Russell Westbrook has returned, the young guys have developed and Kevin Durant is playing brilliant basketball.
It was a good first month for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the recently updated Las Vegas odds reflect it.
At 5-2, the Thunder currently has the best odds to win the Western Conference, right ahead of the San Antonio Spurs (11-4).
Other notable numbers from Bovada:
*Durant, at 4-1, currently has the second-best odds to win the MVP. LeBron James is first with 4-5 odds. Westbrook is tied for 10th, with 40-1 odds.
*Steven Adams, at 16-1, has the fifth-best odds to win Rookie of the Year in a class that's clearly void of many immediate difference-makers. Philadelphia's Michael Carter-Williams is first.
*The Thunder, at 6-1, has the third-best odds at winning the NBA title, trailing the Miami Heat (2-1) and Indiana Pacers (4-1).
DURANT GLAD THE KINGS REMAINED IN SACRAMENTO
From afar, Durant was like everyone else last season, following the ongoing saga in Sacramento as the city tried — and eventually succeeded — to keep its NBA team from leaving for Seattle.
But with his knowledge of the league and connection to the Emerald City, it put him in a strange spot, rooting for and against both sides.
“It's almost like a lose-lose situation because you want to see Seattle get a team, but you don't want to see Sacramento lose theirs,” Durant said at the Thunder's shootaround in Sacramento on Tuesday.
Having spent his rookie year there, Durant loves Seattle, routinely making it a point to go back and visit in the offseason. And more than once, he's voiced his opinion that the city deserves a team.
But having once been in the middle of a franchise's unceremonious exit, Durant said he'd hate to see it happen in a city with only one professional team.
“Sacramento has been here for so long,” Durant said. “And I know, man, I've been a part of it. When a team is here for so long and just gets up and moves, it's devastating for the city, for the fans.
“Hopefully Seattle gets a team here soon. But here in Sacramento, they needed a basketball team.”
ROBERSON ASSIGNED TO TULSA
With five of its next six games on the road, the Thunder assigned forward Andre Roberson to the Tulsa 66ers of the D-League on Tuesday morning.
The move — which OKC has commonly used with its young and out-of-the-rotation players the past few years — allows Roberson to get needed practice and game time that would have been sparse with the Thunder.
“He's a guy that we love, we love what he brings to our team,” coach Scott Brooks said. “He has to continue to improve. This gives him an opportunity.”
DURANT WINS PLAYER OF THE MONTH
One day after capturing the NBA's Player of the Week award, aided by his historic performance on Sunday, Durant has been named the Western Conference's Player of the Month.
In November, Durant averaged 26.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists. Indiana forward Paul George won it for the Eastern Conference.
The Thunder was set to leave immediately after Tuesday's game for Portland to complete its second back-to-back of the season on Wednesday night against the surging Blazers (15-3). Coming off an impressive win against the Pacers on Monday, Portland is 7-1 at home.