For numerous basketball purists it must have been agonizing to watch the Oklahoma City Thunder play last season. Here was a team who ranked dead last in assists per game, committed the most turnovers, and had the lowest assist to turnover ratio in the league. Yet they were still able to finish with the second best record in the Western Conference and managed to beat not one, or two, but three former NBA Champions who in the last 15 years had won ten NBA titles between to reach the NBA Finals. What made it even more infuriating to purists of the game was that the Thunder’s playoff success was not due to the team playing well, but rather the opposite. Both the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers played terribly allowing a team with a rather simplistic and predictable offense to simply steamroll them while the San Antonio Spurs, who started the Western Conference Final series with a two games to one lead simply folded under the pressure.
Only the Miami Heat had the insight and the common sense to figure out the way to shut down the Thunder and it did so by rather simple roster adjustment. Instead of having their star Lebron James use up much of his energy defending Thunder star Kevin Durant in the series, heat coach Erick Spoelstra had a better idea. He shifted Lebron to the power forward position placing the Heat’s defensive specialist Shane Battier to humbug Durant on the defensive end. Spoelstra, as many have already surmised knew that the Thunder’s offense primary consisted of the ball being dominated by both Durant and Russell Westbrook while their three other teammates simply stood and watched. Knowing full well that Serge Ibaka would not less see the ball let alone get any touches, he knew that Lebron would be free to aide with doubling down on Durant along with not spending energy guarding on the defensive end.