NBA Trade: Celtics trade Kendrick Perkins to Thunder for Jeff Green

BOSTON - NOVEMBER 12:  Kendrick Perkins #43 of...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The Baron Davis trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers from the Los Angeles Clippers was just the first of many deals made on the NBA trade deadline on Weds. Feb. 24, but the one trade that might have the biggest impact is the one that the Boston Celtics made with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

There is no doubt that the Oklahoma City Thunder is one of the most promising young teams in the league led by the league’s leading scorer Kevin Durant, but they have had some serious issues in the paint with the inability to compete against big teams like the two-time defending Los Angeles Lakers. With that being said, the Thunder decided to make a bold move on Wednesday by acquiring one of the best big men in the league in center Kendrick Perkins.

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Over the past couple of years, Perkins has been the Boston Celtics main man in the paint as he is more than willing to do all the dirty work and concentrate on cleaning up the glass. Along with the ability to bang with the best of them in the key, Perkins can be an offensive threat with his back to the basket or as a jump shooter.

Ironically enough, the Boston Celtics have used Kendrick Perkins as somewhat of a scapegoat for their loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 NBA Finals. With Perkins suffering a season-ending knee injury, the Celtics just weren’t able to contend with a much bigger Lakers squad in the paint.

Fortunately, the Celtics were able to get their defensive-minded center back on the floor recently, but in an interesting twist, Celtics GM Danny Ainge decided to trade the big man to the Oklahoma City Thunder for forward Jeff Green.

Perkins takes to the hoop
Image by Lorianne DiSabato via Flickr

The core of this deal is without a doubt Kendrick Perkins and Jeff Green, but the Celtics also traded away backup point guard and spark off the bench in Nate Robinson. In my opinion, this deal makes absolutely no sense for Boston as the Celtics get smaller and lose one of the better backup point guards in the game. Jeff Green is a solid player and a could be a very good addition to this team in the future, but as for right now, this trade could seriously affect Boston’s chances of contending with the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and the Orlando Magic in the playoffs.

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Other parts to his deal include the Thunder sending forward Nenad Kristic to Boston. Even though Kristic is considered a “big man” he is more of a shooter and isn’t a player that plays with his back to the basket like Perkins.

Personally, I believe this deal is an awful one of the Boston Celtics and a steal for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but Celtics GM Danny Ainge must have something up his sleeve as Boston is one of the Eastern Conference superpowers and could be well on their way to an NBA title. With that being said, Ainge must have plans to sign some veterans or something else in mind.

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Are the Oklahoma City Thunder the team of the future?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan
Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

Coming into this NBA regular season, the Oklahoma City Thunder were thought to be just another bad team in the Western Conference with a great player in Kevin Durant. With an inexperienced coach Scott Brooks and a team full of youngsters like Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, James Harden and of course Kevin Durant, the Thunder look like they’re in for another rough season, but that was far from the truth.

Somehow, someway, Scott Brooks was able to pull this young team together and find a way to make them listen to him as they are arguably the most improved team in the league by increasing their win total by 27 games.

That is one hell of improvement to say the least!

The one vast improvement that they did see this season was the emergence of a superstar in Kevin Durant who went from just another good scoring forward to arguably the best scorer in the league.

As if that wasn’t impressive enough that the Oklahoma City Thunder improved their win record by 27, Kevin Durant has shown how mature he really is this season by taking the reins and becoming the undisputed leader of this team. As a result, putting up 30 to 40 points a game has become no surprise for this scoring machine as now he can also call himself the youngest player to ever win the scoring title in the NBA.

Along with Durant’s dominance on the offense end of the floor, point guard Russell Westbrook has turned into arguably one of the best floor generals in the league as at times he just seems almost impossible to guard for most of point guards in the NBA. With other point guard around the league like Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul that is definitely saying something for this young kid!

Westbrook’s drastic improvement and dominance on the floor was never more evident than it was in the first round of the playoffs against the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. Veteran guards like Derek Fisher, Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown had no answer for this young kid out of UCLA as he just drove past them at will and became the X-factor in the series.

Eventually the defending champs figured out a way to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, but it was no easy task as this young team showed that they are without a doubt the team of the future in the Western Conference and will be a force to be reckoned with from here on out.

If Kevin Durant and company played any other team in the first round of the playoffs in the Western Conference, they would have almost certainly have moved on to the second round as it could be argued the two best teams in the West faced off in the first round.

Obviously that’s unfortunate for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but the future definitely looks bright as this young team will definitely be one to watch in the future.

Can the Oklahoma City Thunder pull off the upset against the defending champs?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan
Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

This season has been an amazing one to say the least for the Oklahoma City Thunder as they have gone from arguably one of the worst teams in the league to playoff team.

Not only have the Thunder increased their win total by 27 this season, but they have also started to get a lot of recognition for their impressive season.

Coming into the league about three years ago, Kevin Durant was thought to be one of the NBA’s most promising players. It was rough start for Durant as the Seattle Supersonics were one of the struggling franchises in the league and seemed to have no hope for the future besides having the kid out of Texas leading the way.

Fortunately, as the years rolled on the Seattle Supersonics became the Oklahoma City Thunder and the team kept getting considerable upgrades to their squad in the NBA Draft. With the additions of point guard Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green and James Harden over the last couple of seasons the Oklahoma City Thunder have gone from a struggling NBA franchise to arguably one of the best young teams in the league.

Last season the Oklahoma City Thunder witnessed Kevin Durant starting to become one of the league’s dominant scorers, but they never would have anticipated experiencing the amount of success they have during this season.

As if making the playoffs for the first since moving to Oklahoma City wasn’t impressive enough for the Thunder, Kevin Durant became the youngest player in league history to win the scoring title. With dominant scorers like Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James in the league that is definitely saying something.

There have been plenty of young players that have won the scoring title before, but almost all them have been on terrible teams and depended on them scoring 30+ points a night just to save face. Michael Jordan and Tracy McGrady are good examples of this as that is exactly the situation they were in with the Chicago Bulls and the Orlando Magic early in their careers. When MJ started out with the Chicago Bulls they were awful and the only highlight was his high scoring nights and highlight reels dunks. McGrady had exactly the same experience as all he did was score as much as possible, but the Orlando Magic were still amongst the worst teams in the league at the time.

Kevin Durant on the other hand is in a completely different situation as he is a dominant scorer, but he makes his team better and this season success is the perfect indication of that.

Now the Oklahoma City Thunder have a daunting task ahead of them as they face the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. They have played extremely well so far, but a favored to go home early as the defending champs will not go down without a fight.

The key to this series is point guard Russell Westbrook as the Los Angeles Lakers have absolutely no answer for the versatile and extremely fast guard in the backcourt.

Derek Fisher is a great defender, but he is really starting to show signs of his age as Westbrook continues to blow straight past the four-time NBA champion.

Ultimately, I can’t see the Oklahoma City Thunder beating the Los Angeles Lakers in a seven game series. The Lakers are just too experienced and extremely resilient which leading me to believe that the Thunder will show their inexperience at some point during this series, but I have to say they have played much better than anticipated.

Is Chris Bosh headed to the Oklahoma City Thunder?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan
Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

This summer will be an eventful one to say the least in the NBA as we will witness arguably the most talented free agent class in league history with some the NBA’s biggest names becoming available to the highest bidder.

There is no doubting that LeBron James will be by far the biggest name available come July 1st. There is a lot of debate on whether or not he will re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers or head to the New York Knicks, but there are some other big name players that will be available that could have considerable impact on the league if they choose to change teams.

Everyone knows that there will be some pretty big names becoming free agents this summer, but I don’t think a lot of those people realize the impact these players will have on the league if they choose to sign elsewhere come July 1st.

If LeBron James signs with the New York Knicks the Eastern Conference will be turned upside down as the power will shift. Obviously the Knicks will need some other players to surround him in order for them to get back to dominant status in the conference, but with the money available they can sign another big name player.

One of the other players that the New York Knicks have been targeting to possibly play alongside LeBron James is the Toronto Raptors superstar forward Chris Bosh. Even though Bosh doesn’t have much flash to his game, the All-Star forward is arguably one of the best players in the game today and would be a great fit to play in New York with LeBron.

Despite New York being a possible destination for Chris Bosh, there has been another team named as an option for him this summer. The New York Knicks will be throwing huge amounts of cash around, but in terms of wanting to play on a winning team, Bosh might decide to sign with the up and coming Oklahoma City Thunder.

There have been only a handful of teams mentioned as big players in this summer’s NBA free agent market this season with the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and New York Knicks being the teams with the most money to burn. Until recently, the Oklahoma City Thunder haven’t been mentioned at all as a team in the running for some of the league’s best players, but it looks like they might throw dice and sign a big name big man if given the chance.

This season the Oklahoma City Thunder have played brilliantly and have quickly made a transformation from one of the worst teams in the league to a playoff team in just one year. The Thunder still have some ground to make up in order to contend with the big boys in the Western Conference, but they have a good foundation with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant leading the way.

The one thing that Thunder have been sorely missing has been a dominant big man that can get it done in the paint. Chris Bosh would be the perfect fit in Oklahoma City as he is unselfish and as good as anyone at the power forward/center position.

Obviously the Thunder will have to compete with the big money from New York, Los Angeles and Miami, but I believe if he decided to play alongside Kevin Durant he would drastically improve the team’s chances of becoming one of the best teams in this league.

Scott Brooks wins Coach of the Year honors

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan

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.

NBA Playoff Previews – Western Conference

Staff Writer: Jeremiah Ira Yap

LA Lakers vs (8) Oklahoma City

Tough match-up for the Lakers. Oklahoma City’s talented young core of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green will wreck havoc on the Lakers’ currently confused defense. There are two things intriguing about this series: Kobe Bryant, the Lakers best player, can be slowed down by the Thunders best defender, Thabo Sefolosha. Sefolosha has the right length to bother Kobe’s jumpers and the right speed to stay in front of him. I can hear Lakers fans saying, “Stopping Kobe in the playoffs? No way!”. Well, this isn’t 2006 Kobe where he was at his physical peak. Remember 2008? 2008 MVP Kobe was stopped by the Boston Celtics in the Finals, so there. Ha! Kobe was held to 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting against the Thunder in the last time these two teams played against each other.

Kevin Durant, the Thunders best player, cannot be contained by the Lakers’ best defender, Ron Artest. Durant has averaged 25 points against the Lakers. Although I’m still giving Artest the benefit of a doubt that he can still shut down one of the league’s best scorers. For all we know Artest may be channeling his inner Dennis Rodman with the blonde ‘do he’s sporting

This series is dubbed as “Durant vs Kobe”, but the real key for the Lakers is Pau Gasol and for the Thunder it’s Russell Westbrook. Nick Collison and Serge Ibaka can’t guard Gasol. It’s up to the Lakers to keep feeding it to the 7-foot Spaniard in the post.

Phil Jackson’s reluctance to curb Derek Fisher’s minutes will be bad for the Lakers. Fisher can’t guard a stationary lamp post and Westbrook is one of the quickest players in the league. The Lakers medical team better give Fisher some goggles to protect his eyes from the dust Westbrook will be leaving in his path. Westbrook exploded against the Lakers in their last regular season game.

The Lakers will have their hands full and will need six down to the wire games to eliminate the Thunder.

Dallas Mavericks vs (7) San Antonio Spurs

The Mavs have the greatest chance of beating the Lakers. They are a complete team and versatile at every position. Their midseason acquisition of Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson have reaped nothing but benefits. On the other flip of the coin, San Antonio’s acquisition of Richard Jefferson has been highly disappointing. Jefferson has been unable to adjust accordingly to Coach Popovich’s system.

Some say never doubt the Spurs in the playoffs, but realistically, their window has already closed. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan have been nagged by injuries and have not played a decent game after the All-Star break. Manu Ginobili has played great the past month but his age (32) and mileage make it hard to believe that he’s ready to take a lot of contact in the playoffs.

Dirk Nowitzki may have a tougher than expected series against the defense of Jefferson. Caron Butler and Jason Terry are the keys for the Mavs.

Dajuan Blair will have a big series for the Spurs, but Duncan and Parker need additional support from George Hill and Antonio McDyess. Don’t be surprised if the Mavericks win the series in five games. Stick a fork in the Spurs, they are done. It’s time to rebuild.

Phoenix Suns vs (6) Portland Trail Blazers

It’s a shame that Brandon Roy’s injury will greatly diminish the Blazers chances to advance to the second round. His presence would’ve made this an exciting series. Instead, we’ll see the Suns run Portland out the gym.

The Blazers don’t have the depth to keep up with the Suns up-and-down game. The return of Leandro Barbosa and Jason Richardson’s great play recently couldn’t come at a better time. The Blazers success will depend heavily on veterans Andre Miller and Marcus Camby, but their old legs will not be enough to outlast the Suns. Suns in five game.

Denver Nuggets vs (5) Utah Jazz

Carmelo Anthony must’ve been smiling on his way to the court for Game 1 against the Jazz. There was no one capable of guarding him after Andrei Kirilenko re-injured his calf strain. Anthony faced a combination of Kyle Korver, CJ Miles and Wesley Matthews and proceeded to drop 42 on the Jazz. The Jazz also had no answer for JR Smith, who scored 18 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter. The Nuggets can heat up in a heartbeat and the Jazz found that out in Game 1.

Aside from losing Kirilenko, Mehmet Okur left the second quarter of Game 1 after re-injuring his Achilles’. Even if the Jazz lost to the Nuggets, I still believe this will be a long series. The Jazz have a better coach in Jerry Sloan. He will make the necessary adjustments for Utah. Unlike with the Nuggets, who will miss George Karl sooner rather than later.

Interesting series. The Jazz will come back to win in six games. Carmelo Anthony may be the best player in the series, but Smith’s streak shooting and inconsistency will be detrimental for the Nuggets.

NBA Playoff Preview: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan
Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

It has been a long and painful season for the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers as they have been able to clinch the number one spot in the Western Conference for the third straight year, but have been pretty banged up as a result of quite a few injuries that could affect their title defense heading into the playoffs.

The one key player that has been affected more by injuries this season on the Lakers than any other has been reigning NBA Finals MVP Kobe Bryant. Despite having the reputation of being an Ironman, and that he is more than any other player in the league, Kobe will be looking into the playoffs as he is nursing multiple injuries to his fingers, knees and ankles.

This is on the scene not good for the defending NBA champs, but if anybody can fight through injuries and still play at a high level it is Kobe Bryant and as he shown in the past he tends to excel once in the playoffs.

Along with Kobe licking his wounds heading into the postseason, the Lakers also have a huge concern once again, for the third straight year, with Andrew Bynum nursing a strained Achilles.

Reportedly, Andrew Bynum should be good to go because he was healthy enough to finish out the NBA regular season but head coach Phil Jackson thought it would be a smart idea for him the rest of the little but more the 40 got back on the floor.

Obviously, that is a smart decision by the Zen Master as Bynum has been as fragile as any other big man one week, especially when it comes to playoff time.

Even though no one will be picking the Oklahoma City Thunder to upset the defending champs in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Kevin Durant and company are not a team to be taken lightly as they have shown they can compete with almost any team in the league on a nightly basis.

The one thing that will be working against the Oklahoma City Thunder in this first round matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers is there serious lack of experience. It is common knowledge that the Los Angeles Lakers are the most experienced team in the playoffs right now with arguably the best head coach of all-time in Phil Jackson and arguably the best player of all-time in Kobe Bryant. Just the combination of these two great basketball minds is enough to scare any inexperienced playoff team, but the Thunder could expose the Lakers as they haven’t played well to end the regular season and that could carry over to the postseason.

Ultimately I really don’t see any way that the Oklahoma City Thunder can beat Kobe Bryant and company in a seven-game series, but miracles have happen the past and that won’t stop anytime soon.

The Thunder will win more games than anticipated, but they will still fall short against the Lakers.

Series Prediction: 4-2 Los Angeles Lakers

Who is the dark horse in the Eastern Conference playoffs?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan
Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

There is no doubting that right now the Cleveland Cavaliers are by far the favorite to come out of the Eastern conference and represent the East in the NBA finals. No team in the East has a player like LeBron James who can just take over again whenever he feels he needs to. Few players in the league have ever been tagged with the distinction of being unguardable, but LeBron James pulls that off quite nicely.

The one team that seems to give them the most trouble with the past two seasons is the Orlando Magic who have arguably the best collection of offense of weapons in the NBA today and the best defensive player in the league in center Dwight Howard.

After the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic, the competition in the Eastern conference drops off fairly drastically as the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics become the next two teams to beat in the conference.

Even though the top four teams in the Eastern conference will be the only teams in the East that most people keep their eyes on in these playoffs, there is one team that I believe could shock one or more of these great teams in the conference during the postseason.

Throughout this NBA regular season we’ve seen a few surprises for certain players in certain teams exceeding expectations and becoming legitimate playoff teams.

In the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder who have gone from one of the worst teams in the league to one of the promising young teams in the future in just one season. Not only has the Thunder been able to become a playoff team for the first time since moving to Oklahoma City, but Kevin Durant has gone from just a good player to arguably the best score this week today. As a result, the Texas product has one scoring title and become the youngest player to do so in NBA history.

In the Eastern conference, the Milwaukee Bucks are the team that have really surprised people as they have had nothing but disappointment over the last few seasons with their superstar guard Michael Redd going down in consecutive seasons with serious knee injuries.

Despite Michael Redd going down once again with a knee injury and quite possibly claim his last game as a Milwaukee Buck, the team has been able to rally around point guard rookie phenom Brandon Jennings.
Even though a lot of people questioned whether or not Brandon Jennings couldn’t play the NBA level after playing in Italy for one season due to his in eligibility to enter the NBA draft because of age, young kid has completely turned around his franchise and looks like a future superstar in this week with the help of All-Star caliber center Andrew Bogut.

Not only has Brandon Jennings almost single-handedly brought interest back to the Milwaukee Bucks fan base, but he has helped lead the team back into the playoffs and in my opinion given them a solid shot at competing with the best the best in the conference.

I do believe for the Milwaukee Bucks might be able to surprise some people in the playoffs, but they will have their work cut out for them against another young and upcoming team in the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks by no means will go down without a fight, but in my opinion this will be the most entertaining first round matchup in the playoffs.

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.

Can the Oklahoma City Thunder contend with the likes of the Lakers, Nuggets and Mavs?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan

Staff Writer:  Ryan Ward

These days their two teams in the Western Conference that are legitimate title contenders and will be title contenders for at least the next five years or so in the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers and the upcoming Denver Nuggets.

It would be hard to argue that any team in the conference is better than the Lakers or Nuggets, but there are few teams that might yield give them a run for their money this season like the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz and surprisingly enough the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Obviously the Los Angeles Lakers are the team to beat in the Western Conference right now and the Denver Nuggets aren’t far behind, but the Oklahoma City thunder a surprising people with every passing week and every passing game as they have played brilliantly and looked more like a motivated college program like the Duke Blue Devils instead of this million-dollar athletes looking to get paid.

It seems like everybody’s waiting for this team to fail as they have done so well in years past, but MVP candidate Kevin Durant is looking more and more like one of the best players in the league as he is now averaging almost 3 points again and is just behind LeBron James in the race for the NBA scoring title this season.

Most people believe, from the outside looking in, but the Oklahoma City Thunder is just Kevin Durant lighting up the scoreboards on a nightly basis, but that is far from the truth as the Thunder have arguably one most talented young teams in the league today with players like forward Jeff Green in point guard Russell Westbrook helping Durant turned the Thunder into legitimate playoff team.

As of right now the Oklahoma City Thunder by the fifth seed in the Western Conference that is saying something to become a competition they have the plague night in and night out in arguably the most competitive of the two conferences in the NBA.

Even though the Oklahoma City Thunder seem destined for the playoffs this season as they sit in the five spot in the West, they will have their work cut out for them to finish out the season the same spot as the competition is getting tougher with teams fighting for higher seeds heading into the playoffs.

The Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs and the Phoenix Suns are behind the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference standings right now and will be doing all they can in order to get higher seed before the regular season ends which means Kevin Durant and company will have a target on their back to finish out the second half of the NBA regular season.

Despite all the pressure of being a young playoff team, I believe the Oklahoma City Thunder will really surprise some teams in the playoffs this season and if they keep playing with the kind of fire they have been playing with I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility that they could end of playing a team like the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals.

Obviously right now that is quite a stretch, but you never know as anything can happen with a player like Kevin Durant leading the way!