What a Difference a Year Makes

Casey WomackCorrespondent INovember 10, 2009

LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 10:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots over Trevor Ariza #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers on February 10, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 105-98.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

52 days.  27 basketball games.  Sound familiar? That’s how long it took the Thunder to get their third win of the season last year.

 On December 19th 2008,  the Thunder finally got their 3rd victory against a then 10-15 Toronto squad.  After the game, orange and blue streamers fell from the rafters.  The crowd went absolutely crazy.  If you didn’t know better, you would have thought the Thunder had just won game 7 of the finals.

This year, it took only 11 days and six games for the Thunder to wrap up their third victory of the season.  After the game, no streamers fell from the rafters.  We weren’t celebrating like we just won the finals.  Sure, everybody was still crazy going, but for a different reason.  The Thunder just absolutely shredded the defending Eastern Conference champions in every way imaginable.  Not only that, but we’re carrying a .500 winning percentage going into a week that should end with the Thunder being  5-4. A winning record, ladies and gentlemen. 

Last year, we knew we were going to lose to every team that was decent.  The only real big name teams we beat last year were Dallas and San Antonio.  The only hope we had to win was against teams who were just as bad as we were.  This year, the attitude is completely opposite.  We know we have a shot to win.  Every game.  The only thing we as fans worry about is if the team is going to come out and execute.  But then again, isn’t that what everyone worries about with their teams? If the Thunder came out and played every game like they did tonight, wouldn’t you like their chances against anyone? 

The exciting thing is the team is young.  They actually want to get better.  They don’t go to practice just for the reason to get paid.  And heck,  I’d challenge this team’s chemistry over any team in the NBA.  They hang out off the court.  They go eat.  They play XBOX.  They even make unofficial music videos together in their spare time.  I don’t see anyone on the Lakers or Celtics doing that.  They’re going to grow as a team.  They are going to “rise together”, if you will.  That’s only going to lead to the team being more consistent and getting better.  Which would mean seeing similar performances to what we saw tonight on an every game basis. 

One year ago, would you have thought we would have a chance to squeak by Orlando, yet alone obliterate them?  I sure wouldn’t.  If your not excited about this team and their future, you need to sit down and re-evaluate.  They will be a strong contender by the end of the season.  They have one of the best defenders in Thabo.  They have the best growing point guard in Russell Westbrook. They will have a dark-horse MVP in Kevin Durant.  They do have a shot at the playoffs.

It’s a whole new season and a whole new team folks, get excited.