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When you look at the rest of the Western Conference, the perennial powers are beginning to die off. Of the teams that have won titles in the past decade, few appear able to challenge the Thunder in the long term.
The Los Angeles Lakers were bounced fairly easily by the Thunder in just five games. Kobe Bryant is clearly nearing the twilight of his career, and Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol could be gone at any moment.
The Dallas Mavericks looked incredibly old when getting swept by Oklahoma City in the first round. Dirk Nowitzki is still himself for the most part, but there isn’t much else on that team to help him, especially youth-wise. If a run in free agency fails, Dallas may not even be in the playoffs next season.
The San Antonio Spurs are the only member of the old guard that looks like they can challenge the Thunder moving forward. However, no one can deny the growing age of the Spurs’ big three, and we all know they power this team.
Considering the fact that these squads are much closer to rebuilding than the beginning of their runs, the Thunder should be happy about its odds.