This is only Year Two of the Thunder, and already we’re spoiled. Not spoiled like the Celtics or the Lakers, but undeniably spoiled given our time investment.
Most new franchises wait several years to have their first all-star selection. We went without for just one year. Those same franchises might wait even longer to make the playoffs. Depending on what transpires the final two months of this season, we might be shut out only one season. The Thunder (30-21) has won six straight and is nine games over .500 for the first time since the 2004-05 season in Seattle. That makes this either a lousy time for the NBA All-Star break, or the perfect time. Lousy because you’re hot and want to keep playing. Perfect because you have a full week to take a breather and bask in the glow. The Thunder is on such a good roll right now, it wins even on off-days. The franchise chalked up two more wins on an idle Wednesday with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook being named to the 2010-12 USA Basketball men’s national team. Durant’s selection was obvious. The folks at USA Basketball, much like people everywhere, have been bragging about the 21-year-old Durant since he was 17. Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski said he considers Durant one of the top 10 players in the NBA. Westbrook’s selection adds to an intriguing mix of candidates at point guard. Denver’s Chauncey Billups will be almost 36 when the 2012 Olympics Games are held in London. New Orleans’ Chris Paul is fresh off knee surgery. Utah’s Deron Williams and Chicago’s Derrick Rose are immensely talented, but Westbrook’s upside could be through the roof by the time the next Summer Games are staged. Krzyzewski spoke of Westbrook’s ridiculous athleticism during a national teleconference call Wednesday and anxiously awaits his continued development. Team USA won’t be selected until next summer, but the Thunder might have two Olympians on its roster. Durant, Westbrook, Jeff Green, Eric Maynor, Nick Collison, Kyle Weaver, D.J.