Are the Oklahoma City Thunder contenders in the Western Conference with the addition of Paul George?
The OKC Thunder have got another talented NBA duo. After Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook split back in the summer of 2016, Paul George found himself traded to the Thunder the following year. Together, with the 2017 MVP Westbrook, Paul George can become a better overall basketball player, as Westbrook will get him open looks, open three-pointers, and lay-ups. George’s strength is the way he moves on the court, the way he creates room for himself, driving inside the paint, shooting mid-range jumpers, fadeaways, and three-pointers. To do that and play next to one of the most powerful and unstoppable guys in the league, is something that can get the best out of George next season.
Westbrook however, will have to share the basketball more with his players, make George run in transition, hurry back on defense, and hustle on both sides of the court. This will make this duo unstoppable. These two, together with Steven Adams, who will be better this season, can make the Thunder unstoppable on the offensive side of the court. The problem however of this team is the defensive weakness they have, and the depth they lack on the bench.
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When Westbrook goes to the bench, the Thunder collapse. Will this change with the addition of Paul George? Patrick Patterson, Alex Abrines, as well as the other Thunder role players have to take the extra step this season, in order for the Thunder to reach their objectives. The team, however, needs a bench player, a sixth man, that will lead the team when George and Westbrook are on the bench. A player like a Jordan Clarkson, a Lou Williams, Eric Gordon, Jamal Crawford is what the Thunder need on their bench.
The offense is already there. Last year the Thunder scored 106.5 points per game, one of the best in the NBA. In wins, they averaged 110.5 points per game while in losses only 101.3 points per game. This shows how the offense plays such a big role in this Thunder team and its success. With the addition of Paul George, this will change for the better.
The competition in the Western Conference will also be a big challenge for this team. The Warriors, Spurs, and Rockets will probably be in the Top-3. The question is which team will be able to get the No. 4 seed and the home court advantage in the playoffs. Can the Thunder reach the Top-4 and get the home court advantage they need, in order for them to get past the first round? Another interesting and important aspect of the Thunder’s success is Russell Westbrook and his level of play. Can he average a triple-double again, for the second straight year? Westbrook, last year showcased his individual talents, but this year he wants to show how his team can be legit title contenders. But, does his team have the depth, the players and the talent to contend for an NBA championship? Would you consider the Thunder a contender or a pretender? Either way, the Thunder, with the addition of Paul George will be exciting to watch.