Talk about a season filled with twists and turns at every corner.
The Oklahoma City Thunder entered the 2013-14 campaign as one of the overwhelming favorites in the Western Conference. Six analysts in ESPN's preseason forecast predicted that OKC would advance to the NBA Finals, leaving it trailing only the Los Angeles Clippers (14 votes).
But that was before Russell Westbrook's injury problems.
Recovery from a torn meniscus suffered in the 2013 postseason pushed back the start of his season, and arthroscopic surgery midway through the year knocked him back out of action. The normally durable point guard ended up missing 36 games in total, though his absence did allow Kevin Durant to continue developing into an all-around stud.
No player in the NBA had a better season than the Durantula, who averaged a league-high 32 points, along with 6.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game, while coming close to joining the 50-40-90 club for the second year in a row. Setting records throughout the campaign, Durant was quite the spectacle from Game 1 through the end of OKC's season.
But when Westbrook returned, the two superstars had trouble jelling, and the result was an early exit from the postseason, as the Thunder fell in six games to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. Obviously, that's not exactly what Oklahoma City was hoping for heading into the season.
It doesn't really make up for the disappointment, but at least OKC gets a few extra weeks to think about its biggest offseason needs.