Oklahoma City: A Thundering '09-'10 Season

Brandon Ribak@reebokforthreeSenior Writer IApril 25, 2009

OKLAHOMA CITY - OCTOBER 29:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder watches a free throw against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Ford Center on October 29, 2008 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Bucks defeated the Thunder 98-87.  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 Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The Oklahoma City Thunder started the first two months of the '08-'09 NBA season with a whopping record of 4-29.

During that time, NBA analysts worldwide started to doubt the potential of this emphatic Thunder team.

But after turning the season around and ending the year with a record of 23-59, the emergence of starting forward Jeff Green and starting guard Russell Westbrook, and the dominance of Kevin Durant, all signs point to the Thunder having a terrific '09-'10 season.

The Big Three

Point guard Russell Westbrook made a real splash during his rookie campaign, averaging 15.3 PPG, 5.3 APG (second amongst all rookies), 4.9 RPG, 1.3 SPG, shooting just under 40 percent from the field and a spectacular 81 percent from the charity stripe.

Westbrook proved to be a reliable leader throughout the entire season and will surely increase his play next year. He definitely has the ability to improve into a top notch point guard in the NBA.

Starting forward Jeff Green enjoyed a breakout season this year, averaging virtually career-highs in every category with 16.5 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 78.8 percent from the free-throw line.

Standing 6'9" and weighing 235 lbs, Green has the physique and weapons to become a huge force in the NBA.

Kevin Durant was the sixth leading scorer during the '08-'09 NBA season, averaging 25.3 PPG. During the month of February, Durant scored 31 or more points in nine out of the 11 games played.

He grabbed 6.5 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.3 SPG, shot 47.6 percent from the field, 86.3 percent from the line, and 42.2 percent from the three-point range with 97 3PTM.

Durant has outstanding ball handling skills, speed, excellent athleticism, leadership, massive potential to grow, and standing at 6'10", his talent is simply one of a kind in the NBA.

The Bench

Thabo Sefolosha—6'7" guard/forward with great defending skills.

Shaun Livingston—Another guard/forward that never got the chance to show his true skills. Hopefully will get an opportunity on this young and rising team.

Nick Collison—6'10" big man that has room for improvement. A big body down low.

Nenad Krstic—7'0" that could knock down the 15 footer, block shots, and grab boards.

'08-'09 Rookies with potential—Kyle Weaver, D.J. White.

The Draft

The OKC Thunder are in need of a dominant big man to add to their arsenal. There is a strong possibility that they select between Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet, or Jordan Hill during their first pick of the '09 draft.

Any of these players could coalesce and thrive under the Thunder's system of play.

Blake Griffin—A high-flying 6'10" forward with the ability to grab boards and smash the ball down on the best of defenders in the league.

Hasheem Thabeet—A 7'3" center with the potential to grow into one of the best in the league. Thabeet averaged over four blocks per game during his sophomore and junior year at UConn.

Jordan Hill—6'9" forward out of Arizona, Hill averaged 18.3 PPG, 11.0 RPG, and 1.7 BPG during his junior year. Has potential to grow into much more.

Final Opinion

The Thunder will continue to grow and improve on their 23-59 record during this season. They have a roster filled with extreme upside and have a chance to really surprise the NBA world during the '09-'10 season.

Look for the big three to really amend during next season and take this young Thunder team to new heights.


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