2017 was an eventful year for the Thunder organization. The first full year of the post-Durant era included an MVP award, a first round playoff exit, an extremely busy offseason, and Steven Adams emerging as the world’s greatest basketball player.
When looking back at the year as a whole, Sam Presti’s moves will dominate the headlines. He traded for two all-stars in a span of less than three months, so he deservedly gets the front page. On either side of the transaction-filled summer, there was basketball. Some good and some bad, but basketball nonetheless. Let’s take an abbreviated look back at 2017.
The Thunder finished as the sixth seed in the Western Conference and struggled whenever Russell Westbrook wasn’t on the court. He was the eventual league MVP, and the first player to average a triple-double since 1962, so that’s understandable, however it was clear that OKC needed to build around him.
This was evident in the first round of the playoffs against Houston, as the Rockets made quick work of the Thunder, ending their season in just five games. The attention now turned to Presti and the front office.
To call OKC’s offseason busy would be a dramatic understatement.
The 2017 Draft saw the Thunder draft Terrance Ferguson, a solid 3-and-D player with very high upside. Risky? Yes. But one of the more intriguing picks in the first round.
In terms of signings, Andre Roberson’s three year extension and the addition of Patrick Patterson (3yrs $16.35MM) stand out at first glance. We can’t forget Raymond Felton and Nick Collison’s one year deals, as they’re the necessary glue guys on this roster.
Note: If there’s ever a day in the basketball world where Felton and Collison are no longer relevant, I want no part of it.
The Thunder acquired Paul George on July 6th in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis (The Patterson and Felton signings followed later that week). This of course was the highlight of the summer, as it was the true beginning of getting Westbrook an elite supporting cast.
On September 25th, Presti further bolstered the supporting cast by acquiring Carmelo Anthony from the Knicks to round out OKC’s new big three. They would send Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a 2nd round pick to New York in the deal.
Four days later, the Thunder’s wild offseason would come to an end with a bang, as Westbrook signed a 5-year $205 million contract extension. The Thunder were now ready to compete with the West’s elite.
Immediate gratification is always ideal, but sometimes that’s just not the way things work. This is certainly the case in sports when team’s adjust to new acquisitions and lineups, while letting their team chemistry develop.
It became difficult to stay positive, as the Thunder were 8-12 on November 29th after losing to the Orlando Magic. Things were not going well, and the fans and media were inching closer and closer to the panic button.
Fast forward to December 30th, and the Thunder are 20-15, riding a six game winning streak, and one of the hottest teams in the NBA. Their offense is clicking and much of that is due to their smuggling defense. Steven Adams is taking over the basketball world while Melo is finally filling his stretch role for Billy Donovan.
Things are trending upward in OKC, and all signs point to that continuing right into the new year.
What was your highlight of the past calendar year?
This poll is closed
Westbrook winning MVP
Acquiring Paul George
The ‘lesser’ signings
current 6 game win streak
other - write in below