Even with the loss of their talented sixth man James Harden, this Oklahoma City Thunder team that won the Western Conference crown last season doesn't seem to have lost a step at all.
After OKC came up short of beating Miami in the NBA Finals this summer, the Thunder made a big move right before the start of this season by acquiring Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and two first-rounders from the Houston Rockets in a package deal for Harden.
This move shocked the sports world but was seen as a necessary route of action after contract extension talks between the Thunder and Harden broke down. There were plenty of questions as to how this would affect such a closely knit team, but as their current record (as of Dec. 28) of 22-6 would show, OKC may be hungrier for championship gold than ever.
The Heat-Thunder game on Christmas Day this season already had a strong postseason vibe to it and was another sign of a budding rivalry between two of the best teams and players in the game today.
Kevin Durant and LeBron James played and worked out together over the summer, but the competition between the two on-court continues to increase, making for some very good basketball to watch. These offseason activities seem to have made both guys better than before, and they will both be in the MVP conversation at the end of this season.
Oklahoma City has bounced back from a big shakeup and looks as strong as ever. They blew through the Western Conference en route to the finals last year, and they look poised to do so again this year, even with the heightened threats of the Clippers and Spurs.
If OKC sees Miami in the finals this summer, though, you can certainly expect a closer contested series and maybe a different result as well.