Still Way Ahead of Schedule

More wins and title(s) are in store for Durant and Westbrook if they stick together.













If the Thunder can keep this group of young players together and allow them to grow, mature, and learn their roles they will contend for a long time.  I’ve said that the last 2 seasons and I believe it.  They took the eventual champion Lakers to 6 games in 2010, in their first ever playoff series.  They battled the current champion Mavs in the conference finals.

We know how it works in the NBA, it’s not like the NFL or MLB, there isn’t a lot of worst to first turnarounds from one season to the next.  Teams contend, improve, and if they stay together long enough they break through and hopefully win a title and try to go on a sustained run of success.  Dr. J’s Sixers struggled to beat Boston, when they did get to the Finals in 1980 they lost to the Lakers, they also lost to the Blazers in ’77.  They kept the core of the team together, added Moses Malone and won it all in 1983.  It takes perseverance to make it in the league.

Isaiah Thomas and the Pistons battled those same Celtics in the late 80′s.  Everyone remembers the “there’s a steal by Bird!!” play, one of the many hurdles the Pistons had to overcome.  The Pistons time at the top kept Jordan and the Bulls at bay for a while.  Hard fouls, old school playoff fouls that were way beyond today’s flagrant fouls, and Jordan Rules, were things MJ and company had to fight through before they could dominate the league.

The difference for the Thunder is that they arrive on the scene in the West when there isn’t really a dominant dynasty in place.  The Lakers are aging, and are now coached by Mike Brown, the Mavs won it all but they are aging too.  The Spurs have already aged.  Portland is young but can’t stay healthy, Memphis could be in the mix, but the Thunder just proved they could beat them in a series.  So it’s right there at the Thunder’s finger tips, they just have to go and get it.  The Western Conference could be theirs if they want it for quite a some time.

A lot was made of the whole Durant-Westbrook beef/issues/drama dynamic.  Does Russell shoot to much?  Is Durant the go to guy?  Who’s team is it?  Some of this was legitimate, some of it was overblown.  We’ve seen them at their best.  Game 7 against Memphis is probably the blueprint they want to follow.  Durant had 39, while Westbrook had an ultra efficient triple double.  James Harden chipped in with 17.

People tend to forget how young they really are.  Durant and Westbrook both turn 23 this year and they’ve already been to the conference finals.  Westbrook is learning the point guard position at the NBA level!  Still learning!  He played shooting guard while he was at UCLA.  They are still a long way away from the prime of their career, but look at how much experience they will have when they get there.  Then all they have to do is find the balance of being experienced enough to know what doesn’t work while still being young and athletic enough to execute what does.  I think they will figure it out.

Agree, disagree, agree to disagree?  It doesn’t matter.  Feel free to scroll down and leave a comment.

About the Author

My name is Vinny Hardy. I am a freelance sports blogging correspondent for the John Boy & Billy Big Show. I'm from Lynch Kentucky. I currently live in Morristown, Tennessee. My wife Katie and I have been married for 10 years and we have a 3 year old son, Micah. I would like to thank Will West of WNML in Knoxville for urging me to start blogging and the Big Show's very own Terry Hanson for his unbelievable mentoring and support. Without him absolutely none of this is possible. I hope you enjoy the blog. The articles can also be seen on, check out that site too. Leave a comment and definitely come back regularly and see what's new.