2012-13 NBA Division Preview: Northwest Division
1. Oklahoma City Thunder- 47-19 (2011-12)
The Oklahoma City Thunder made a major change to their roster just days before the season started, changing the landscape in the division and conference. The nucleus of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden is no longer intact as Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets in a deal that included Kevin Martin.
Those three stars competed in the Olympics together this summer and they got the sense of what it takes to win the ultimate prize. The Thunder fell to the Miami Heat in five games during the NBA Finals, and the pain that the stars felt when they lost will fuel them this upcoming season. However, with one of their main stars no longer on the team, it will take Durant and Westbrook some time to get adjusted to their new teammates.
Durant will likely be the leading candidate for MVP this upcoming season and he is doing more to be an elite defender. There are questions for him to answer on the offensive end, but if he can become more reliable on defense, Durant will make his case as the best player in the NBA even stronger.
Not many teams can match the Thunders’ explosiveness and the Lakers will have a tough time if they end up facing them in the postseason.
Key Players: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook
Key Additions: Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb
Key Losses: James Harden
Next Page: Denver Nuggets