Olympic Experience Will Help OKC Thunder's Big 3 in Pursuit of NBA Title
We may never see another team like the Oklahoma City Thunder.
With the team's four best players all 23 and under, one would expect this team of youth to falter. Instead, they've made consecutive appearances in the Western Conference finals and suffered a tough loss in the NBA Finals this past season.
And to think, most kids their age are just graduating college.
While we could evaluate the progress that the Oklahoma City Thunder have made in the NBA, there is an important step being taken this summer. The triumphant Thunder trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook will all take the court for Team USA.
This marks the first time in U.S. history that three NBA teammates will suit up on the same Olympic squad.
As the Thunder's young core hits London, they will be surrounded with teammates of an elite caliber. From Kobe Bryant to LeBron James to Tyson Chandler, the veterans on this team will be able to offer insight that the Thunder trio have not previously received. After all, the most veteran player on Durant and Westbrook's 2010 FIBA World Championship team was Lamar Odom.
Beyond the experience of others; however, will be the experience that they gain.
Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook have always been standout individuals. What they've never been; however, are champions on a grand stage. Should all go according to plan, that will change.
Upon winning the 2010 FIBA World Championship, both Westbrook and Durant saw an increase in terms of all-around quality of play. They also became much more mature players than in their previous seasons.
Will the Oklahoma City Thunder win the NBA Title in 2013?
With the taste of Olympic gold, the thirst will strengthen for an NBA championship.
As the 2013 NBA season rolls around, the Olympics will be the the vantage point from which we evaluate the Thunderous trio's progression.
Kevin Durant is working directly alongside LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Russell Westbrook is working directly alongside Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Kobe Bryant. James Harden, meanwhile, is paired with Bryant.
When you're in direct competition and collaboration with the elite players at your position, there's only one option: step your game up. Something the Thunder will do in 2013.
Don't forget, history is on their side. The Thunder have gone from the first round in 2010 to the Western Conference finals in 2011 to the NBA Finals 2012. If the past can dictate the future, wouldn't the logical next step be to win a title?
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