The state of Thunder basketball...
PG: Russell Westbrook/Shaun Livingston/Kevin Ollie
SG: Thabo Sefolosha/James Harden
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Jeff Green/DJ White/Serge Ibaka
C: Nenad Krstic/Nick Collison/Etan Thomas/Byron Mullens
We have 5 guys I consider "core" meaning guys I think will be very important in our future success. They are Westbrook, Harden, Sefolosha, Durant, Green.
Westbrook - I think he is going to end up being a Chauncey Billups type of player once he gets more playing time and the game slows down for him, he is also going to have a similar role IMO. A guy who brings the ball up and gets the team in the offense sets. No amazing passes but just to get us in our sets. He also will be able to score in important parts of the game, and its this part which I think is going to be his biggest contribution. Drive and kick or dive and layup will be his game. We now have 2 very good spot up shooters(Durant, Harden). If he can improve his shot to where its respectable then he will be incredibly hard to defend. He is a scorer who likes to pass lets put it that way. On defense I think he can become a ferocious pest. It might take some time to get both his offense and defense working together but he can be a 1st team all-defense.
Harden - I love his game; slow tempo, methodical, and smooth. He is a thinker out on the floor. I see him being similar to Ginobli except he is stronger, and not quite as athletic. He is going to make his living on offense as a spot up shooter, a drive and kick, or drive and layup. Is going to be a very efficient player down the road. On defense I haven't seen much since he played a lot of zone, but I like his anticipation, and his hands they are quick. He will probably be a above average defender in time. Athleticism holds him back from being an elite defender.
Sefolosha - Is our Bruce Bowen. Not nearly as physical but has great technique, great hustle, and great lateral and vertical ability to defend the elite scorers in the NBA. I have heard he has improved his outside shot this off-season. If he can become a respectable shooter from the outside then it will be hard to keep him off the floor.
Durant - We all know he is a stone cold shooter. Catch and shoot he is deadly and is going to get even better which is scary. I'm guessing in a few years(lets say 23 years old) he will have a solid post game to go along with his shooting. His pull up game is a work in progress and I doubt its going to be a strength of his. However a deadly spot up shooter, and solid post game with his length is a top 3 offense player in the league. His passing has come a long way since his first game as a rookie. He is still developing this and IMO I think he will be a good passer by the time he is matured as a player. he is a bad defender mainly because his effort level leaves a lot to be desired, and he is weak. He will get stronger, and his effort level will get better no question. He will at worst be a average defender, and if he puts in the work to get stronger and the effort on a daily basis, he can be a elite defender. A more perimeter oriented Garnett so to speak. I expect him to be a top 2 player in the NBA in his prime, and win multiple MVP awards. Kid is just too good of a person and player not to be great.
Green - Our glue guy. Everyone calls him Uncle Jeff; he is level headed, smart, tough, and a gym rat. He reminds me of a much bigger Derrick Rose. Not in terms of playing style, but in their mindset and personality. Soft spoken, humble, lives and breathes basketball, worker, poise, level headed. He is our PF/SF for the next 15 years you can put it in the bank. He is everything Presti looks for in a player. Jordan had Pippen, well Durant has Green.
If those 5 guys I mentioned develop in to players we all envision them to be then this organization will be successful. If other guys such as Ibaka/Livingston/White/Mullens develop into players we envision them to become then its going to be a real fun ride.
I predict this season we wont make the playoffs but will get close. I see us with around 40-42 wins this year. Our future is very bright however and this season even if we don't make the playoffs, if our guys develop and it shows out on the court it will be a success IMO. We are just to young to contend.
Next year we will see the dividends of our early struggles pay off.