It’s hard not to get excited about the offseason in the NBA, even for a team like the Oklahoma City Thunder that we knew wasn’t going to do a whole lot this summer.
While some teams have made major moves this summer like the Houston Rockets bringing in Dwight Howard and the Golden State Warriors acquiring Andre Iguodala, the Thunder pretty much stayed pat, drafting three players who likely won’t play a meaningful minute next season and parting ways with Kevin Martin.
Does that mean that this summer has been a disappointment for the Thunder?
To keep things in perspective, this summer hasn’t been surprising at all for the Thunder. We pretty much knew Martin would be on the way out and the Thunder weren’t going to be able to sign a big name, let alone small name, free agent.
The Thunder had a lottery pick in the draft, that is expected to go down as one of the weakest in years, and were reportedly pushing hard to trade into the top five. Instead, the Thunder didn’t make any big trades on draft night, which kind of made you feel a little let down if you bought into believing some of the rumors might come true (I was guilty of this).
The biggest bright spot so far this summer for the Thunder has been the actual basketball that their players played. The Thunder went 5-0 in the Orlando Summer League with players like Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb having great individual games and moments at times.
What might make fans feel a little down on the Thunder’s offseason is the other teams that made big moves. The Thunder will be sticking to their formula that has gotten them to where they are today, rather than searching for a quick-fix by trading for a big name player.
The development of Jackson and Lamb (and don’t forget that Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka will probably get a little better by next season, too) is going to be relied upon to keep the Thunder at the top of the Western Conference.
We love to make predictions in the NBA and a lot are being made about the teams that brought in new blood this summer. Often, people overreact with these and predict a team will get better than they actually do.
Remember the hype surround the Lakers last summer after they got Howard? And we saw how that turned out. There are no guarantees when you bring in new players. That’s where the Thunder are different and at an advantage.
It cannot be stressed enough how valuable it is to have a ton of experience playing together. The Thunder will once again be starting the same five players this season, running the same offense (hopefully improved a bit) and having the same rotation as they’ve had for the last few years.
We know what to expect from the Thunder and what that basically is, is a team that can win more games than anyone else in the league.
There’s no need to be down on the Thunder’s offseason and how uneventful it was. This is the Thunder way. There’s no need to stray from the path that brought them here. When next season arrives, I can guarantee you there’ll be no surer bet than OKC.