The only sport where jinxes apply for me is baseball. I always jumped over the foul line, wore my socks high, even had underwear reserved specifically for game days. But who didn’t, right?
Saying that makes me unafraid to say that I’m looking forward to the NBA playoffs like never before, because I’m anxious to attend the NBA Finals for the first time.
Of course a couple of things have to fall into place for that to happen.
A.) The Thunder need to make it there.
B.) My sports director has to let me go over him.
My fingers are crossed nonetheless. But how white-knuckled do Thunder fans need to be this year? I’m thinking they be confident, but don’t over do it. Maybe a mid-90’s Chicago Bulls swagger is overshooting it a bit.
Still, you’ll have to look far and wide to find any arguments that this Thunder team “isn’t” better than last year’s that lost in the Conference Finals.
It starts with the MVP frontrunner Kevin Durant. Last year’s scoring champ was asked after being eliminated by the Mavs what he can do to be better in the coming year. KD spoke about being a bigger presence in the post, and making his game even more team-oriented.
He’s stayed true to his word.
Case in point, while the scoring average has stayed about the same Durant is shooting at a higher percentage (50.3% to 46.2%), dishing out more assists (3.5 APG to 2.7 APG), and pulling down more boards (7.9 RPG to 6.8 RPG).
Durant’s sacrificing some of his scoring, in order to keep his other teammates involved.
The consummate move of a team player, and the consummate move of a franchise player. Truth be told, Durant’s really one of several reasons to keep an eye on these Thunder when the playoff’s start April 28th and I'll save that for a later blog.
For me the biggest question is the improbability that OKC could be a site where championship banner hangs. Could this “mid-market” team really knock off a big city power like San Antonio, L.A., or Dallas? I can’t remember the last time a team this young and talented was playing .700 ball outside of top ten market. Can you?