Despite being one of the youngest teams in the league and making an impressive run to the NBA Finals last season, a lot of people don’t think the Oklahoma City Thunder will be the team to beat in the Western Conference next season.
That’s because the Los Angeles Lakers had quite the offseason acquiring Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to rejuvenate their title chances.
Some people are still giving the Thunder the respect they deserve though.
“We got to get there but I still feel OKC is the team to beat in the West,” Miami Heat assistant coach Bob McAdoo said. “Everyone’s talking about how [the Lakers] got better but I still think [OKC] is the team to beat. They’re still young and got experience of a championship series.”
There is a difference between being considered the “team to beat” and the “favorites” though. For instance, last season you could still have said that the Dallas Mavericks were the “team to beat” since they were the defending champs. Even though the Thunder swept the Mavericks in the first round, there was still a little championship fight left in them.
That being said, the Thunder aren’t in the same position that Dallas was in last season. Oklahoma City is on the rise and their loss in the Finals should only propel them to an even hungrier type of team next season, one that no one will want to see in the playoffs.
The Lakers are still an unknown as we do not know yet exactly how all the parts will fit. Until then, you have to say that the Thunder are “the team to beat in the West.”