Oklahoma City Thunder Odds To Win 2016 NBA Championship

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The Oklahoma City Thunder hold the fourth-best odds to win the 2016 NBA championship after a tumultuous 2014-15 campaign. Very few teams in the league will ever be able to repeat that sentence about themselves, but with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook looking to come back healthy (and at the same time), this group could turn things around quickly after one down year. 

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Head Coach: Fred Hoiberg
Conference: West
2014-15 Record: 45-37
Odds To Win 2016 NBA Championship: 17/2

Team Strengths

If this team is healthy, there are only a short list of teams that are going to keep up with it in terms of points per game scored. Not only did Russell Westbrook take home last year’s scoring title after averaging 28.1 points per contest, but the team as a whole finished fourth (104.0 PPG) despite the absence of superstar scorer Kevin Durant.

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Next season, the Thunder will look to incorporate Enes Kanter into that offense from the start of the year. He put up gawdy numbers after coming over from the Utah Jazz, but that was without Durant dominating the ball — and and in a relatively small sample size.

Team Weaknesses

As good as this team is offensively, it must improve upon last year’s three-point percentage. The team went just 33.9 percent from behind the arc, which was only good enough for 22nd in the Association.

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The good news is that the return of Durant should instantly propel this team back up the rankings. In 2013-14, with a healthy Durant leading the way, the Thunder knocked down 36.1 percent of their long-range daggers, which was good enough for a top-15 spot.

More importantly, this team needs to improve its defensive efforts from a year ago. Oklahoma City allowed opponents to score 101.8 points per night. That number placed them in the 24th spot league-wide.

Health and continuity will lead to better performances in both of these categories.

Why They Can Win 2016 NBA Championship

Any team who wants to be a considered a contender needs more than one superstar leading the way. The Thunder missed sneaking into the playoffs last season while Westbrook did everything in his powers to get the team the eighth seed, but now with Durant on board, the sky is the limit.

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The only thing truly standing in the way of OKC’s championship contention (health aside) is the Wild Wild West. Five of the top six teams slated to be favorites in terms of championship odds are out West, with the only Eastern Conference foe coming in the form of the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers.

If OKC wants to compete for a Larry O’Brien Trophy, it will need to take advantage of every game it can versus the East. If it can do that, home-court advantage in the playoffs isn’t out of the equation, and if the Thunder have the luxury of playing in front of some of the best fans in the NBA, anything can happen during a deep postseason run.

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