The Oklahoma City Thunder arguably made the biggest moves in the off-season by acquiring Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. A super team created for the sole purpose to compete with the Golden State Warriors.
On paper a lineup with George, Anthony and the reigning MVP Russell Westbrook looks great. Looks also are deceiving. Finding chemistry takes time and the Thunder got off to a slow start and were 8-12 after 20 games, yet followed that up with a 22-9 record between December and January. Yet, hovered around .500 for the months of February and March and finished the season winning four of five earning the fourth seed in the Western Conference.
Westbrook wound up averaging a triple double for the season and finished with one of his better shooting seasons, George had one of his as well. Anthony on the other hand shot a career worst 40.4 percent and lowest points per game average as well.
During the season Thunder did lost their best defensive player Andre Roberson to injury. Yet, the game six loss highlights the issues facing the franchise. Westbrook took 43 shots to score 46 points, George struggled with his shot going 2-16 and Anthony took seven shots.
It becomes the question how does team respond when one is struggling? Westbrook took it upon himself to try to will the Thunder to victory and it wasn’t enough. Yet, lost in all the talks about those marquee players is that Steven Adams did work. He went 9-11 from the field and grabbed 16 rebounds.
Many also believe that Westbrook stat pads. So when a team has three big names on the roster it becomes less about that one player. It seems that the Thunder didn’t learn this lesson, which is the complete opposite of the Warriors.
A recent example is now there are the rumors of Anthony coming off the bench. He put a stop to that quickly still believing that he is a starter in the league. Whereas Andre Iguodala embraced becoming an integral part of coming off the bench for the Warriors.
In other words to compete with Golden State egos get thrown out the door. That’s how the Warriors do it.
With the Thunder the question remains about whether George will stay. If that’s the case the super team experiment failed. If he stays then will see if egos will get put aside. There’s really no excue for a team with that much talent to need one of their best players to put up 43 shots to keep their season alive.