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2010-2011 NBA Predictions: Oklahoma City Thunder

Last season, the Oklahoma City Thunder finished with a 50-32 record and lost in six games to the eventual champion Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. Vegas is optimistic about the team’s chances to advance further in 2010-2011, giving them 4/1 odds to win the Western Conference and 14/1 to win the team’s first championship.

Oklahoma City is a young team, with ten players under the age of 25, and their young legs should be fresh throughout the season. They have started off rather slow in 2010 with a 3-2 record through five games. The Thunder have two legitimate stars in PF Kevin Durant (26.4 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game) and PG Russell Westbrook (22.2 PPG, 7 RPG, 6.6 assists per game). Jeff Green is a workhorse at forward, averaging 40.8 minutes per game, and is a good third scoring option (19.4 PPG). First-year player Serge Ibaka, out of Zaire, is averaging 11 points per game at power forward.

The Thunder hit the boards hard and they tend to play Durant, Westbrook, and Green heavy minutes per game. They do not possess a deep bench, going just seven deep, throw-up a lot of shots on not too many assists.

Oklahoma City has a strong upside with players such as Durant and Westbrook just scratching the surface of their potential (Durant would be a senior in college this season). Can they unseat the Lakers? A win in the first round of the playoffs would be a good stepping stone.

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