The Oklahoma City Thunder will give the Golden State Warriors a run for their money, at least as far as backcourt production goes. With the trade for Victor Oladipo and the resigning of Russell Westbrook, the Thunder will have one of the most dynamic PG-SG combos in the NBA. But how good can they be and will they be able to coexist?
Westbrook has had the luxury of playing alongside another Alpha male with Kevin Durant, but for Oladipo this will be different. His time spent with the Orlando Magic was one of great moments but lacking any real substance. Oladipo has NBA talent but how will he handle the pressure? The Thunder were consistent playoff contestants, but this year the pressure will not be as big it was for previous seasons.
Oladipo is a career 16 point scorer. He spent the first three years of his career with the Orlando Magic but he has yet to reach his potential. What has slowed Oladipo down has not been an opponents defense but his opportunities. He has missed the playoffs each of his first three seasons as the Magic were just playing to play the game. In OKC, they play to win and with the chip that Westbrook and the rest of the returning players have, Oladipo must be ready to match their intensity.
For years, since the departure of James Harden, the Thunder have been in search of a player that could counter Westbrook’s athleticism. Could you imagine what the Thunder would look like or have done had they had Oladipo last year or if Durant had come back? The excitement in the OKC is still huge as the fans want to see what the backcourt can do against the likes of Golden State, Chicago, and Portland.
Oladipo will become a 20 point scorer this season, thanks in large part to Westbrook and the way he attacks the rim. If he has a capable scorer beside him he will look for help. For all the backlash he has taken over the years for his reckless play he has still managed to average eight assists per, for his career.
What Durant was able to do for the Thunder, it’s time for Oladipo to do the same.