I know that right now, actual basketball being played on an actual court with actual NBA players is probably pretty far back in Thunder fans’ minds. I think the Thunder fan thought flow right now goes: “Draft-Draft-James Harden-Ricky Rubio-Food–Work–Draft-Sleep-Trades-Food-Draft-NBA Finals-Hasheem Thabeet.” Or something like that.
But the truth is, the Finals are what we all want. I may be totally crazy here, but I’d much rather have won a title than won the lottery. Heck, I’d rather have gotten swept in the Western quarterfinals than been in the lottery. But that’s me. I’d rather be playing than watching and wishing. The Finals are the reason we all care so much about free agency and the draft. Because you know, we want players that can help us get there.
Anyway, so with the Finals starting this week and I was thinking: What can Thunder fans and/or players take out of this? Here’s five things:
1. A superstar is needed, but the other four guys are just as important. Watch the way the Lakers maneuver with Kobe Bryant. He’s the unquestioned MAN of that team, but there’s a reason they are here and the Cavs are not. Those reasons are Andrew Bynum, Trevor Ariza, Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol. Kevin Durant is already a fantastic - I say FANTASTIC - player, but he can’t do it on his own. Nor could Russell Westbrook or Jeff Green. It’s got to be five guys working as one. Or at least three or four. Kobe doesn’t have to take every shot. He’s perfectly content scoring 18 on 6-11 shooting. He just waits and strikes when needed. Nobody does it better.
I remember some of my favorite basketball the Thunder played this season was while KD was out (don’t read anything into that). The team swung the ball side-to-side, made crisp cuts and moved the ball everywhere. It was beautiful basketball. They didn’t have the out of KD standing on the wing. They couldn’t just toss it to him and hope for the best. They all had to contribute. That’s the type of basketball is really takes to win, but insert a superstar player into the middle of it and you’ve got something special. It’s harder to figure out than you think though. The Magic understand Dwight Howard’s abilities and deficiencies and adjust accordingly. Same with the Lakers. You have to understand how everything works around your best player. Both these squads have that figured out pretty well. Keep Reading…