seasons they could build in the draft or trade for a star player after their talent has developed and the front office is willing to give up assets to compete for a championship or not. The Thunder’s options are endless; they just need the right coach, front office, and players to make everything fit and for them to go all the way and win a ring.  We will see.