Oklahoma City Thunder Predictions
Last Year’s Record: 47-19
Key Losses: Nazr Mohammed, Derek Fisher
Key Additions: Perry Jones, Hollis Thompson, Hasheem Thabeet
Perkins is one of the better defensive centers in the league. Unfortunately, it comes at a cost as his offense is usually so bad that it takes away from any positives he produces at the other end of the floor. He shoots less than 50% from the floor and turns the ball over way too often. The Thunder scored 8.5 points per 100 possessions less with him on the floor.
Hoping to grow into a backup role in his third season in the league. He doesn’t bring a lot on offense and makes too many mistakes, but he does do a good job of cleaning up the boards and protecting the rim.
What a bust this guy turned out to be. He is supposed to be great on the defensive side of the floor, but outside of blocking shots doesn’t do much for you. Last year with Houston and Portland teams scored 10 more points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor if that gives you any indication of how over-rated his defense is.
The league leader in scoring is an offensive machine. He improved his 3-point shooting up to 39% which makes him very difficult to guard. His size and speed allow him to get past most defenders where he finished 72% at the rim. The problem with Durant is that he turns the ball over too frequently.
Durant’s size enables him to dominate the boards and block quite a few shots, but when guarding opposing fours he doesn’t have enough strength and against opposing three’s he is just not quite quick enough. Still one of the best players in the game.
Finished second in the Defensive Player of the Year voting last year due to his high shot blocking rate, but isn’t great at providing help to his teammates.
On offense he can finish around the rim and is a decent shooter from mid-range, making him a solid option in the pick and roll game.
One of the most under-rated players in the game. The Thunder outscored opponents by 7.2 points per 100 possessions when he was out on the floor. The reason is mostly due to his ability to hit the offensive glass and his 60% shooting.
Was decent at Baylor but not as good as he should have been. He has size and is very athletic, but didn’t block many shots or grab many rebounds. I wouldn’t expect much out of him this season, but could be a project that develops into a decent player.
Probably won’t see much floor time as he can’t really shoot and fouls way too often.
He isn’t a true point guard but is coming around. Westbrook is solid but could be better if he played to his strengths. He’s not a good shooter but continues to chuck it up with reckless abandon, despite having the best offensive player in the game on his team. Without a doubt one of the best penetrators in the game since he finishes extremely well, draws fouls, then converts at the charity stripe. Once he starts making better decisions watch out.
One of the better wing defenders in the game who gets steals, blocks shots, and rebounds pretty well. If he improves his outside shooting he is the perfect role player for this team. He has the same problem most of the guys on this team have: turning the ball over way too often.
Does a better job of drawing fouls than any other backcourt player in the league, and then shoots 85% from the free throw line. He is an excellent outside shooter and finishes around the rim better than any other guard. It’s tough to see his offense improving, mostly because it’s already so deadly. The area of concern is his defense.
Last year was basically a lost season for Maynor as he only played nine games. He is an upgrade over Fisher in the backup point guard position, but doesn’t really have the athletic ability to be a starter in the league.
He is supposed to be a shooter that spaces the floor out for Oklahoma City, but only shot 35% last year from behind the arc. Since he can’t get to the basket he only brings something to the table if he’s hitting shots. Cook shot 42% on 3′s two years ago.
Had a chance to step up into the backup point guard role last year but failed miserably. He was a terrible shooter last year, but in college he put up decent numbers so there is hope. This is a guy with potential but tried to do too much.
There is a lot to like about the defending Western Conference champions and in all likelihood I see them repeating and making the Finals. This team is built for the playoffs with their star heavy roster. The only problem for them is health. None of their top players have been injured the last two years and they have by no means ran away with a No. 1 seed. If any of them go down for a significant period of time the Thunder will have to win some road games in the postseason to have a chance to win the Championship. That being said, this team is talented enough and now has the experience to do that, so they are my favorites to win the conference.
Odds to Win the NBA Finals: 9/2
Odds to Win the Western Conference: 9/5
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