Bill Simmons argument OKC Thunder could be West’s x-factor merits consideration

New OKC Thunder players Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chris Paul. Could they be WC x-factor? (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)
New OKC Thunder players Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chris Paul. Could they be WC x-factor? (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder, 2019 NBA All-Star Rising Stars
Shai Gilgeous Alexander, 2019 NBA All-Star Rising Stars Practice and Media Availability (Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Although Chris Paul isn’t in the superstar category he is still a top 40 player who is more than capable of scoring, playmaking and if invested could help with the development of his younger point guards while also serving as a leader to the squad.

Steven Adams remains a feared center who might reach new offensive levels this season especially with the playmaking abilities from his point guards – (read: lots of pick and roll as well as lobs coming from Paul and Gilgeous-Alexander this season). And, if you play fantasy then expect Adams defensive rebounding to take a huge leap this season with Westbrook no longer grabbing those boards.

Danilo Gallinari also isn’t a top tier talent, however, after shipping top scorer Tobias Harris (20.9 points per game) to the 76ers he was the Clippers second leading scorer (19.8) and only by .2 points per game. Moreover, Gallo was facing starters while the majority of Lou Williams (20.0 ppg) minutes came versus reserves.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a rising star. Having watched his ascent through the Canadian National team system and his quick transition into the pros I’d bet his offseason will focus on growth and adding elements to his toolbox. A good example of who SGA might emulate in his sophomore season might be De’Aaron Fox. And, in SGA’s case, he has the benefit of postseason experience to draw from when he tweaks the areas of his game requiring additional work.

Terrance Ferguson returns for his third year in the pros with presumably a summer spent adding strength and working on developing his offensive versatility.

At this stage, it’s unclear whether Chris Paul will spend any time on the Peake hardwood, but that starting five is more than capable of sticking with the Thunder defensive mindset.  And, with a stretch four of Gallo’s capability if the Thunder’s defense keeps them in games presumably OKC will have a shot at winning a decent amount of games.