The Oklahoma City Thunder had a season to remember last season thanks to an unleashed Russell Westbrook.
The 28 year old had an unbelievable season, becoming the second player in NBA history to average the iconic ‘triple double’ for the entirety of the season. When Oscar Roberson achieved the feat in 1962, it was said it would never happen again, and became a seemingly unrepeatable achievement.
‘The Brodie’ achieved it however, and he did it in style. He averaged a triple double in 42 games last season. He finished the season having averaged 31 points per game along with 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Absolutely astonishing statistics that lead the Thunder to 47 wins last season and the 6th seed in the Western Conference.
His incredible season also earned him his first MVP trophy, the NBA’s most prestigious individual award.
Despite Russ’ success, the story of last season for Oklahoma is how their superstar point guard had a lack of help. Kevin Durant left OKC the previous summer to team up with Steph Curry in Golden State.
After Durant’s exit, and with Serge Ibaka heading to Orlando in exchange for Victor Oladipo, Westbrook was left with a lack of stars around him, and was left to lead the team himself.
This season is a different story however, as Westbrook has been joined in Oklahoma with a superstar Small Forward from the Eastern Conference, Paul George.
PG13 made his intentions clear of leaving the Indiana in 2018 when his contract expires, and the Pacers decided to get something in return for him before he walks away for nothing. George was therefore shipped to Oklahoma in return for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
Westbrook and George, both multiple time all-stars respectively, could combine to be one of the most destructive offensive duos in the NBA. Both proven scorers, they are going to be difficult to handle for any defense.
The duo are not alone however, as OKC also picked up Patrick Patterson in free agency on a 3 year, $16 million dollar deal, an incredibly cheap contract in today’s market.
Patterson will provide a very useful stretch 4 to pair up with Steven Adams and Enes Kanter as the teams leading big men.
The Thunder traded for Doug McDermott back at the trade deadline last season. Having now had half a season with OKC and a summer to prepare for the year ahead, he will provide valuable scoring off the bench which could prove to be vital if this team is to be in the mix come April.
The Western Conference was widely considered the stronger side of the league before, but has since become even stronger over the summer. In my opinion, Oklahoma have what it takes to be around the 50 win mark at the end of the season, given that there are no injuries to key players and that this new-look group can develop chemistry quickly. It’s clear that they can score as a team, it’s now up to them to get stops on the defensive end against the very best teams in the league.