After an active offseason chalk full of trades and Twitter controversy, it’s time to start thinking heavily about the regular season. How well will this Oklahoma City Thunder team play against an extremely loaded Western Conference?
After a (47-35) record last season behind Russell Westbrook’s heroics, the Thunder have only improved. The addition of Paul George is obviously the fuel behind the improvement but the addition of Patrick Patterson really provides an evened out starting front court. Now, instead of an inexperienced player that’s still raw and timid, they will start a hard-nosed player in Patterson that will go to war on defense, provide toughness inside the paint and step out and hit long range shots at an effective rate.
Paul George provides a different dynamic than last year. He’s the closest the Thunder can get to having another Kevin Durant, this quickly at least. He’s a lengthy two-way player that averages 23.7 points per game, without playing with an elite point guard. Obviously, he’s playing alongside the triple-double machine called Russell Westbrook who will provide him easier and more quality shots.
The starting backcourt for the Thunder would be Westbrook, George, and Andre Roberson. Two elite defenders and one respected defender that can score 30 points per game or two elite scorers and one of the best slashing guards in the NBA. Either way, this backcourt is completely lethal and intimidating on paper.
The bench will be the question mark moving forward. It will likely take a step back this season, but the starters will be so impressive, it won’t matter as much.
Western Conference Predictions:
- Golden State Warriors: (64-18)
- San Antonio Spurs: (59-23)
- Oklahoma City Thunder: (55-27)
- Houston Rockets: (52-30)
- Minnesota Timberwolves: (49-33)
- Los Angeles Clippers: (45-37)
- Denver Nuggets: (44-38)
- New Orleans Pelicans: (43-39)
- Utah Jazz: (41-41)
- Memphis Grizzlies: (40-42)
- Portland Trailblazers: (39-43)
- Los Angeles Lakers: (36-46)
- Dallas Mavericks: (33-49)
- Phoenix Suns: (31-51)
- Sacremento Kings: (27-55)
Eastern Conference Predictions:
- Boston Celtics: (55-27)
- Cleveland Cavaliers: (53-29)
- Washington Wizards: (51-31)
- Milwaukee Bucks: (50-32)
- Toronto Raptors: (47-35)
- Miami Heat: (43-37)
- Charlotte Hornets: (42-38)
- Philadelphia 76ers: (40-42)
- Detroit Pistons: (39-43)
- Orlando Magic: (37-45)
- Indiana Pacers: (33-49)
- Brooklyn Nets: (32-50)
- New York Knicks: (29-53)
- Atlanta Hawks: (25-57)
- Chicago Bulls: (22-60)