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Oklahoma City Thunder: Elementary evidence — the team's record and statistical output — says OKC is better

Beyond basic metrics, there is a growing list of concerns that have either long been present or recently crept up.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 14, 2013

A leading reason for reservation, naturally, is the absence of James Harden. The reigning Sixth Man Award winner was shipped to Houston just before the start of the regular season, and in the wake of his departure the Thunder has been left to reconfigure a bench unit that last year was among the best in the business.

Oklahoma City is still searching for a consistent third scoring option while also attempting to solve the season-long mystery that is its bench struggles.

According to a recent survey of readers, 62 percent of more than 700 polled think the Thunder is worse without Harden.

Various other quibbles, such as the lack of a “true” low post scorer, the coach not playing certain players, erratic ball movement and, of course, Derek Fisher's playing time among other things, has only added to the belief that the Thunder would be hard-pressed to knock off Miami in a potential Finals rematch.

Then there's the matter of whether the team's All-Star duo is ready to sprout in this year's postseason and offset any and all flaws, or if the tandem will continue to be handcuffed by their biggest weaknesses. The Thunder, after all, has been plagued at times this season by Kevin Durant's turnovers and Russell Westbrook's tantrums.

Only 17 regular season games remain in this vengeful journey.

Soon, the answer to the only question that matters will be revealed to us.

Exactly what are we to make of this year's Thunder?

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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