The Oklahoma City Thunder Are Still Championship-Caliber Without James Harden

12/15/12 in NBA   |   Jnewman482   |   129 respect

Dec 9, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Kevin Martin (23) attempts a shot against the Indiana Pacers during the first half at Chesapeake Energy Arena.  Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY SportsDuring the 2011-12 season, Kevin Martin was Houston’s leading scorer, so he was the main focus of most opponents’ defensive game plans. Because of that, he shot poorly from the field, making just 41.3 percent of his shots.

Now that he is on a team where he is the third option on offense, Kevin Martin is getting open looks and has been connecting on 46.4 percent of his shots. 

It's uncertain if that kind of efficiency will be enough to replace James Harden's ability to create in the halfcourt in the postseason when teams tend to work harder on defense, but one reason to still expect great things from the Thunder in the playoffs is that they still have incredible team speed to go along with their talent.

Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka compose one of the youngest and most athletic trios in the NBA and their ability to cover ground quickly makes life difficult for teams on both ends of the floor.

There is no question that any general manager in the league would rather have James Harden than Kevin Martin, but Sam Presti made a great trade considering the fact that he needed to make a deal, and this Thunder team will be tough to beat in a seven-game series in the playoffs.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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