The Oklahoma City Thunder have made the playoffs every year since 2010. In the past 4 years, they have made the conference finals 3 times, and the NBA finals once in 2012. If someone had told me in the beginning of the year, the Thunder were to be struggling for the 8th spot in the west, I’d laugh. This team is one of the best in the NBA, but has been plagued by injuries. Their star player, Kevin Durant, has been out almost all year and was set to return this week. It was just announced that he will be out for the rest of the year. Russell Westbrook has missed a large chunk of the season due to injury. Serge Ibaka, the Thunder’s defensive anchor, got hurt last week and is out for the rest of the year. Their biggest defender, Kendrick Perkins, has been traded away. All that’s left of the Thunder’s core is the electric Russell Westbrook. Can they still make the playoffs? Absolutely.
Although the Thunder have lost most of their core, Russell Westbrook has been playing like the best player in basketball as of late. He has been absolutely insane, and no one will stop him from making the playoffs. In 2006, the Lakers had one of the worst teams in history, but had a young, insanely competitive Kobe Bryant, and they almost upset the 1st seeded Phoenix Suns. Kobe Bryant has stated that the only player he sees who was as competitive and aggressive as he was is Russell Westbrook. Even without its main core, the team Westbrook has is much better than the team Kobe had, and I feel he will push the Thunder to that 8th spot.