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Are the Thunder a fun team to watch?

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We want OKC to compete, but do we want them to be an enjoyable team to watch as well?

NBA: Orlando Magic at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

We love watching the Thunder compete, but are they, objectively, a ‘fun’ team to watch?

Sports Illustrated recently released an article focused not on ranking teams according to who is going to dominant the league, but who is the most entertaining. There are always multiple ways to look at teams and rank them. Who had the best defense, offense, three-ball, and of coarse who IS the best. And we’re not talking about practice (TM - Allen Iverson) because the all-time most entertaining practices are still reserved for the 1992 Dream team.

SI ranked OKC at #10, which is a pleasant surprise after the challenges of their offense last year.

The further the Thunder progress in the post-Kevin Durant era, the clearer it becomes that their shot at winning a title departed on July 4, 2016. Acknowledging that fact makes for a more enjoyable experience. Russell Westbrook’s magnificent anarchy is simply more fun when one isn’t obsessing over whether it correlates to high-level team performance.

At first SI throws a jab at the Thunder with the unlikeliness of them winning a title with the departure of KD. They then drop the focus of them winning to putting all the enjoyment factor on Westbrook’s playing style. But we do believe that they will be more than a high flying anarchy of Westbrook highlights, their composition this year offers far more, making this Thunder team extremely compelling.

Two other familiar faces to this list are the Lakers and 76ers. The 76ers are an interesting ‘fun’ choice, given their sudden rise from last year. The combo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid is entertaining, but will their season be more defined by the pressure to finally win?

As for the Lakers, it seems strange to see them in there given they aren’t title contenders, but oh yeah this isn’t a ranking of best teams! Yes, yes we know why they are ranked so highly and it’s not just because they in Hollywood.

The Celtics, Rockets, and Warriors were the expected ones and its arguable as to what the order is correct. The Warriors are a known quantity and the Celtics are fun in an entirely different way, but the Rockets? Well Houston, Carmelo Anthony is yours to keep, you deal with him now and see how fun things are.

As for the bottom half rankings, I felt a little uneasy with how many bad teams there were but once again I reminded myself that this isn’t the ranking that sets the best from the worst (sorry 76ers and Lakers).

I was surprised that the Timberwolves with all that youth and potential were ranked at #22 but “dysfunction” can kill everything, and they are rolling in it right now with the Jimmy Butler situation. Also, the Hornets don’t fare to well either. You would think that Michael Jordan himself would know how to put some life into a team because at least fans can show up to see MJ, but the new generation of fans may not fully understand or even remember his history. Lastly I wanted to see the Spurs a little higher because they are the Spurs franchise. Unfortunately this year includes the loss of Kawhi Leonard and acquisition of DeMar DeRozan, which now ends just about every remnant of the dynasty greats and may cause people to forget the good and entertaining years, linking them back to the so called “boring team” years.

Ultimately, entertaining teams make an entertaining league, which causes a plethora of articles all over the internet from people like you and me who love to talk about it. And clearly, the NBA has figured out how to leverage both their stars and the personality of players to make it engaging and fun, which all drives up ratings.

I leave you with a question, do we love the NBA because of the success of teams during the regular season and competition come playoff time, or do we love it because of the entertaining game flow even if it doesn’t translate into the most wins? For me I would say it’s a little of both.


Do you think the Thunder are a fun team to watch?

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