Saturday, 5 February 2011


Put up your umbrellas, here comes the reign.

By Tim David Harvey

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant takes the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during Game 4 of their NBA Western Conference playoff series in Oklahoma City, April 24, 2010. REUTERS/Bill Waugh (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Take a look for yourself. It's no new news that the weather is getting heavy at the moment. It's been forecasted from last season that the Thunder have weathered the storm of their inaugural year and are now looking as bright as lightening. As Oklahoma City bring more thunder then a Darryl Dawkins highlight reel, things are looking as sweet as chocolate for the freshest NBA franchise. Sure the Thunder are already moving up, but expect them to ascend even further at sonic speed.

Since their expansion from Seattle, the Thunder's growth hasn't been as widely well received as it has in Oklahoma, where the city was given it's first NBA team. Even people outside of Seattle loved the Sonics, but still the powers that be didn't think this city could support an NBA team. With Ray Allen heading for more green, (going to Boston and doing a backwards Fraiser) and the Kemp/Payton days now as far out of view as the sky needle the Sonics days looked as dated as Sega. Still, these days nobody appreciates the classics. The city that birthed grunge music, still had a future with the rock however, as the Seattle Storm of the WNBA showed the Thunder and the NBA that glory days could still reign in the state of Washington.

Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant and Nick Collison (L) sit on the bench in the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City on December 22, 2010. The Knicks defeated the Thunder 112-98. UPI/John Angelillo Photo via Newscom

So as the smoke and the fog cleared, people began to get used to those jerseys and the strangest expansion franchise since the Bobcats. Now what we are left with is a uniformed team that has not only become familiar, but a favourite in the league, in more ways then one. Last year the Thunder-in six games-almost whetted the eventual champion Lakers in the playoffs and this season, they are one place behind them in the Western Conference standings. At 32 and 17, sitting at 0.653, OKC are more than just good for fourth place. They are no middle of the road team. Sure they are 10 games behind the first placed San Antonio, but the Spurs are the leagues best this season. Besides the Thunder are first in their Northwest division and they're multiplying wins are subtracting the Lakers and second place Dallas' hold on them. It won't be long before this teams confidence adds up along with their record. You do the math.

The cities Thunder have removed their cloud of judgement and showered the L with W's, while receiving 'I owe yous' from critics in return. It's time to give respect where respect is deserved and overdue, the Thunder have earned it. Just look at their roster, they have the pedigree for NBA prestige. In terms of contenders, this cities part of the royal family like London, they got an expansion franchise first too. Kevin Durant is the poster boy, tall, dark and with a handsome game. He's lean and a scoring machine too. He's the reigning scoring champ with 30.1 per, so there's even more numbers for this arguments crunch. Sure this kids skinny, but his game has the definition. Plus winning is winning, whether an inch or a mile, whatever the diesel. K.D's speedy to boot, leading this fast five, while being as skillful as the sportsmen in Brazil who use their feet instead of hands. Durant has gone from high school lockers to future hall duties, as his legend continues to evolve like this team. As of right now, however K.D is right there with LeBron and 'Melo, looking up to nobody but God's son, Kobe. M.J. Picked the wrong expansion to own. The forefather of modern day Basketball, has to be proud of how the association is being run these days. Forget like Mike, Kevin is the latest great player 'da kids' want to grow up and become.

Apr. 22, 2010 - Oklahoma City, OKLAHOMA, UNITED STATES - epa02128560 Oklahoma City Thunder player Kevin Durant (R) celebrates with teammate Russell Westbrook (L) after beating the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half of their Western Conference first round playoff game at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA, 22 April 2010. The Oklahoma City Thunder won 101-96.

Oklahoma may start with Kevin Durant, but they don't end with him, there's more to the Thunder then just a few little drops. Take recently named, first time All-Star Russell Westbrook for example. He's far from just another number two, or the zero his jersey reads. Westbrook is one of the leagues leading guards and the NBA is finally getting the point. Russell is so athletic. He doesn't just play like a quarterback, he's built like one and with buckets and dunks to match, this guy will be a highlight this February like Superbowl Sunday. It's not just Green Bay who are packing.

Heralded as a smart guy in college and with the brains for the pros, Oklahoma's number 22, makes these stadium fillers more then a two man show. Not offensive to high scoring and a steal on defence, Jeff Green rounds out this big three, that despite the lack of hype, could match up with Miami or Boston if the stakes where upped. Speaking of the four, the dependable, forward/centre Nick Collison has been around since the Seattle days and helps round out a great starting unit, along with Nenad Krstić. The Serbian postman who is feeling at home in Oklahoma after being delivered from New Jersey.

The Thunders bench is no turbulent spot either. With strength that results in game-winning number, from Royal Ivey, to Eric Maynor, to Morris Peterson, to D.J. White, to Daequan Cook. These pine polishers help Oklahoma shine from the woodwork when their starters begin to get splinters. All in all this Oklahoma team may almost reside in the middle of the West, but they're about to ascend to the top of it and the NBA as a whole. They are more than that team that used to be Seattle or the Phoenix Suns of 2011. They are right with L.A. and Texas' two, top teams in contention, almost like they are the Sacramento Kings of the early new millennium.

The Thunder are rumbling more than their favourite bison. With this spell, things could get more dramatic then those old, Terrence Howard, playoff commercials. Sure with the WNBA's Storm in Seattle you can expect great, but with the Thunder in the NBA you can expect an upset this year. That will be tears you see, not rain pouring down, as the heavens of great basketball open up the floor. The Thunder have already made their city proud and now the rest of the United States are watching, even Seattle. Oklahoma have already made a name for themselves in the league but it won't be long before their names are engraved in some serious hardware. Sure it's still a real shame this squad couldn't do this in Seattle (no offence OKC town), but the forecast has changed and is still precipitating. People are talking about the weather in Oklahoma and it's going to be thunder all year round.

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