For the sake of argument, let’s say the Thunder goes 24-58 this season. Two years ago, that was the record of the Boston Celtics. The following season, they finished as NBA champions. The world champs were in the Ford Center on Wednesday night and disposed of the Thunder 96-83 before a sellout crowd of 19,136, thanks primarily to a 49-26 differential in the second and third quarters. Back to the issue at hand. The Celtics finished 66-16 last season en route to their first world title since 1986. Their 42-game improvement was the greatest one-year turnaround in NBA history. If Boston could do it, why couldn’t the Thunder? The Thunder has plenty of wiggle room to lure talent, with a projected $32.5 million in salary cap space and two first-round selections in the 2009 draft. How about using that to acquire two future hall of famers, and place one on each side of Kevin Durant? Is it crazy to think this way? "I think it is,” Thunder coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "That normally doesn’t happen. Very few teams pick up one of those (type) players. To pick up two in the same year is unheard of.” On June 28, 2007, the Celtics obtained Ray Allen from the Seattle SuperSonics in a draft-day trade. On July 31, 2007, Kevin Garnett came to Boston from Minnesota in exchange for Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair and two future first-round draft choices. Everyone figured the Celtics would be better — much better. What they were, was great. "I don’t think it’s realistic for anybody to make that kind of jump,” Carlesimo said. "I knew they’d be good, but I didn’t think they’d be as good as they were. They didn’t do it with mirrors. They did it convincingly. Anybody who says they weren’t the best team in the league last year is crazy. "I don’t know if they dreamed it could come together that quickly, but it did.” This was the perfect storm. You had three perennial All-Stars side-by-side, none of which had a championship ring, and each hell-bent on doing whatever it took to get one. Paul Pierce had been in Boston for nine seasons before the trade and has put up monster numbers. Pierce and Garnett are headed into the Hall of Fame, and Allen is a likely selection as the game’s second-most prolific 3-point shooter in history (behind Reggie Miller). "They absolutely bought into what (coach) Doc (Rivers) asked them to do, and it paid off,” Carlesimo said. According to Allen, Rivers didn’t have to say anything. "It was unspoken,” Allen said. "We didn’t have to talk about it. We knew what was at stake. There are a lot of teams in the history of the league that have been assembled with all-star, hall-of-fame caliber players that haven’t won. For us, it wasn’t about what we did in the past. It was about what we wanted to do now and for the future.” Carlesimo stressed there is more to the Celtics than three unselfish amigos. "They’ve got some other good pieces out there,” Carlesimo said of Rajon Rondo, Sam Cassell, Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis, Eddie House, Leon Powe, et al. "They were that good defensively, that good offensively and extremely unselfish. They deserved to win. "It was a good story. I think a lot of people felt good for them because of the way they performed.” John Rohde: 475-3099. John Rohde can be heard Monday-Friday from 9-11 a.m. on New JOX 930 (AM).