5 ‘Last Dance’ lessons OKC Thunder can use to build title team

OKC Thunder huddle (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder huddle (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder is congratulated by Chris Paul #3 following an NBA game . (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder must have players who exude toughness and a competitive spirit:

Considering the Thunder had arguably the most competitive player in the NBA for 12 seasons in Russell Westbrook it would seem Sam Presti understands this quality.

Especially when the first team without Westbrook featured Chris Paul leading the current squad in what is undeniably the toughest, most competitive club in the clutch.

The scene in ‘The Last Dance’ that best embodied MJ’s historic competitiveness is the one where he chokes up. The G.O.A.T. is referencing how he played full out even in practice and stated ‘if you (in reference to teammates) don’t want to play that way then don’t play.’ As a fan it was hard to watch that scene but we get it. Not every player can be the best, but they can bring their best via effort and commitment.

For the moment, it’s safe to say these qualities are put of the OKC Thunder identity and as long as Sam Presti is in charge it’s unlikely to change. CP3 will eventually be traded or retire (likely not while with the Thunder) but the young core also shares that identity. First of all, you’d be hard-pressed to find a tougher player than Steven Adams.

Coach Billy Donovan asked Gilgeous-Alexander to be more aggressive on the boards and his response was to go out and grab 20!  While Paul is definitely at the leader of the competitiveness, SGA is equal to the task. As a good teammate he also knows one main voice is best. But when it comes time for him to assume that leadership role he’ll be ready.