The Thunder are the perennial preseason favorite to win the Western Conference. They deserve all the hyped they receive. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are two the best ten players in the league. Unfortunately, this preseason is much different for one of their stars.
Kevin Durant is expected to miss at least 6-8 weeks with a Jones fracture in his right foot. OKC didn’t really have a contingency plan for this. They are thin at small forward and will need to be creative to fill his spot.
We will be posting a team preview for every team up until the start of the regular season.
Here is the 2014-15 NBA season preview for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
2013-14 Win/Loss Record: 59-23
Key Additions: SG Anthony Morrow, PF Mitch McGary, PG Sebastian Telfair & SF Lance Thomas
Key Losses: SG Thabo Sefolosha, SF Caron Butler & PG Derek Fisher
Projected Starters: Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka, Andre Roberson (Kevin Durant’s replacement), Reggie Jackson & Russell Westbrook
Fantasy Sleeper: SG Anthony Morrow – Durant and Westbrook need a guy to stand in the corner and shoot threes. If there was a guy in the NBA suited to do just that (at a high level), it’s Morrow. Jeremy Lamb had that job last season and he failed.
Team Analysis: The Thunder are due for a down season, right? I’m not saying a complete free-fall, but a 45 to 50 win season ‘down’ season for the Thunder.
I’ve been a Russell Westbrook buzzkiller since his rookie season. I think he’s a really good player, but the Allen Iverson comparison is a little overboard. Iverson was arguably a top-three player during a four-year stretch. Westbrook is a top-ten player (at best) since his second year in the league. That being said, I’m anxious to see him play without Durant for an extended period of time. You will get a clear picture of what he would look on a different team. He has benefited his entire career from Durant drawing double-teams.
If the Thunder can finish somewhere around .500 by the time Durant comes back, they should be fine. The Thunder just need to focus on making the playoffs. They will be a better team than their record suggest. Durant will be fresh and played his way back into playing shape by that time.
2014-15 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 57.5 (Prediction: UNDER)
2014-15 Projected Win/Loss Record: 51-31 (4th in Western Conference)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.