Oklahoma City ThunderSun, 08 Feb 2009 07:43
History of Oklahoma City Thunder
Information about NBA team Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Oklahoma City Thunder is a new franchise in the NBA. The team was previously known as the Seattle Supersonics. It was 1967 when the Seattle team was formed. They were able to get to the NBA Finals for two straight seasons in 1978 and 1979, the latter being their sole championship year. During the early years, the Supersonics boasted of star players such as Spencer Haywood, Fred Brown, Jack Sikma, and Dennis Johnson, who had won a Finals MVP trophy. Their coach was the great Lenny Wilkens who has led many teams to success. The Seattle club would continue to blossom up until the 1980s.
In 1989, the Seattle Supersonics drafted Shawn Kemp from Trinity Valley Community College. Kemp was one of the most athletic big men during his time. His skills were not enough to give Seattle a strong hold on the West so they grabbed Gary Payton in next year’s NBA Draft. The combination of Payton and Kemp was known throughout the league. Payton earned a reputation as a good defensive player while Kemp was helping out on points and rebounds. Their team eventually reached the 1996 NBA Finals, where they lost to the Chicago Bulls in six games.
After that successful season, the core group of the Seattle team eventually retired or moved on to other teams. They would then lose Kemp to a trade with the Cavaliers. Gary Payton would also be traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Ray Allen. Yet, the Seattle Supersonics did not lose out heavily as they found new star players in Allen and draft pick Rashard Lewis. In 2007, the Seattle Supersonics had the 2nd overall pick in the NBA Draft which they used to get Kevin Durant. However, it was during that season that Seattle traded Ray Allen to Boston to get Jeff Green, Wally Szczerbiak, and Delonte West. They would also lose Lewis since they traded him to the Orlando Magic.
Moving to Oklahoma City
The team was having financial problems which pushed the management to sell the franchise to Oklahoma City. However, the transition was not very smooth since the Seattle fans did not want to move the team to another city. Various lawsuits were filed and the move was subsequently delayed. Yet, the deal continued and the Seattle Supersonics was eventually ushered into Oklahoma City. The new owners allowed Seattle to keep their club name, records, team colors, and trophies. Thus, if a new ownership decides to rebuild a new team in Seattle, they may once again be called the Supersonics and have their old uniforms back.
The city of Oklahoma was actually prepared to host an NBA team. During the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Hornets have played most of their home games for two seasons at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City. After New Orleans rebuilt their own stadium, the NBA commissioner was favorable in giving Oklahoma City their own franchise. Before the start of the 2008-2009 season, the Oklahoma City Thunder was born. The team color and logo was not yet known during the training camp season. Thus, they played using generic black and white jerseys during their training matches.
Starting in the league
The first official regular season match of the Oklahoma City Thunder was against the Milwaukee Bucks. They lost that match 87-98. In November 2, 2008, the Oklahoma City Thunder got their first win by beating the Minnesota Timberwolves. With their win, the Oklahoma City Thunder had a 1-3 record. However, they had a very disappointing first month as they went 1-13. They would then fire head coach P.J. Carlesimo and replaced him with Scott Brooks. The Oklahoma City Thunder was among the weakest clubs in the Western Conference. They can be found at the bottom part of the standings. This may be due to having players which are still under development.
The 2008-2009 roster is made up of young talents headed by Kevin Durant and Jeff Green. Manning the point position is Earl Watson although they sometimes put Russell Westbrook, their rookie, in the starting job. The shooting guard slot is headlined by Damien Wilkins and he would be substituted by the high-flying Desmond Mason, who won the 2001 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. At the center slot of the Oklahoma City Thunder is Nick Collison from the University of Kansas. He would trade places with Chris Wilcox for the center position. Other important players for the Oklahoma City Thunder include Joe Smith, the former number one draft pick of the Golden State Warriors and Johan Petro from France.
The logo of the Oklahoma City Thunder shows a shield with a basketball. It has been said that the logo’s concept was taken from various styles of the different sports teams in Oklahoma City. They have also selected blue as the primary road game color for their jerseys. The Oklahoma City Thunder also broadcasts its games through the radio. Dubbed the Thunder Radio Network, the station follows each home and away game of the team. The Oklahoma City Thunder also has ties with the Fox Sports Oklahoma network, which will air most of their games on local television.
A short analysis
The Oklahoma City Thunder is still trying to catch their luck as they keep on losing to many other teams. However, they showed signs of brilliance as they have beaten the Toronto Raptors headlined by Chris Bosh, Jermaine O’Neal, and Jose Calderon. The Oklahoma City Thunder was also able to beat the up and coming Memphis Grizzlies. Their first win was also against a very formidable team, the Minnesota Timberwolves. In these games, Kevin Durant shined the most as he helped the team in scoring and rebounding. The Oklahoma City Thunder also had close matches against Atlanta, Phoenix, Dallas, and San Antonio.
The Oklahoma City Thunder had been on various losing streaks in the 2008-2009 season. Their worst was a 14-game skid starting from November 5 up to November 28. Yet, the team is not afraid to match up with the other squads as they continued to play their hearts out even though they lack good players in key spots.
Many analysts have said that the Oklahoma City Thunder is a few players away from becoming a top team in the West. None of their original players are showing signs of standing out from the league. Although Kevin Durant is brilliant with his team, he is unable to cement himself as a tough player. He is able to make shots for himself but he lacks a good supporting cast which could make the Oklahoma City Thunder a deadly team. A trip to the 2009 NBA Draft lottery is inevitable for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Yet, this may be the break that they are looking for. If they get a good player out of the draft, the core group of young talent in the Oklahoma City Thunder roster may become a solid squad.
The fans of the Oklahoma City Thunder still believe in their team, even if they keep on losing. They simply call this phase “growing pains” and it would help the team become better in the future. It would only be a matter of time before the Oklahoma City Thunder cracks the playoffs for the first time.