WTLC got the opportunity to participate in TNT's Inside the NBA Media Day where Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley were available to talk about the upcoming season.
From a roster standpoint, Oklahoma City's off-season was bleak. While players like LeBron James, Lance Stephenson, and Pau Gasol were signed to revitalize and revamp their respective teams, Sam Presti decided to be himself and sign Anthony Morrow as the big addition this off-season. Since the Thunder's inception, Presti has made a name for himself as a conservative general manager, making small ripples instead of big splashes in signings and trades. Now with a reconstructed Western Conference and some expiring contracts on the books, it seems as though OKC's Finals window has begun to close, especially with the constant injuries as of late.
While listening in on the Inside the NBA crew spew out their Western Conference top seed predictions, the Thunder were rarely mentioned, and when the team was brought up, it was certainly not about their progress and improvements. Charles Barkley was high on the what the Mavericks did this offseason, claiming he is a "Tyson Chandler guy" and loves the addition of Chandler Parsons but there was no mentioning of OKC because they practically did nothing.
Aside from the lackluster offseason, rumors surfaced concerning Kevin Durant eventually returning home to Washington DC in 2016 following in LeBron's footsteps. The craziness resumed after Kevin Durant replied to a twitter comment.
@BrittMcHenry just wait on it— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) October 27, 2014
KD claims the tweet was just a big misunderstanding, however, you can't help but wonder.
This leads many people to believe OKC's winning window is closing slowly. After Durant suffered a Jones fracture in his foot, people began to count the Thunder out, claiming Westbrook has no scoring support.
Kenny Smith, former NBA player, feels that OKC has already seem its glory days, which is why people tend to leave them out of Finals predictions.
"Why everyone counts them out is that it felt like they hit their ceiling last year. It felt like when you watched them last year, they weren't better than the year before."
Smith forgot to account for Serge Ibaka's late playoff injury last season against the Spurs, but his points are valid. Since the Thunder faced off against the blood-thirsty Heat, the roster and performance have gone down hill tremendously. The bench has looked depleted since James Harden's departure, on-court chemistry has been missing, and there is no ball movement so the opposing team knows what to expect every single game. Smith then continued his rant saying:
"It didn't look like an improvement. And then you come back this year and they didn't really change their roster, personnel."
After this comment, Kenny and I discussed Sam Presti's future with the franchise. I highlighted that he is never the type to dive head first into a signing and that is conservative style cannot compete with the GMs that salivate over new additions (see Daryl Morey). Kenny then concluded by saying the last thing every Thunder fan wants to hear:
"They're good but I don't know if they are that good."
The Thunder are an excellent team with the NBA's most powerful offensive one-two punch, but the San Antonio Spurs proved that it takes more than two superstars to win a championship. Depth beats out superstars, and compared to the Spurs' ocean, OKC is a kiddie pool.
So get ready Thunder fans, because this season may go downhill pretty fast.