The Oklahoma City Thunder are preparing to play in their first ever NBA Finals. They have one of the youngest teams in the NBA and possibly the most talented. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re looking at the beginning of a dynasty. I’m talking five championships in the next ten years. That’s right, I’m predicting five championships in the next ten years for the Oklahoma City Thunder; write it down.
To put this in comparison, the Boston Celtics won an incredible nine championships in the 1960’s, the Los Angeles Lakers won five in the 1980’s and then four in the 2000’s, and Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls won six championships in the 1990’s.
The Thunder have the 2012 NBA scoring champion and arguably the best player in the world, Kevin Durant, under contract until 2016. They have Russell Westbrook, one of the most dominant point guards in the game signed until 2013 (then they’ll hopefully re-sign him). They have the 2012 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, James Harden, and his beard locked up until 2014. And, they have the runner up for the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year, Serge Ibaka, until 2014. My prediction of five championships in ten years depends on them keeping these guys for that time, which is possible if perhaps they’re willing to take a bit less money to stay in OKC.
Apart from the core players, the Thunder have Kendrick Perkins, a 6’10” 270 lbs beast, under contract until 2015 and Nick Collison, Cole Aldrich, Thabo Sefolosha, and Eric Maynor, all young contributors off of the bench.
While perennial Championship contenders like the Lakers, Spurs and Celtics are getting older and approaching rebuilding, the Thunder’s stars are all young. Durant and Westbrook are 23 and Harden and Ibaka are 22. So, after ten years, Durant and Wesbrook will be 33, the same age as Kobe Bryant right now. In about five years or so, the Thunder’s competition in the Western Conference will be, without taking into consideration blockbuster trades and free agency acquisitions, a Spurs team without Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli, a Lakers team without Kobe Bryant, and teams like the Clippers, Grizzlies and Mavericks. And in the Eastern Conference, there will be a Celtics team without Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce along with the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat (both legitimate threats to win the Finals).
Things are looking to be in favor of the Oklahoma City Thunder. They’re loaded with young star power just starting to show how good they are, and the perennial powers in the West are aging. Five championships in ten years is a bold prediction, but I’m sticking with it until it either happens, or is mathematically impossible.