Thunder is on the rise, at least that's what national writers and broadcasters think

By DARNELL MAYBERRY and MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writers Modified: October 5, 2009 at 1:34 pm •  Published: October 4, 2009
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One media member is penciling in the Thunder to have a 19-game improvement and fall just short of the postseason. Another writer thinks Oklahoma City is in for such a long season Kevin Durant may need therapy.

That’s the high and low ends of how national experts think the Thunder will fare this season. Most observers project the Thunder to fall somewhere in the middle, with the win total in 2009-10 coming in somewhere between 30 and 39 victories, according to a survey of 15 NBA writers and broadcasters conducted by The Oklahoman for this year’s most improved team and player.

Oklahoma City’s rebuilding efforts have drawn rave reviews. But the Los Angeles Clippers, with six votes, are this panel’s favorite for most improved team.

"Yes, Blake Griffin is that good,” said Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel.

He’s not, however, expecting much improvement in the Thunder.

"The Thunder — sorry folks — will win just 26 games, a three-game improvement,” Schmitz said. "Kevin Durant may need therapy.”

Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports sees Durant as a potential All-Star this season and a player who, along with an improving Russell Westbrook, could have Oklahoma City flirting with the playoffs.

"With Durant and Westbrook leading the way, the Thunder should be about to win 42 games with most of the wins coming at home,” Spears said.


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