NBA Playoffs 2012: Oklahoma City Thunder Establishing Their Own Big 3

Karthik TadisinaSenior Writer IMay 21, 2012

Big Three?
Big Three?Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder may be one of the most unique teams in the NBA.

Despite being located in a small market, they have a young successful team and a loyal fanbase, which will only grow as time moves forward.

Currently led by their three stars (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden off the bench), the Thunder appear to be championship contenders for not only this year but the next few years (at least when Durant and Westbrook are still in their prime) as well.

Other young talent such as Serge Ibaka, who is a shot-blocking big man, provides another source of potential for the Thunder.

As a result, a lot of credit has to be given to Thunder management for being patient and drafting well. Specifically, general manager Sam Presti (who was with the San Antonio Spurs previously) has done a wonderful job bringing this team together without spending a lot of money in free agency.

Durant, Westbrook and Harden have really come out strong together this year, and when all three are rolling the Thunder are tough to beat.

Durant is the leader with his “special” ability to make incredible shots and being able to be a high-percentage shooter no matter where he is on the floor. Also being long at 6’9" allows him to become more of a dominant force as time goes on and he gains more NBA experience.

Westbrook is athletic enough to take his defender off the dribble and has the speed to beat him up and down the floor. His decision-making has become a lot better than last season, where he is not looking to force things but has learned when to shoot and when to pull back and look for other options.

Harden has become like another Manu Ginobili-type scorer off the bench who would definitely be a starter on any other team in the league. He has a really smooth, all-around game that fits in very nicely alongside Durant and Westbrook, while being a lefty allows him to have a slight edge over his opponent.

At the end of the day, the Thunder have a good mix of youth and veteran talent that make them set to win both in the present and in the future. Led by their Big Three, the future looks very bright in Oklahoma City.