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OKC Thunder: No moves, no problem for Thunder

Don't be surprised if the prevailing perception falls short of reality when the games begin.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: August 18, 2013

There's this perception floating around the NBA.

It's colored the offseason narrative being pumped out by mass media and infiltrated the minds of fans near and far.

The Oklahoma City Thunder, many have decided, has taken a step back.

The Western Conference, according to some, has caught up.

A relatively quiet summer by the Thunder has led many to come to these conclusions.

Oklahoma City let sixth man Kevin Martin walk in free agency and didn't splurge on any splashy free agent signings to replace him. The Thunder also selected four largely unknown commodities in the NBA draft, none of whom figure to be rotational players next season.

But don't be surprised if the prevailing perception falls short of reality when the games begin.

Lost in this summer's extolling of other teams' activity is this simple but significant truth: most every Western Conference playoff contender that added a major player lost a major player.

Dallas, for instance, added Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis and DeJuan Blair but lost Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo and Elton Brand. Golden State welcomed Andre Iguodala and Jermaine O'Neal but said goodbye to Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry. The Los Angeles Clippers brought in the aforementioned Collison, J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley but watched Eric Bledsoe, Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler take a hike.

Houston, with the addition of Dwight Howard, is the only Western Conference playoff contender that escaped this negligible, at best, net gain.

But because Oklahoma City didn't reel in Mike Miller or Dorell Wright or whoever else to replace Martin, the Thunder, on paper, appears to be worse. Of course, this logic fails to consider OKC's in-house replacements, rising star Reggie Jackson and sharpshooter Jeremy Lamb. Both have been recognized as possible Sixth Man Award candidates next season, and, together, the two should be more than capable of supplying what Martin provided last season — if not more.

Additionally, to overlook the Thunder this season is to overlook history. This is a league that has proved time and time again that teams simply can't throw talent together and expect great results immediately. Just ask the 2011 Heat, or the 2012 and 2013 Knicks, or the 2013 Lakers, or the 2013 Nets.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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