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Considering that the Oklahoma City Thunder made the 2012 NBA Finals with a core of four players 23 years of age or younger, it's only fair to assume that they could do it again in 2012-13.
After all, another year of experience and a heartbreaking loss to strengthen their everlasting hunger for a championship are powerful forces.
And that's before you consider that the Thunder's three best players all took home gold with Team USA during the 2012 London Olympics.
With Kevin Durant leading the charge, the Oklahoma City Thunder instantly become favorites in the Western Conference.
For many, it's a given that Durant is now one of the top two players in the NBA. His three consecutive scoring titles and uncanny ability in the clutch separates him a number of top-tier players.
Having the league's leading shot-blocker, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year and one of the most dynamic forces the point guard position has ever seen only makes his job a little bit easier.
Serge Ibaka, albeit fundamentally raw, has emerged as one of the game's true impact defenders. His ability to alter shots is pivotal to the Oklahoma City Thunder's sound defensive attack, thus creating transition opportunities for the next man in line.
While Westbrook has had his purity as a point guard questioned, there is no way around how phenomenal a player he is. Not only is the UCLA alum one of the supreme perimeter defenders in the NBA, but he ranked fifth in the NBA in points per game during the 2011-12 NBA season.
The man who puts it all together, however, isn't even in the starting lineup. That honor goes to the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, James Harden.
During the 2012 NBA Finals, Harden was nowhere to be found. The bearded one averaged just 12.4 points per game (on 37.5 percent shooting), down from his regular season average of 16.8 per contest—and way off his 18.5 per-game average against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.
Should Harden rediscover the form that made him an NBA-award winner, the Oklahoma City Thunder have to be a favorite to take home the NBA title. The elite talent is there to lead them through the postseason, while defensive-minded role players such as Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins are available for crunch-time stops.
It may take the perfect storm, but the Oklahoma City Thunder could take out both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat.
2011-12 Season Result
47-19. The Thunder lost in NBA Finals to Miami.