To say this offseason was a doozy for Thunder fans would be a monumental understatement.
They started off by drafting Darius Bazley. A wing that hardly no one had heard of, and a guy who hadn’t played organized basketball in over a calendar year.
Then, in the wee hours of the night (or technically morning I guess) the Paul George trade happened. With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and a stockpile of future draft picks in return.
Finally, the dooziest of doozy’s. When Russell Westbrook, the cornerstone of the franchise, was shipped to Houston in exchange for future picks, and the prototype antagonist to Russ; Chris Paul.
Thunder fans were left confused, angry, and heartbroken not knowing what the future would hold. All we had to hold on to was Shai, and a gluttony of future draft picks. Yes the future was bright, but the present? Yeah, not so much.
So the fans slowly began to accept the fact that these next couple years would be our rebuild years. A period of time in which you minimize your opportunity to win during the season. Therefor this would increase your chance at getting a valuable draft pick. Also, you are willing to take back bad contracts as long as picks, or young promising players are involved.
As we came to grips with what we thought was our new reality, we did what Thunder fans do, we went all in. We accepted it so deeply that we wanted to make a name for it. And quickly it spread like wildfire across Thunder Twitter.
The Calm Before The Storm
We as fans had all but accepted our fate. We accepted that this year would be a throwaway as we look to the future. With websites giving us a .2% chance to make the playoffs. Lets not forget the ever so popular prediction of 30 wins. Lastly, only giving us only 1 (3 if you count NBATV) nationally televised games. This only cemented what we thought to be true.
But then, something even doozier (I know it’s not a word but bare with me) happened.
CP3 was a leader to the team on and off the court. Shai was blossoming into a bonafide superstar. Gallo was able to stay healthy (allow me to drive to California to knock on every single redwood I can find). Steven Adams began to expand his game. Dennis Schröder (or should I say 6th man of the year) went from inefficient, to a highly effective scorer. Diamonds in the rough in the form of Lu Dort and Bazley (yes, the New Balance intern), as well as Abdel Naders peculiar but timely scoring.
That Billy Donovan, a man whose job has been was on the line if it were up to fans, had installed a system the focused on defense and ball movement and had this team playing hard, fast, and the big one; Together. Giving him a real opportunity to be the NBA Coach of the Year.
All of a sudden, this little period before all of our future picks comes to fruition was getting a lot less calm then we bargained for.
And here we are now. One day away from a first round matchup against our rivals the Houston Rockets. Chris Paul against his former team. Russell Westbrook against his former team. A battle between two of the greatest point guards the game has ever seen.
A story so insane, that you couldn’t even script it. A matchup to show your friends and say “This. this right here. This is why I love sports.”
A matchup that one might even call, “The Perfect Storm.”
When Thunder fans first came up with “The Calm Before The Storm”, it was to show that we are waiting, we know we are going to be back someday. But for now, we will wait.
But now “The Calm Before The Storm” is more like anticipating. Anticipating what could prove to be one of the most exciting first round matchups that the game of basketball has ever seen.
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