Projected Starting Line-Up
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: James Harden
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Jeff Green
C: Serge Ibaka
PG: Eric Maynor
PG: Royal Ivey
SG: Daequan Cook
SG: Thabo Sefolosha
SG: Morris Peterson
SF: Ryan Reid
PF: Nick Collison
PF: D.J. White
PF: Latavious Williams
C: Nenard Kristic
C: Byron Mullens
C: Cole Aldrich
Analysis: Now, it is time to announce the top team in the NBA. The Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder have the exact same core guys that they had last season.
All getting another year of experience, and another year to grown together as a team.
The Thunder are my pick to take it all the way and upset both the Lakers and the Heat. They did bring the Lakers to six games this past playoffs.
Russell Westbrook is a stud in the making. He has elevated his game drastically since his rookie season. He had a major problem with turnovers. He fixed that. He had a terrible shooting shooting stroke. He has improved it a bit.
Westbrook became more of a true point guard, rather than the scoring guard he was at UCLA. He boosted his assist totals to 8.0 a game. In the playoffs he took his game to another level playing against the Champs.
Giving in solid minutes, averaging 20 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds and 2 steals, Westbrook is as quick as anything. He uses his great speed to blow by defenders and finish at the rim.
Wesbrook, along with Jason Kidd are the two best rebounding point guards. that helps Westbrook to lead the charge up court using his great quickness.
James Harden had an up-and-down rookie season. But as the year went on, and going into the playoffs, he was starting to come into his own. Harden is a lethal shooter if left open, and with his craftiness ability, and being left handed.
He drives middle when on the right hand side, breaks down the defense, and uses his high basketball IQ, to find the open player.
Harden should have a ton of confidence going into next season, and should be more involved in the Thunder's offenses.
Kevin Durant is turning into the leagues most deadly scorer. He did earn himself the scoring title last season with an average of 30.1 points a game.
Though Durant's game is all about the slashing and attacking the rim, He does have the ability to shoot the three. But his strengths are driving. Durant uses his body and wingspan very well when attacking the rim. With his long lanky arms, and his athleticism.
He is able to sky up above the defender and lay the ball in, or dunk on the poor defender. Durant has a great feel and instincts for the game, which is a part that helps him out a lot while playing.
Jeff Green is another underrated player in my eyes. Many people to not give him credit. and I do not know why? First of all, Green is playing out of position at the power forward position, when his natural position is the three.
But when Durant is on your team, and you have such a skilled player like Green, you have to slide him to the four.
Green is a great defender that can guard multiple positions. Anyone from the shooting guard position to the power forward position.
Due to his lack of size, be does not get enough credit for his low post game, but his post game is starting to pickup. He has a deadly turn around jumper, which helps when he is playing against taller defenders.
He is an underrated scorer, but he will get you 15-17 points a game, and ha been a key contributer along with Durant since they both were drafted.
Krstic is an underrated center and does not get enough credit as an enforcer. The Thunder took a big risk in signing Kristic a few years back when he was coming off a serious knee injury.
But he was able to turn it around and be a great center for the Thunder. Krstic is able to block shots on the defensive side.
He is not the big banger done low like the Shaqs, Perkins, and Howards in the league.
But, Krstic does have great hands and anticipation when blocking shots. He has soft hands around the rim and has a decent jump hook.
The Thunder's bench is a great young bunch that with another season under their belts, and gaining playoff experience last season. You will see their bench step it up a notch come next season.
Maynor is a great back-up point guard. I thought he was a great pickup for the Thunder when he came over from the Jazz.
He is a true point guard and is always looking to set up all his teammates. Maynor has great composure and is a fighter when on the floor.
He is not afraid to take the big shot either, as we have seen when he played in college for Virginia Commonwealth.
Daequan Cook came over from the Heat and will be a great addition for the Thunder. He is a great three-point shooter and will come in and do exactly that, hit threes.
Sefolosha is a great defender and has proven it time after time against Kobe Bryant and other top wing players. Sefolosha also has a decent shot and uses that ability to knock down a few threes.
Serge Ibaka is a player that just absolutely love! He came over from overseas after a year being drafted. And has been a great addition to the Thunder.
He is a freak athlete that blocks shots, grabs monster boards and intimidates others when in the paint on the defensive side.
Ibaka is still very raw on the offensive side, but he is most valuable on the defensive side, blocking shots and intimidating others.
The Thunder have some other young pieces like Mullens and Aldrich who will come in and be difference makers on the the defensive side. But both are raw on the offensive side.
Overall I really think that Thunder will be the team that will surprise most when they are able to knock off the Lakers in the playoffs next season.
Then they will make their way all the way to the finals and pull a victory over the Heat.
I think Westbrook and Green are going to step it up and play on another level like their counterpart Kevin Durant.
Harden is going to step it up as well he will be asked to play a bigger role on the offensive side.
Ibaka, Maynor and Cook will be asked to come off the bench and play big minutes in relieving Westbrook, Kristic and Harden.
The Thunder have a mixture of a lot of young talent, and a superstar in Durant. If they are able to bring that all together and play as whole. I really do think that the Thunder will champs in the 2010-11 NBA Season.