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NBA Predictions: 2014 Oklahoma City Thunder Season Betting Preview

Thunder NBA Picks

The Oklahoma City Thunder finished the 2013-14 NBA regular season with 59 wins and the second-best record in the Western Conference behind the San Antonio Spurs. In fact, it’s that same Spurs team that eliminated OKC from the Western Conference Finals in six games during the postseason. Cappers Picks provides free NBA HOOPS handicapping tips all season long.

OKC can find solace in the fact that San Antonio went on to win the championship, but there’s no looking back now, as the 2014-15 NBA betting season is upon us, and the Thunder are once again considered one of the favorites to win the West.

2014-15 Oklahoma City Thunder

Western Conference
2013-14 Record: 59-23 (34-7 @ Home) .720
Thunder Betting Odds to win Title: 6/1
Thunder Betting Odds to win Conference: 3/1

Thunder Key Losses

Thabo Sefolosha – Thabo Sefolosha is out, and while that may not sound like a crucial loss to the casual fan, he’s been a menace on the defensive perimeter for years. Not only that, but he’s done it without commanding shots, meaning he’s been an easy sub to bring in a scoring guard off the bench early. Now, with Sefolosha gone, the team will look to plug in one of those scoring guards into the starting lineup, which will give the starting unit a bit of a different feel than it’s had the past few years.

Thunder Top Newcomers

Anthony Morrow – Truth be told, this group doesn’t have many significant newcomers because it doesn’t need any. That said, Anthony Morrow should slide in nicely as that scoring guard off the bench.

Sebastian Telfair – If Reggie Jackson becomes the new starting 2-guard, that will leave the backup point guard position to Sebastian Telfair.

Telfair has never lived up to the expectations that he set coming out of high school, but a new role on a winning organization could do him some good.

Thunder Top Players

Kevin Durant – You can’t start this conversation without pointing directly to Kevin Durant. Simply put: He’s the MVP for a reason. At this point in his career, Durant is a five-time All-Star, four-time scoring champion, five-time All-NBA First Team member and he even joined the exclusive 50-40-90 club back in 2013. But this topic isn’t about the past; it’s about the future. And the future looks bright for Durant, as he’ll look to gain another scoring title, win another MVP award and get his team back to the finals in 2015.

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Russell Westbrook – As much criticism as Russell Westbrook takes because of his willingness to shoot with Durant on the floor, he’s one of the best point guards in the NBA. His athleticism is unmatched at the position, his killer mentality is unlike most across the league and his ability to facilitate is underrated. Without Westbrook, this team isn’t where it is today, and without Westbrook, this team doesn’t compete for a championship in 2015.

Serge Ibaka – Although most won’t consider Ibaka the third piece in a Big Three for OKC, his impact on defense is crucial for this team’s success. He’s a shot-blocking machine, and he alters shots at the rim all game long.

Thunder Strengths

As long as Durant and Westbrook are on this team, scoring the basketball will never be a problem. Furthermore, as long as Scott Brooks is the coach and as long as the team has a guard off the bench who can shoot, points per game will not be an issue. This team scored 106.2 points per contest in 2013-14, and that number was good enough for fifth in the league.

Rebounding is also a strength, as the team averaged 44.7 rebounds per game last year. That number was good enough for seventh leaguewide, and the reason it’s so high is because the guards get involved at pulling down boards as well.

Thunder Weaknesses

It’s tough to nitpick the Thunder, but ball control is one area where improvement could be necessary. OKC lost the ball 15.3 times per game last season, which ranked them 24th in the league.

Sticking with the theme of control, the Thunder were 28th in fouls per game last season, not to mention dead last in technical fouls. Playing controlled is important when chasing a ring, and the three mentioned categories all apply.

Thunder 2014 Betting Prediction

Expect the Thunder to be a top-three team out West when the year comes to an end. The Northwest Division should be theirs barring another huge leap from the Portland Trail Blazers, and in all likelihood, they’ll be either No. 1 or No. 2 in the conference once the playoffs begin.

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