In a conference call Thursday, TNT's NBA studio analysts — Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal and Kenny Smith — discussed the Thunder's prospects this season:
O'Neal: They have a very exciting team, but in my opinion, I still think they are a little bit too young. Lot of people like to talk about the (Russell) Westbrook situation. Does he shoot too much? What type of point guard is he? I think if everyone can learn their position and learn their roles, I think they can make it pretty deep in the playoffs. But I really do not see them making it to the finals.
Barkley: I think there is so much uncertainty in the West (conference). They are one of the four best teams in the West. ... But you've got to look at their youth and they've got to answer the big elephant in the room thing — the Westbrook thing. It reared its ugly head in the playoffs. People may not be talking about it now, but they are going to address that situation. They are going to have to figure out how they want to play.
Smith: I think this could be their breakthrough year, only because of the shortened season. Most teams are trying to figure out who their top six or seven guys are. They know who they are in OKC.