In a conference call Wednesday ESPN NBA analysts Hubie Brown, a former NBA coach, and Jon Barry, a former NBA player, rated the Thunder's chances of winning the Western Conference:
Jon Barry: I think San Antonio and Oklahoma City rank 1 and 1A. The Lakers would be the only other team that I would give a chance to come out of the West. My only concern with Oklahoma City is the turnovers. I believe the benchmark is about 17. I think when they turn it over less than 17, something like 32-5. When they turn it over more than 17, they're like 15-11. It's a big disparity in their turnover game. They're a one-on-one team with very little low-post scoring, which does present a little bit of a problem for me to get easy baskets. (Russell) Westbrook has not played well of late. Hopefully that's not a sign going into the playoffs. He's really struggled with his shot. I think if Derek Fisher can give them some great minutes and move Westbrook to the two (spot), I think that's when they're at their best and they can play small, play (James) Harden, (Kevin) Durant, Westbrook, Fisher and any one of the bigs that you want, I think that's a very, very dangerous lineup, particularly against most of the teams that they're going to play they're not going to have to worry about the bigs. They certainly have a great opportunity to come out of the West.
Hubie Brown: In my opinion its San Antonio and then it's Oklahoma City, who should be one-two or two-one depending on how you interpret their style of play. Then to me there is a drop-off. I think that when they were on the road, they went into all of the major buildings in the East. They did a terrific job there. I don't know, I did not do any of the San Antonio games during the course of the season, but we all know that in that matchup, you throw that out now, because of the fact that we're going to have a day in between games for rest. Also, always remember now that throw out what teams did during the year against one another, because if I play a guy 32 minutes, 33 minutes during the year, for me, and he's one of my three stars, he's going to play anywhere from 38 to 44 minutes during these games. Bench people will get less time. So there are a lot of variables that go in. But they're definitely right at the top of the mix.