Coupled with the stiff resistance that the Thunder offered the Lakers last spring, the coming of age of both of these players bodes well for the immediate and long-range success of the Oklahoma City Thunder ... That leaves Dallas and Oklahoma City as the Lakers' only viable competition.
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: No doubt about it, the Oklahoma City Thunder is on the rise.
The upstart franchise pushed the world champion Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 Western Conference Quarter-Finals. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City’s best players, have represented USA well at the FIBA World Championships.
So the student, the Thunder, is learning. However, they aren’t ready to challenge the master in 2011, the Lakers. After all, the purple and gold has improved, too.
For instance, Andrew Bynum, Kobe Bryant, and Pau Gasol have spent this summer getting healthy; a leaner, meaner Ron Artest will have another year in the triple-post; and Matt Barnes, Steve Blake, and Theo Ratliff will bring consistency to the second-unit.
The Lakers are primed for a three-peat. In 2011, the Thunder won’t be ready to stop them.
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