Heat Check: The Oklahoma City Thunder Are the Most Overrated Team in the NBA

Ryan VirginCorrespondent ISeptember 17, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 27:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers stands next to Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on April 27, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

This Article Courtesy Of Rip City Report

I get it.

The Thunder are a good team.

They have a player that, in my opinion, could very well be the best player in the NBA (I wouldn't bet against him in a game of one on one).

And around him, they have a very good supporting cast led by Russell Westbrook.

But I cannot understand for the life of me why the Oklahoma City Thunder have suddenly been propped up and put on the same pedestal as Miami, Los Angeles (Lakers), Boston, Orlando, Dallas, or even Portland.

They snag the eighth seed in the playoffs, have a couple of good games against the World Champions, and suddenly we should expect them to challenge the Lakers next season.

Go figure.

Lets insert a little reality into this conversation.

The Thunder are good, but not great.

They are young and still inexperienced.

They have no post game and rely on their jump-shooting from game to game for their success.

They are only average on defense.

Often times, they get caught in other teams systems.

But you know what?

They are still going to be competing for home court advantage in the playoffs next season. But please don't try and tell me that the Oklahoma City Thunder are an elite level team.

Because they aren't.

They have one elite level player and a good supporting cast.

And while were talking about the Thunder's roster, why not close the hype for each and every player?

Oklahoma City Thunder

Shaun Livingston: A phenom that just got unlucky. Tore nearly every single ligament in his left knee and has never since recovered. Anything he can give the Thunder will be a bonus.

Byron Mullins, DJ White, Kevin Ollie, Antonio Anderson, Kyle Weaver, Etan Thomas, Mike Wilks, and Ryan Bowen: Insurance. Bench Warmers. Either a backup in a position that is occupied by a 30 plus minute starter or will be nothing more than insurance.

Eric Maynor: The Thunder Really don't know what they will get out of the young point guard. Right now he sits behind Russell Westbrook so he is going to need to make the most of the minutes he is given. There is no chance that he will overtake the starter, so for now Maynor is nothing more than insurance.

As far as backups go, I would conclude that he is below average. But then again, he is young and has some upside, so that could very well change.

Thebo Sefolosha: ESPN says he is a starter, but I do not believe that to be the case. Good defender, but most definitely not lock down quality.

Russell Westbrook: Above average point guard and could very well break into the top ten for point guards alone. Not an elite player, but is very good.

An above average playmaker and gets the job done on defense.

James Harden: Lots of potential, a hard worker on the floor, and a good three point shooter. Defensively, he gets the job done. Works hard to cover up his mistakes but is by no means a lock down defender.

He still has a lot of time to improve and by the looks of the Thunders situation, he may very well be the permanent starter. As a starter, Harden is a below average talent in comparison to the rest of the starting shooting guards in the NBA.

Kevin Durant: Best pure scorer in the league, difficult to guard, and his athleticism and length allow him to play good defense on just about any position.

Front runner for the MVP trophy.

Morris Peterson: Adds experience to the Thunders young roster and provides depth behind Durant. A good three-point shooter and a good option off the bench, but shouldn't be expected to play a huge role on the Roster.

Jeff Green: A very interesting prospect to say the least. As far as ranking him amongst the leagues other starting power forwards I would say that he is slightly above average, but not elite by any means.


This Article Courtesy Of Rip City Report

I compare him to LaMarcus Aldridge.

A finness power forward that is still developing all of the tools to be a very good forward. Maybe a year or two behind Aldridge in terms of production and improvement, but Green is nothing to scoff at.

A good player that will play a huge role in how far the Thunder will go.

Nick Collison: A good backup as far as limited backup power forwards go. Limited minutes behind Green will keep him off of the floor for the most part. In terms of back up power forwards go, he is average.

Nenad Krstic: A serviceable big man that can score and rebound. In a league in which seven footers that can put up good numbers are very rare, Nenad is above average.

He does everything that the Thunder can ask for but he isn't Dwight Howard.

Serge Ibaka: Young, mobile, and puts up good numbers for only averaging 20 minutes a game last season.

I wouldn't be surprised if he earns the starting role before the season is over. As a backup, Serge is average, but has great potential.

Cole Aldrich: A good early first round selection, whatever you can get out of him next season is a bonus.

Team As A Whole:

Defense: Average.

Offense: Above Average

Starting Five: Average for Playoff Teams

Bench: Below Average 

Potential: Above Average

Championship Window: Open for the remainder of their core player's contracts

Percent Chance that they Win An NBA Title within the next two years: 10%

Conclusion: Above Average


The Oklahoma City Thunder are a very good team. They have a team that is built for the future and has the experience and talent to succeed right now.

But they are not elite.

The hype machine has boosted them to a level in which they do not deserve to be at.

Eighth seed in the West and a first round exit does not earn you bragging rights. The Thunder should have to prove that they are worthy of an elite level tag before we incorrectly label them as such.

I am high on the Oklahoma City Thunder, but obviously not as high as the dreamers in the media.

(is that considered a pun?)


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