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Westrbook, Hoodie Melo, Paul George, and Steven Adams. How not to love these Oklahoma City Thunder?

Run OKC Westrbook, Hoodie Melo, Paul George, and Steven Adams. How not to love these Oklahoma City Thunder?

Imagine the pre-match of a Conference Finals game 6. Or even the Finals maybe, if some unrepeatable aligning of the stars allows you to beat Spurs, Rockets, and Warriors. The cameras are at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Paul George arrives, dressed with the usual attention, at ease in front of the cameras. For the sporting tragedy that is seeing Kevin Durant sing for your rivals - that already were stronger than you - Paul George is almost the best thing that can happen to you.

OKC’s stars parade goes on with Steven Adams, unconditioned local hero, adoptive son of Oklahoma. One of the last pure centers left in the league, that stay on the field in high tensioned fourth quarters. The purists of the game should enjoy him, until someday Quentin Tarantino will become aware of his existence and will engage him for one of his movies, removing him from the parquet.

The director of the pre-match studio should already be satisfied, but after Adams here’s Russell Westbrook coming. A fireball dressed with striking colors, that no one saw dressed in the same way twice since his arrival in the league. Coming from a season with an average triple-double and a granted MVP award, the newest highest paid player of all time: $205M for 5 years. In America, we’d say “Believe the hype”.

Now add Carmelo Anthony - in his “Hoodie Melo” version, just like a secret character in NBA 2K18 - to the recipe to make the team unbeatable. According to multiple players, at 33 he’s still one of the deadliest players in iso situations. Here you have the ingredients for the circus that will be the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017/18. Our best wishes, coach Donovan. Our best wishes also because, other than the extraordinary pre-match show - where OKC only competes with the Cavs, as long as the Cavs will have J.R. Smith - there’s also are something called regulations, that consider ten players and one ball to be thrown into the basket. One ball. “One” is different and lesser than “three”.


Steven Adams is not - and neither wants to be - a superstar, he doesn’t want the ball on the offensive side, unless when he’s totally free after one of Westbrook’s 1v5s. He does what it needs to be done, no matter what it is. He’s dive into a continuous improvement, passed from being a rugby player lend to basketball to be a massive player, even with his offensive limits.

Paul George says: “It’s our duty to avoid an internal competition about who is the brightest star”. Very nice. Then, the reporter that asks if Hoodie Melo is “Available to start from the bench?”. The answer, “Who, me?” (it’s a meme already) with a part fake and part nervous laugh. And then, there are the stats. A lot of stats. I only quote one. If you take the isolation possessions percentage of every one of the three in the last season - in the three-team they played for - the result is 100.

Numbers aren’t everything, but they say something. The egos of three players out of an entire team aren’t everything, but they say something. Don’t waste time saying that the Warriors also had to integrate Durant in their record machine and that they did it perfectly. They are out of reach, at least on paper. Because they have a culture, a system that OKC doesn’t even begin to build, that allows you to integrate Durant in Curry, Thompson, Green, and Iguodala’s team, not letting anybody down. Another example could be LeBron, Wade, and Bosh’s Heat, but even for them, it hasn’t been so easy since day one.

If you’re neutral like me, you will already be on the sofa with popcorn, waiting for the first Regular Season game against the Rockets, another team with some potential chemistry problems. If you’re OKC fans, get ready for a year of passion. No matter what.