Thunderous Thoughts is a weekly look at the OKC Thunder. The main story ranges from absurd to real. This week’s main story is pessimistic and depressing.
It may seem impossible given that the Oklahoma City Thunder have a six game lead and Russell Westbrook, but let’s not kid ourselves, these are the OKC Thunder. They thrive on doing the dumbest and most frustrating thing possible.
Don’t rule out the OKC Thunder missing the playoffs.
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Without the services of Enes Kanter, this team no longer has a reliable second scorer. Steven Adams is the second best player on the team, but his game is predicated on how often Westbrook gets him the ball. Victor Oladipo is the only other guard that can create his own shot, but he’s still streaky with his scoring. The Thunder could survive without one or the other because they still had Westbrook on the floor with the other one.
They can’t survive without Kanter.
Their entire second unit offense revolved under Kanter. Aside from Westbrook, he’s the only guy they could put on the court with four other guys and still get buckets. He’s not even the low key MVP, he’s the high key number two MVP.
The next six games are the most important six games of the season. They are all against playoff teams and none of them are “gimme” games. It’s possible that they go 0-6, which would put them on a nine-game losing streak. I’m sure you’re saying, “there’s no way they lose nine straight games with Westbrook on the team,” but let’s not forget the team around him, and let’s not act like Westbrook is the most reliable guy in the world. They just got blown out at home against a Chicago Bulls team that hates each other. This is a bad basketball team with an inefficient star.
Again, these are the Thunder. Just when you think things are fine, everything turns. Possible advantage in the Finals? Let’s start Kendrick Perkins. Young core of superstars? Let’s trade James Harden. Championship favorite? Here’s a Westbrook injury. Potential favorites coming into the season and an active trade deadline? Here’s a Kevin Durant injury. 3-1 lead against the Warriors? Blown. A young team with two superstars? He gone. Teamplaying well and finding their groove? Chair shot to the arm.
Kanter’s injury is probably just the start. Then comes the nine-game losing streak. Then comes Sam Presti making a trade that doesn’t help the team. Finally, missing the playoffs. Of course, that leads to even bigger issues. Kanter gets traded in the offseason, Westbrook is upset and demands a trade, and that’s when the Oklahoma City Thunder officially becomes the greatest “What If?” in sports history.
That’s also when Oklahoma City Thunder basketball can go through “the process” and that’s when Oklahoma City Thunder basketball can thrive again.
Other OKC Thunder Thoughts
*Is there much more to say? January was terrible, February won’t be much better, and this team is flawed on so many levels.
*Shouts to Thunder fans who stick around for every game. I can’t put myself through that. Sometimes, you’ve got to pick your battles.
Just remember that Kenny Rogers song. Not the one about Islands in a Stream, which is a happy song about lovers and sailing away. I’m talking about the one in the Geico commercial. You’ve got to know when to watch games and know it’s going to be ugly and do something better for three hours.