Sports Illustrated put out predictions and Chris Mannix has OKC winning 60 games and losing in the NBA Finals. Now that’s some hype: “Oklahoma City’s dream ride comes to an end at the hands of the experienced Celtics, but the NBA will relish a series played in front of two of the league’s most vociferous home crowds.”
Speaking of hype, ESPN’s experts predicted awards yesterday and Kevin Durant dominated the MVP vote, Jeff Green, James Harden and Serge Ibaka got a handful of Most Improved votes, Scott Brooks got another Coach of the Year vote and Ibaka was also tabbed as Defensive Player of the Year by J.A. Adande. I think the phrase you’re looking for is “I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so… scared.” Yeah, that sums up the season nicely again.
Oh and a little more: Bill Simmons has Boston over OKC in six in the NBA Finals, and the Thunder finishing with 62 wins, tops in the West.
Rahat Huq, writing for Hardwood Paroxysm, on KD and LeBron: “Why such need for narrative? Why the penchant for a plotline? Durant is a precocious marvel independently deserving of plaudits; placing him juxtaposed is an injustice to Durant. Reproach of James—while irrational and unwarranted–should hold on its own free from comparison. It’s a failure of our discourse and a flaw of our collective logic that “unlike _____” is inevitably appended in our process of argumentation. Ours is a troubling worldview, pitting evil against good, leaving us sadly directionless in its void, unknowing of whom to embrace. We need a good guy to hate the bad, and if the former is yet to exist, he is created, sculpted by hand to fit the mold required. We’ve anointed our white knight in Durant to save what had been lost, rejected by 23. Peculiar.”
Zach Lowe of The Point Forward on James Harden and Serge Ibaka: “The Thunder are receiving almost — almost – as much hype as the Heat, and many experts have OKC as the sole Western Conference team with a real chance to knock off the Lakers in a seven-gamer. To do that, the Thunder will need more interior production on both ends, and that’s where Ibaka, the team’s most athletic big man and best shot-blocker, must take a step forward. They’ll also need a shooting guard who can provide some of the defense Thabo Sefolosha brings while acting as the offensive threat Sefolosha will never be. Harden should be that guy. If he’s not playing crunch-time minutes in late April, I’ll be disappointed.”
Jerry Zgoda has OKC tops in the West: “Normally you would say the Thunder should regress after last season’s stunning surge, but Kevin Durant isn’t normal. Neither is Russell Westbrook, for that matter.”
USA Today asks if OKC is ready to really contend: “Definitely. The Thunder probably are a year away, but depending on how the season breaks, Oklahoma City is good enough to make it happen now. The Thunder not only have youth with scoring champ Durant and point guard Russell Westbrook but also depth and a desire for playing lockdown defense.”
A prediction from Both Teams Played Hard: Jeff Green will be traded.