We finally have a Thunder schedule in place for the upcoming season, which means that actual, meaningful games cannot be too far away. After an offseason that has twisted and turned our minds and our stomachs back and forth, this upcoming season will be one of the most fascinating dramas to watch. The Thunder, more than any other team, have through circumstance and choice, rebuilt themselves. The loss of Kevin Durant has massive ramifications, but similarly to the Portland Trail Blazers a year ago, OKC has the personnel and leadership to stand near the top of the 2017 NBA championship odds table. The world cried out that OKC was finished after KD signed on with the Thunder's Western Conference Final rival Golden State Warriors. Following Russell Westbrook's extension, the Thunder's distant future remains intact and their near future is still shining bright.
What are the Thunder's odds? NBA betting site topbet.eu gives OKC +2000 odds to win the West, and +3300 to win the NBA Championship. Not great, but not too bad, either. Despite losing such a marquee player this offseason, the Thunder are the sixth favorite in the current NBA Futures list. It's become a cliché in Oklahoma City, but it seems the team is still just a player away from glory.
Aside from the loss of Durant, OKC also traded away Serge Ibaka and decided not to pursue Dion Waiters during the offseason. Combine that with the addition of Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Ersan Ilyasova, and Alex Abrines, coach Billy Donovan is once again going to need the entire regular season to figure out what his team needs to be to compete against the league's best. Will another piece need to be added to help take this team to the top of the ranks? Similar to the Spurs (+900) addition of LaMarcus Aldridge leading up to the 2015-16 season, the Thunder need to add an impact player at the three spot to take some of the heat off of first round forward Sabonis. The thought process is that he'll likely check in this season and get quite a bit of playing time. It's a solid solution but doesn't give them the best chance to win. It also doesn't necessarily help his progression by not having a veteran forward there to take some minutes off his shoulders and provide guidance in the process.
As for Durant's departure, don't expect extremely different results, as the oddsmakers aren't discounting the Westbrook effect. The Thunder are still built for a strong run this season.