I want you to look at the roster of the 2011-2012 Oklahoma City Thunder:
You know what I see?
3 first ballot Hall of Famers
Durant, Harden, and Westbrook
A Borderline Hall of Famer
3-Time Defensive Team All-Star & NBA Champion
NBA Champion & Bad MoFo
That team lost in the NBA Finals in 2012. It should have been the first of multiple trips to the Finals, it ended up being their only trip.
What did they win in Oklahoma after 2012? Crap. Instead of acknowledging rightful anger from Oklahoma City fans that their best player went on to win multiple Championships in Oakland, pundits from L.A. and New York continued to beat the drum that Oklahoma City should have been grateful to make it to one NBA Championship Game.
With nearly all of the big free agents in the latest free agency cycle ending up L.A. and New York, NBA writers said that small market teams need to get better at the draft. You mean better at the draft, grow a player, invest in a player, and then watch him walk in free agency to build his brand?
(I'm looking at you Kevin Durant.)
If it wasn't about branding, if it was just about winning, players would be swarming to the Milwaukee Bucks right now. I'm calling my shot today. In 2020 the Milwaukee Bucks will either lose in the NBA Finals or in the Eastern Conference Finals, (if Giannis Antetokounmpo stays healthy.) Then next summer no top players will make their way to Milwaukee. The Bucks will then be the equivalent of the 2011-2012 Thunder.
The question will become what will Giannis Antetokounmpo do? If you hear the words "Antetokounmpo Brand," you will know that Milwaukee will be in trouble.
Why the continued surly tone, specifically today? The last remnants of that historically great, and young, Thunder Team was traded for, you guessed it, more draft picks and an aging, broken down Chris Paul (who Oklahoma City is rumored to be trying to flip in yet another trade right this very second).
Could you imagine an NBA Championship game of the Houston Rockets (Harden & Westbrook) versus the Brooklyn Nets (Durant) in 2 years? It could quite possibly happen. What does Oklahoma get in return? 15 first round draft picks in the next 7 years. How many of those players will want to stay in Oklahoma City after their Rookie Contracts?
And I haven't even mentioned the Paul George Saga yet....
You know what? Every time I write about the NBA, I inadvertently feed into their hype machine. Instead of watching the NBA, you should be watching something more uplifting and wholesome...
like Slipknot Videos.
Oh, I'm going to stop here for today, because I'm way too angry for someone who doesn't live in Oklahoma. I'm already working on my next article, tentatively titled Let's Punch the NBA in the Mouth.