As we watch the Miami Heat in the playoffs this year, we are seeing signs of their eventual demise.
LeBron James is playing like the player he was in Cleveland because he has to at this point with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh unable to contribute at All-Star levels. Beyond their big three, we’re talking about mostly veterans on the last legs of their careers.
Yet, the Heat still have the brightest future in the NBA according to ESPN’s Future Power Rankings. It’s a poll position that used to belong to the Oklahoma City Thunder and one that we all thought would continue to belong to OKC for years to come.
Apparently, the loss of James Harden costs this much. Now the Heat just need to have LeBron to be considered in better shape heading forward.
The ironic thing now too is that with the Houston Rockets acquiring Harden, they now sit in the number three spot on this list.
These rankings aren’t exactly guaranteeing the future and perhaps they are a little off projecting in light of what we are seeing most recently from Wade and Bosh.
So do the Thunder still have the brightest future in the league other than the Heat?
I’d say they definitely do. When you have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, that’s two players who should be considered top five players in the league over the next five years. No other team can say that.
There is some talk that Serge Ibaka may be starting to hit his ceiling but that is really unfair to say especially considering that he is just 23 years old right now.
The rest of the Thunder is still pretty young too and they have some really young talents in Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones that all have chances to blossom into quality players as well.
When Sam Presti made the Harden trade, it was in an effort to have the Thunder set up to compete at the highest level for the next 10 years. I think it is still safe to say that they can do just that.
The Thunder may have taken a step back this season (and the Westbrook injury of course didn’t help) but going forward things are as bright for OKC as any other franchise in the NBA.