Tuck: Are The Thunder The Next Sports Dynasty?
Still four wins away from a NBA title, and that would be a first for the city of Oklahoma City, and I am bringing up dynasty?
Well, when your stars are 22, 22, 23, and 23you get the feeling they might be around for awhile, right? ?OKC has an opportunity to start something special this season. ?With home court advantage in the Finals and after knocking out San Antonio with four straight uppercuts, they are favored to win the title this year against Miami or Boston. ?And if they do, they'll be the favorite heading into next season...probably.
That's what makes projecting a dynasty difficult. ?Executing it takes good luck, good timing, and a lot of skill.
With a title this year, the Thunder would be the favorite to win another in 2013, well until the draft or free agency. ?And then honestly, who knows? ?Things change in a heartbeat. ?And often times what happens is out of your control, or in this case, the Thunder's control.
Someone else could get significantly better. ?The Thunder could suffer an injury derailing their run. ?Ask Boston about year number two of the "big 3" when KG was out for the playoffs. ?Or they could just get beat. ?It's not like the Spurs were no match for them. ?Perhaps James Harden misses his big 3-pointer next year.
And here is the biggest thing: there is a salary cap in place that makes it tough to keep talented players.
Kevin Durant had a max deal this year. ?Next year Russell Westbrook will have a max deal. ?The following year, both Serge Ibaka and James Harden will be restricted free agents. ?It doesn't seem possible that they can keep both without some major maneuvering.
It doesn't mean that they can't. ?Or that they won't. ?It just means that next year looks on paper like their last shot as the team that currently exists. ?Even next year may not feature a Derek Fisher, and he's been a big help this post season for them.
To keep winning, your base, your core must be strong, but you have to be willing to part with some good players and replace them adequately enough to stay on top. ?A minor miscalculation and you're done.
The Lakers won back-2-back titles, but got old real quick two seasons ago in getting swept by Dallas. ?Because of some contract decisions and lack of movement to address issues that were already creeping in, they saw the end to their?potential dynasty.
The Thunder look awesome on paper. ?Right now they do. ?But things will change for them, and things are going to change around them.
You ever finish a fantasy football season and say to yourself, "I got it. ?I know just what to do for next year's draft." ?And then the offseason happens. ?Free agency. ?Trades. ?Draft. ?Injuries. ?And everything you thought you knew, you don't know anymore.
That's what this is like. ?OKC is a great bet now. ?And they'll be a great bet next year. ?But things will change. ?They always do. ?Can they keep up with the changes and make the right moves?
I know this much, as long as Kevin Durant is healthy and playing, they'll have a shot.