What Could the Oklahoma City Thunder Achieve this Season?

Casey WomackCorrespondent IJanuary 10, 2010

LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 11: James Harden #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder goes up for a dunk against  the Los Angeles Clippers on November 11, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.    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)
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As I was watching the Thunder beat the Pacers last night, I started to wonder what this team could do this season. 

Obviously, they are not going to make any conference finals or the grand finale this season, pending a miracle.  But they could very well make the playoffs and possibly pull off an upset early on. 

But what are the Thunder missing from being contenders? They're a young team that's getting better everyday, but what's their weakest link?

The obvious answer is bring in a talented big man. But if you have kept up with the Thunder this season, you know about a talented young man named Serge Ibaka.

Ibaka is a very athletic five who is a monster at blocks and brings more energy on to the court than anyone on the team. His potential is almost worth holding off on bringing somebody in.

My guess is that he and James Harden will end up starting by the end of the season with a very solid starting five. With that, you would have Westbrook, Harden, Durant, Green, and Ibaka. 

Nobody on that lineup is older than 22, and all of them are great friends and will help each other grow as a player.  The bench would be almost as promising with Eric Maynor, Nick Collison, and current starter Thabo Sefalosha.

Many people probably have the Thunder reaching the first round of the playoffs and making an early exit.

But if they have become this much better this season, they could definitely get that much better later on in the season and pull off an upset.

And maybe, just maybe, people might finally give Oklahoma City some respect.