“Believe you can and you're halfway there.” - Theodore Roosevelt
An irrepressible, trust-busting, 42-year-old Rough Rider took office upon the assassination of William McKinley. Believing in a policy of walking softly and carrying a big stick, President Theodore Roosevelt issued a corollary to the Monroe Doctrine intended to exercise international policy power whenever necessary. The world was officially on notice.
The young, confident, occasionally belligerent Thunder came out of nowhere, have taken their lumps and are in this thing for the long haul. New challenges await in the west and a Finals return is not a given. Just as the original Bull Moose gave a 90 minute speech while bleeding through his shirt mere minutes after taking a bullet to the chest, Durant, Westbrook and Harden took to London shortly after their heartbreaking Finals loss and returned wearing gold (no thanks to their buddy Serge Ibaka, who took silver playing for Spain, despite being from the Republic of Congo, go figure). The Thunder are not scared of anything or anyone, and the return of Eric Maynor, as well as the absolute steal of Perry Jones, III in the draft could provide the additional firepower necessary to defeat the Lakers in what we can go ahead and assume will be an epic seven-game Western Conference Finals.
As one of only two current NBA contenders (the other being the Spurs) that was actually built through the draft, the Thunder provide a fascinating longitudinal study of what a team should look like when organically constructed. Durant, Westbrook, Harden and Ibaka have been together for three playoff runs of increasing length, and their ability to play together has improved noticeably each season. There is one final step left, but the road looks more difficult than ever. Will the rough riding Thunder break through the increasingly crowded field? Will Kevin Durant finally hoist a Podoloff trophy? Will Russell Westbrook stop dressing like his sole purpose is to confuse old people? (No, he probably won't.)
Rushed Pull-Up Jumpers
Pokemon who the team should adopt as its new mascot: Pikachu
Headline we'll be most sick of reading: "Are Durant and Westbrook on the Same Page?"
Headline we're most looking forward to: "James Harden Shaves Beard, Visits Orthodontist"
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you enter the pearly gates?: "My, you fellas have certainly grown."