The Thunder are stacked for 2015-2016
By Addam Francisco
The Thunder are back to being an elite team like they were in 2012 again. Well, from the outside looking in. Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant are fully cleared and healthy, along with the rest of the team. Thats something that we couldn't say last year, pretty much at any point in the season. There seemed to be something wrong with somebody from day one.
*“He saw his surgeon,” said Presti regarding Serge Ibaka’s status. “He’s had regular check-ups with his surgeon. The surgeon has continued to feel very confident and encourage him to continue to move and play. He’s fully cleared.”*
Not only is Serge healthy, but in a press conference Wednesday, Presti ranted and raved about Serge’s growth over this off-season, stating that he thinks Serge has improved the most in his overall game. As a fan, I love the sound of that. Personally, I was a little frustrated with Serge last season when it seemed like he went from a premier post player to another big man that seemingly wanted to shoot mid and long-range shots all the time and I didn't understand why, with him being one of the strongest players in the NBA. His stats were still good and I am glad that he developed an outside game but I wish he would incorporate both aspects of his game into one. That will put him in the top of the league, at least in his position. With Serge being an inside and outside threat, and a threat defensively along with Enes Kanter, being an immediate threat in the post offensively, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook remaining who they are, and players like Dion Waiters, Anthony Morrow, Mitch McGary, Steven Adams, and Nick Collison, along with rookie Cam Payne being the supporting cast, this team is stacked and very dangerous, probably a better roster than in 2012.
Of course, with this being KD’s contract year, everyones so preoccupied with keeping him. The only thing that needs to be worried about is winning a championship. The Western Conference is stronger than its been, possibly in the NBA’s long history and we aren't even the favorites to come out of the West this year, even with the former MVP, reigning scoring champ, and a total of three olympians on one team. I think thats alarming, but its also a good challenge for our guys and with Russell being the competitor that he is this is right up his alley.
*"Serge has felt some discomfort at times," Presti said, "but he's fully cleared now. Some discomfort is to be expected during the rehab process. He says he feels really good right now and he looks great. Serge may have had the best summer of any of our players.”*
Presti and the players seem to love new head coach Billy Donovan as well. He’s earned a lot of respect in these first few months as the OKC’s new head coach after he replaced former head coach Scott Brooks following the 2014-2015 season after they didn't make the playoffs by one game to the New Orleans Pelicans. Hopefully Donovan is a better situational coach (which I think he is) and a better when it comes to being more aggressive in his coaching style, like he was at the university of Florida. I think that players like Westbrook, Durant and Waiters will perform better under than kind of coach.