3 ideal first-round playoff matchups for the OKC Thunder

Sacramento Kings v Oklahoma City Thunder
Sacramento Kings v Oklahoma City Thunder / Joshua Gateley/GettyImages
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Phoenix Suns

Star-studded is definitely a term to describe Phoenix's lineup this season. Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal are all high-level NBA stars in the modern game, and there is a chance the Thunder will have to see them in the first round.

Oklahoma City has taken care of the Suns in both of their regular season meetings, but both games were missing Booker's services.

The two-guard provides Phoenix with elite shot-making and ball-handling along with shooting and an overall offensive punch. The Thunder defense would have its hands full chasing the big three off screens, contesting shots, and boxing out.

Jusuf Nurkic is Phoenix's lone big man, and his rebounding ability has been on huge display against OKC. He had a historic 31 rebound night against Oklahoma City, but it still ended in defeat.

The Thunder weren't able to keep him off the glass, but when he had the ball they swarmed him into bad decisions. He shot just 7-of-16 and had five turnovers.

As mentioned earlier, the Thunder are the NBA's best team at generating turnovers, at over 15 forced per game. Phoenix is a careless team, as they give away the ball at the sixth highest amount from a league-wide standpoint.

In just two games against the Thunder this season, the Suns committed an insane 38 turnovers. In their most recent matchup, the Thunder were able to halt a massive run by Phoenix by getting easy buckets off of turnovers.

The playoffs are a different game, and usually the best players see the court more. Expect more minutes from Durant, Beal and Booker as they try and take on a bigger load.

Where the Thunder can really separate themselves is through their depth. Take advantage when some or all members of the big three are on the bench. The Suns are second to last in the NBA in bench points at under 28 per game, allowing the Thunder to grow leads while Durant, Booker, and Beal sit.

Even if OKC doesn't face any of these teams in the first round, the playoffs are going to be valuable to the Thunder, no matter who stands in their way.

The best thing for these players is to gain experience playing in an environment where constant adjustments are needed, and games slow down into real competitive battles.