Thunder Sticking With What They Have
The NBA’s trade-deadline is fast approaching and the Oklahoma City Thunder will likely stand firm with the roster that has them in first place in the Western Conference.
The fact of the matter is that there really is no reason to make a move. The Thunder has one of the best rosters from top to bottom in the NBA. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden make up one the league’s top trios. Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins make up the best defensive big-man combo in the league and when Thabo Sefolosha returns from a foot injury, the team will have a defensive stopper who can limit opponents top scorers.
The Thunder also have one of the best benches in the league. Harden is best sixth man in the league. Reggie Jackson, who took over the backup point guard spot after Eric Maynor’s injury, is developing nicely. Nick Collison is the hustle guy that every team needs, especially in the playoffs. Nazr Mohammed, the oldest player on the team, brings experience and has great chemistry with the second unit. Daequon Cook has developed some confidence while playing with the starting lineup. When he returns to the second unit, he will help Harden put points on the board.
The chemistry the Thunder has developed so far this season is enough of a reason to stay off the trade market in the first place. The locker room atmosphere is as good as ever and everybody gets along. The organization has assembled a group of players who play as a team rather than as individuals and everybody knows their role.
Contract situations also play a role in staying off the market. The team has locked up Durant and Westbrook, but Harden and Ibaka’s contracts are up this summer and the team wants to keep both. There is no reason to go after a guy and give up cash when Sam Presti will have so much on his plate this summer to begin with.
The Thunder has 24 games remaining and should lock up the one seed in the playoffs. The game changes in the postseason and chemistry will play a huge factor. Seven games against one team means that the Thunder will have to figure out the turnover situation that’s plagued them all year. They will also have to develop a better half-court offense. The transition game isn’t as prevalent in the postseason.
So with all the talk of trades focused on Orlando, Fla., the Thunder have decided to stay quiet and ride the roster that has them in first place. It’s probably best too, the organization doesn’t want that circus.