Sorry, Minnesota Timberwolves and Washington Wizards. I know the Thunder plays you this week, but I couldn’t care less. It’s Heat Week.
Oh, sure, I’ll be watching the T-Wolves game and attending the Wizards game, just like always. I want the Thunder to win both, and it will be embarrassing if they drop either. But ultimately, as I’m sure many Thunder fans would agree, I’m focused on the Miami game at noon Sunday.
All of the “Thunder is the anti-Heat” talk was so abundant and repetitive last summer that I got tired of hearing it before the season even started. But that doesn’t mean there’s not at least a hint of truth to it, and it doesn’t mean that I don’t crave a home win over any team more than I want one over the Heat (with the possible, and I do mean possible, exception of the Lakers). It’s been circled on my calendar since the day the schedule came out. It’s on ABC. The arena will be rocking unlike any other regular season game since the team arrived in Oklahoma City. In short, this may be the most anticipated regular season game in OKC’s brief NBA history.
It is a battle of contender-building methods. There’s no hope of assembling a Heat-like collection of free-agent talent in Oklahoma City. Sorry, but it’s going to be hard to sign anybody other than a middling free agent if another team in a more desirable city is able to dangle similar dollars. I’m not saying any free agent who regards central Oklahoma with disdain would be right in doing so, but it’s reality. The only way OKC is going to be successful someday after the Kevin Durant era ends (hopefully in another 15 years…) is through more luck in the draft and resourceful front office moves. There will never be an easy-bake juggernaut here like the one assembled in Miami. So it’s easy to think 0f this as a one-game test of whether the Oklahoma City strategy is a big-time winning one, especially if you’re viewing it with blue-tinted glasses. And it will be easy to think that of all the other Thunder-Heat games in the coming seasons. Keep Reading…