Op-Ed: OKC Will Win 2018 NBA Championship

Becoming an NBA Champion was Kevin Durant’s goal when he left Oklahoma City, but the team that he left may be the last one standing at the end of the 2017-2018 season.

We are well underway into what appears to be another exciting NBA season. With 10 games into the season, the NBA has lived up to the hype created in the offseason through trades, free agents signings, and a talented rookie class.

However, the biggest question this year is similar to the question everyone was asking last year: is there any team that will be able to dethrone the unstoppable Golden State Warriors? Most if not all the moves made in the offseason were steps taken to answer that question. For example, Chris Paul decided to leave the Los Angeles Clippers by requesting a trade to the Houston Rockets. Also, Gordon Hayward, who unfortunately suffered a gruesome season-ending injury, left the Utah Jazz and signed with the Boston Celtics

Now, the next question to ask is: which team actually won the offseason? I won’t go around in circles to give you this answer because it’s clear who the winner is: the Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC).

                              Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, & Russell Westbrook

Up until last season, Russell Westbrook, the illustrious point guard for OKC, played his entire NBA career with former OKC ally turned enemy Kevin Durant – now an NBA finals champion after his first season with the Warriors. Even without a star playmaker like Durant, the Thunder still made the playoffs as the 6th seed, and Westbrook took home the MVP award for the regular season. Now, take that same team who was 6th in the Western Conference and has the reigning league MVP, add two all-star players in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony and what you get is a championship winning combination. We have already seen what they can do together. Of course, they have made silly mistakes and have lost games that they should have won, but it is still early in the season and they are showing signs of being a real contender against the Warriors.

The Thunder was able to get Paul George by trading two key pieces: Victor Oladipo, and Domantas Sabonis. Some people – Kevin Durant for instance – believe that Paul George’s former team, the Indiana Pacers, didn’t get much back in return after trading George. However, what people don’t know is that Victor Oladipo is a monster on the court – in a good way. While the former Indiana University star was at OKC, he had to play with the league MVP, meaning that he didn’t have the freedom to call the shots. Now he is on a team that is desperate for a star, but more importantly, he desperately wants to become a star. I predict that he will be an All-Star this year.

On the other side of the league, we see a Boston Celtics team that has a completely new look from last season. This is in large part due to the acquisition of Kyrie Irving. For all the people criticizing Irving for requesting a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers, one should realize and remember that Irving has always been the top guy on any team he played for. He came out of high school as the top point guard in the country, in played for Duke University, played a few games before getting injured, and still went on to become the #1 pick in the 2011 NBA draft. He then spent three years being the leader of the Cavaliers until LeBron returned. He has what it takes to lead a team, and to be one of the greatest of all time, but he couldn’t accomplish this living under LeBron’s shadow. It is already clear that the Celtics are going to be a great team. This is based off the incredible 8-2 start that they have had.

                                                        Kyrie Irving

                                                        Kyrie Irving

There is so much more to talk about in the NBA, but I would have to write a book to cover everything. One thing for certain is that this season may be one of the greatest seasons in the history of the NBA. Records are going to be broken, players who we haven’t paid much attention to are going to shine, and the teams that look like they’re going to fall short, may just win it all.

Kevin Steele