Staff Writer: Ryan Ward
This NBA regular season has pretty much gone as predicted with the Cleveland Cavaliers (1), Los Angeles Lakers (1), Orlando Magic (2) and the Dallas Mavericks (2) ending up being the top seeds in both of the conferences, but there were definitely some surprises on which teams actually made the playoffs this time around.
There is no doubt that the Western Conference is extremely competitive every single season in the NBA, but this season was one for the books as every team to make the playoffs in the West won at least 50 games.
The playoff seeding in the Western Conference from two to seven was to be expected, but the eighth spot was a big surprise as the up and coming Oklahoma City Thunder clinched their first playoff spot since moving from Seattle.
Coming into this NBA season no one expected much out of Kevin Durant and company as they were still a young team trying to figure out their identity. With everyone in the league expecting Scott Brooks’ squad to fail, the complete opposite happen as the Thunder quickly became a force to be reckoned with in the West.
Obviously the Oklahoma City Thunder still have a ways to go before they will be able to contend with the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and the Denver Nuggets in the West, but they are without a doubt off to a great start.
With a talented young core of players like point guard Russell Westbrook, rookie James Harden and most notably scoring champion Kevin Durant, the Thunder are poised to be one of the best teams in the West in the near future. Even though that could be pretty far down the road, the Thunder have gotten some much needed recognition for their best season in the franchise’s history.
All season long Kevin Durant and LeBron James have been battling back and forth for the distinction of NBA best scorer, but in the end the Thunder’s all around best player was able to come out on top and become the youngest player to ever win the NBA’s scoring title.
Durant becoming the league’s scoring champion was impressive, especially with the Thunder also making it to the playoffs, but the recognition didn’t stop there as Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks was also rewarded for the Thunder’s amazing season.
Becoming the NBA’s coach of the year is no easy task as being a head coach in the league is a job that usually doesn’t last very long with a huge turnover rate. With that being said, retaining a head coach job is a tough task unless you are Phil Jackson or Jerry Sloan.
Fortunately, Scott Brooks will get to keep his job for the foreseeable future as he was able to win the NBA’s Coach of the Year after improving the team’s win total by 27 and lead the young squad into the playoffs for the first time since moving to Oklahoma City Thunder.
So the future looks bright for Scott Brooks and company moving forward and after the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the defending NBA champions in game three on their home floor at the Ford Center, they might have an outside chance of pulling off the huge upset in the first round.