Well, that sure was… a Thunder season. Despite recovering from The Great Betrayal of 2016 by picking up two All-Star players in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, they still managed to finish their season on the precipice of elimination. Not only did they lose so many easy games against rinky-dink teams that it jeopardized their postseason, but they finished 48-34- only 1 game better than last year, when the team had a massive talent void and was struggling to find an identity other than “Russell Westbrook does everything.”
Now, we can take a deep breath, and pray that the playoff rendition of this team lives up to its potential. The Thunder is 6-3 vs the three best teams in the league (Warriors, Rockets, and Raptors), which is the best in the NBA. They also got swept by the Portland Trailblazers, who are the last team that the Thunder want to see in the playoffs.
Anyways, here’s our TLO season awards to recognize the Good, the Bad, and the Fugly from this weird season of basketball:
The 5 Best Russell Westbrook Outfits
Because it’s too hard to pick just one, here are the five best from this season:
The Tyler Durden
GET OFF MY LAWN!
Guy Talking About Coachella in the Plaza District
Uber Driver Who Plays 90’s R&B In His Beige Lexus
Least Likely to Return Next Season: Paul George
This is the most heartbreaking one for me to write. Paul George has been one of my favorite players for a long time. That Eastern Conference Finals run against the Heat in 2014 was so fun to watch. After that, Roy Hibbert’s bones melted, Lance Stephenson evolved into his final form as more of a troll than a player, and the team fell apart.
When KD left, I prayed to whoever that would listen (Twitter and my patient friends at the bar who don’t really like basketball) that either PG or Jimmy Butler would fill all of the Thunder’s gaps. The team nabbed him for the last year of his contract, and he’s helped out incredibly on both ends of the court.
Despite how much me and Russ and everyone else other than the worst 2% of Twitter wants him to stay, don’t count on PG-13 inking a deal with the Thunder this summer. He’ll be joining LeBron on the Lakers or whatever.
Most Likely to Look Like a Trump Son: Kyle Singler
We’ve given Singler enough grief- everything from his contract size to the fact that he may work at a gas station. But this is an egregious offense that hasn’t been laid on him yet. Am I wrong? You decide.
Most Improved Player: Victor Oladipo
Here’s another one that hurts to talk about. Yeah, he doesn’t play for the Thunder anymore. He swapped places with Paul George in Indiana and has been CRUSHING IT this year. Let’s look at this year’s points/assists/rebounds versus last year when he was in OKC:
23/4/5 vs 15/3/4
Realistically, his crazy improvements have most to do with him being the lead guy on his team, as opposed to playing second banana. That’s also probably why James Harden has been able to flourish and is very likely to win an MVP this season. But still, it sucks to ditch a guy and watch him explode like this.
Steven Adams “Kick To The Nuts” Award: Bradley Beal
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 26, 2018
Best Brian Davis Nickname: “Little General” (Ray Felton)
I have no idea where this nickname came from, but I’m assuming it’s one of those weird things that Brian Davis just started screaming during broadcasts, like “RATTLESNAKE JAM!” Ray is 6’1″, which I guess is short for a shooting guard, but it’s still a weird and kinda demeaning nickname.
Worst Brian Davis Catch Phrase: “Si Señor”
We get it. He’s from Spain. You don’t need to say that every time he hits a Matt Pinto “Moneyball!”
Nick Collison +/- Memorial Trophy: Dakari Johnson
Last night, during what could perhaps be his final regular season game, the crowd chanted for Nick Collison to take the floor when the team had a big league. When he still got minutes, he was considered the team’s “plus-minus” guy- the player who, while maybe not putting up sexy numbers, ends up helping the team on both sides of the court while he’s in play.
This season, the guy who seems to have the biggest +/- advantage when his minutes are considered is the team’s back-up center, Daraki Johnson. While he only averages about 5 minutes per game, he’s got a +/- rating of +36. In comparison, Patrick Patterson plays about 15 minutes per game and is considered a -84.