Main Event: Where will the Thunder be when it grows up?

Darnell Mayberry takes a look at the future of the Thunder's kiddie corps
By Darnell Mayberry Staff Writer Published: February 21, 2011
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photo - Clockwise from top left; Thabo Sefolosha, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Jeff Green, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka.
Photos by Chris Landsberger; Photo illustration by Matt Clayton, The Oklahoman
Clockwise from top left; Thabo Sefolosha, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Jeff Green, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. Photos by Chris Landsberger; Photo illustration by Matt Clayton, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti has been as consistent as they come since the franchise came to town in 2008.

One of his most reliable refrains has been about his young roster. Presti maintains that the organization still isn't quite sure of the extent of its team's talent. The players, Presti says, “have yet to reveal themselves.”

And you could understand that sentiment when you consider that 10 players on this year's 15-man roster are 24 or younger.

By all accounts, the future is bright for the Thunder. But what exactly the Thunder players will be when they “grow up” remains a mystery. A more pressing question is how much growth can be gained in time for a playoff run this season?

Ask anyone throughout the league, though, and they'll tell you the Thunder is on the right track and the right train.

“Oklahoma City's tough,” said Atlanta guard Joe Johnson. “I think they got a complete team. They're a great team and a team you definitely have to look out for. They got so much talent. They're going to be unbelievable.”

The franchise's foundation starts with forward Kevin Durant, a two-time All-Star and impeding back-to-back scoring champ who is still just 22. Russell Westbrook, also only 22, made his first All-Star Game this season and is widely considered a top five point guard. Durant and Westbrook form the league's second highest scoring duo at 51.1 points per game, just 0.4 point shy of Miami's LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

But with Serge Ibaka, Jeff Green, James Harden, Eric Maynor and two center prospects, Cole Aldrich and Byron Mullens also in the mix, the Thunder could have something special brewing.

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