Oklahoma City Thunder: Could James Anderson Be the Missing Piece?

Curtis Finchum@CRose24Correspondent IMarch 11, 2010

OKLAHOMA CITY - MARCH 11:  Forward James Anderson #23 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys takes a shot against the Iowa State Cyclones during the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship at the Ford Center March 11, 2009 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Oklahoma City has close to all the pieces to become a real contender in the Western Conference: A superstar in Kevin Durant and two stars in the making with Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook. 

Couple those cogs with emerging post player Serge Ibaka and super-sub James Harden, the Thunder are really only missing two things.

A legitimate defensive post presence and an offensive minded shooting guard whose talents complement the likes of Westbrook, Durant, and Green. 

Oklahoma State junior and Big 12 player of the year James Anderson can be that player. Averaging a career best 22.8 points per game, Anderson has all the tools that fit the Thunders needs in the back-court. 

Anderson evolved his game from his sophomore season when he was purely a shooter and became an all around finisher. His strength and speed allow him to elevate and finish at the rim while his high release lets him get his shot off from any position. 

Anderson can fill the hole they lack at shooting guard. Thabo Sefolosha is a defensive stopper while Harden is just your all-around contributor. Give the Thunder a guy who can flat out score, and they become even more dangerous. 

Even Durant would benefit from Anderson's presence on the floor; with his ability to both shoot and drive, defenders will have to stay in his shirt and it will open up the court for the budding star. 

Though the Thunder really need a presence inside to cause havoc defensively, this year's free agent class and the amount of cap room they have should be enough to take care of that simple need. 

All the Thunder would have to do is wait and see if Anderson fell into their hands in the middle to late first round. He'd also become a quick fan favorite especially with the Cowboy's fan base. 

Anderson's talents are exactly what the Thunder need other than some playoff experience to become a real contender in the West. 

As of right now, they sit on the edge, teetering in both directions. Either they will fall back to mediocrity, or (knowing the likes of Durant and company) they can elevate and become an NBA power to challenge the likes of Los Angeles and Cleveland

Anderson could very well be the future of the Thunder, but for now, we all must wait patiently, as his main goal right now is to win the Big 12 title and make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.