After Oklahoma City vanquished the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night, Trev and I got emailing to show Simmons and Gladwell how it’s done. We hit a delay late on Thursday, but it was for the best as it gave us the chance to discuss LeBron’s magnificent series-saving Game 6 against the Celtics as well. Buckle in for 6000 words.
Trev Smith: Captain Murphy – we just saw a sea change in the Association last night. The Thunder have officially arrived as we all propheicized they eventually would. Staring at the ruins they left the Spurs in over the last four game, it’s difficult NOT to want to get ahead of ourselves and say this team will own their conference for the next decade. So, while we both have had a well-documented (For example, see here, here, and here) appreciation for Mr. Durant since Jump Street, I know that your repping for him has been more fierce than my own, so I turn the floor over to you to kick off this coronation party.
Blake Murphy: Ahh, but I can’t, my friend. There is no such coronation ceremony to be had, at least for another two weeks or so. We should have learned from the Heat last year that merely the appearance of a championship and/or dynasty is not a guarantee of one to come; the Heat proclaimed multiple championships, and everyone wrote off the Mavericks in the Finals, but here we are two years into their run and they are but a single loss from not even making the Finals, let alone raising a banner. So, as unbelievable as that series was (and it was, in all honesty, the best I can remember as an even semi-coherent pseudo-adult viewer in terms of pure quality of basketball), I’m hesitant to award my Thunder, and specifically my boy KD, anything more than a congratulations and a sincere “thank you.” There are anywhere from 4 to 7 more games to play before the real “party” can get started.
With that said, allow me just two sentences of KD-love-fest fan-boyism…
1) With his defense improving leaps and bounds this year (specifically in terms of IQ, team-D, rotations, etc, though not necessarily man coverage), KD is bordering very close on stealing the crown as The Best Player in the NBA – LBJ may maintain the edge due to his all-world defense, but the gap is narrowing if not gone.
2) Short of James Harden deciding he needs to be The Man, something by all accounts it seems isn’t really in his makeup based on recent press, it’s difficult to envision a Western Conference that isn’t dominated by these Thunder for the next half decade.
So, I ask you, first if I’ve been too skeptical and hesitant in my initial reply, and second if I’ve been too optimistic and homerish in my follow up points?
More after the jump!