What’s the key to the Thunder’s sudden resurgence?

Ryan Ward - A true Lakers Fan

Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

The Thunder will make their first playoff appearance in its young existence. Oklahoma City is currently the sixth seed in the west but are locked in a three-way battle with the Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs. Well, it doesn’t really matter what seed they will end up in because the Thunder are young, athletic and skilled, which makes them a very dangerous first-round opponent.

Obviously, their success can be attributed by the sudden explosion of Kevin Durant. Durant went from rising star last season to an MVP candidate. He will likely win his first scoring title this season. Forward Jeff Green is averaging 15 points a ball game and Russell Westbrook is having a career year. These three young guns are a big reason why the Thunder find themselves in the playoffs.

It’s their offense that gets a lot of recognition, but its actually the Thunder’s defense which makes them dangerous. The Thunder allows only 97.6 points a game, which is good enough for 11th in the league. There’s not one individual on Oklahoma City that is a great defender. But as a team the Thunder are a cohesive, effective defensive unit.

Against the highest scoring team in the league, the Phoenix Suns, the Thunder held them to their lowest scoring output in the second half – the Suns scored only 34 points. The young Oklahoma City Thunder also held the Suns under 100 points. Two-time MVP Steve Nash and All-star Amar’e Stoudemire were forced into committing five combined turnovers.

All you need to know about what the Thunder defense did to the Suns offense is this: the Suns shot 58 percent in first and second quarters. After that, Phoenix shot only 31 percent. Durant and Green had seven steals – amazing considering they are both forwards.

This years Thunder reminds us much of last seasons Portland Trail Blazers. Exciting crowd, budding superstar in Durant (in the Blazers case Brandon Roy), and a core group of young talented guys. All of this resulted in first-round fodder.

Durant, in particular, had no turnovers on his way to scoring 35 points. It’s been a joy to watch Durant this season. There are already talks that is he the second best player in the league – yes, in front of Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard. This statement might be a reach considering Durant has played at this level for only one season. Plus, greatness can’t be measured during the season, it is seen where it counts – in the playoffs.

Durant and the Thunder will get the opportunity to prove exactly that as they make their first playoff appearance in history.

Rookie of the Year: Tyreke Evans or Stephon Curry?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan

Staff Writer:  Ryan Ward

Coming into this NBA season there was a talented class of rookies that were looking to prove themselves on the next level, but despite rookie phenom point guard Brandon Jennings leading the way for the Rookie of the Year award after lighting up the Golden State Warriors for 55 points, two other rookies have surpassed him and are the frontrunners for top rookie honors.

Brandon Jennings may be the future of the Milwaukee Bucks, especially with their leading scorer Michael Redd going down for the season once again and will probably no longer be with the team after this year, but the Golden State Warriors sharp shooting rookie Stephon Curry and the scoring machine point guard Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings look like they are in a head-to-head battle for the rookie award.

Before he became a Pro, Stephon Curry was a skinny kid with a baby face and not many people thought could transcend his game on the professional level after being the dominant scorer in college. Despite everyone coming out this kid and son of former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry, he has played exceptionally well this season becoming one of the best offensive threats in the game.

Last season the Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose impressed everyone around the league with is exceptional athletic ability and his poise under pressure as he played extremely well in the playoffs against the Boston Celtics. This series went down as one of the best series of all time as the Bulls and the Celtics went back and forth all series long with multiple overtime games.

Ultimately, Derrick Rose was named rookie of the year turn out to be much-deserved. This season no rookie besides maybe the Milwaukee Bucks Brandon Jennings been able to turn around franchise the way Derrick Rose did last season with the Chicago Bulls.

Even though Brandon Jennings will almost certainly get some consideration for the rookie of the year award, but it seems as though the Sacramento Kings Tyreke Evans and Golden State Warriors Stephon Curry have leaped ahead of Jennings in the race for the award as they have played brilliantly this season and have somewhat overshadowed Brandon Jennings 55 point game against the Golden State Warriors in the first half of the regular season.

Unfortunately, both the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings have been just awful teams this season and have absolutely no chance of making the playoffs this season. The Milwaukee Bucks on the other hand are a high seed in the Eastern Conference and seem to be playoff bound.

With that being said, Tyreke Evans and Stephon Curry haven’t had the impact that Brandon Jennings has had on his team this season.

Personally, I would pick Brandon Jennings to win this award, but in terms of offensive production it would have to go to Tyreke Evans who has averaged a rookie high 20.1 points per game up until this point in the season. Evans is also has the best field goal percentage at 46% and second in assists with 5.5 per game.

So even though I believe Brandon Jennings should win the award, the voters will most likely pick Tyreke Evans instead unless Stehpon Curry or Brandon Jennings do something spectacular before the end of the NBA regular season.