Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, said that it would be in the Thunder’s best long-term interest to let Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to set the season.
Cuban said, “The question I don’t think anybody has asked is, why don’t they pull a David Robinson and try to get Tim Duncan?”
Mark Cuban is talking about the 1996-97 San Antonio Spurs, who only won 20 games and got the number one pick. Their best player David Robinson, played in only six games that season. The Spurs went on to win the title two seasons later, and have won four more since.
It snapped a seven-year playoff streak for the Spurs, but set up long-term success that hasn’t slowed down. Tim Duncan turned out to be one of the best players of his generation.
Cuban did say it would be a tough call to set Durant and Westbrook this season. The Mavs faced a similar situation just two years ago, when Dirk Nowitzki underwent knee surgery and missed the beginning of the season. Dallas started out 12-15 and had to fight to finish 41-41. The 2013 draft wasn’t as loaded as this season, but Dallas still could have got a quality player, if they would have tanked.
Thunder’s head coach Scott Brooks said “I didn’t see those comments, but no. That’s funny, though. But no, we’ve got a good group of guys in here. It’s fun going into games knowing we’re going to play with great effort, that we’re going to be throwing our bodies all over the floor, that we’ll be diving on the floor for loose, and that’s what our fans want to see. They understand we’ve had a lot of injuries … they know it, but they like what the guys are going. They like that the guys are competing, that’s what makes fans proud of our group.”
The Thunder have started 2-5 this season, with Westbrook returning in a few weeks and Durant returning sometime in December.
I tend to agree with Cuban on this one, I’ve always been a big fan of the Thunder and I can only imagine how good they will be if they can add another top player. I don’t think they will tank though, I actually think they will still make it to the conference finals.
Next year’s draft is loaded with talented big man, and I think the Thunder are a dominant center away from being the best team in the NBA.
Jahlil Okafor is the top rated player for next years draft, he will attend Duke this year. Okafor is a 6’11 272 pound center, that could give the Thunder a dominant center to go with Serge Ibaka down low.
Karl Towns would be another option at center. Towns is 7’0 248 pound center, that can also play power forward, he will play at Kentucky this year.
This will be an interesting season and the Thunder will have a tough time no matter what, with the Western Conference being so talented.