Did the Thunder Just Become Finals Favorites?

The 2016 NBA Draft was a two man show. Then it went crazy.

Just a day or two ago, two Midwest teams made some big moves. The Bulls traded away their former MVP and face of the franchise, Derrick Rose, to the Knicks for Lopez and some other role players. The Pacers traded away their IUPUI home town boy, George Hill, for Jeff Teague and their 20th pick in the first round for Thaddeus Young.

Just that would be big time news before draft night.

Well that’s not all — the OKC Thunder added to the craziness. It was right around pick 2, when I was watching the draft with no surprises. Simmons one. Ingram two. Then I got the text — an ESPN alert.

Trade proposed, Victor Oladipo to the Thunder for Serge Ibaka. WHAT!? This was nuts. The guy that played on the team of “The Shot”.

The guy that was on the team of my Alma Mater. I know he didn’t hit the shot, but still. Let’s look at how this helps — or hurts — both teams.

Orlando Magic

For many, people would think that the Thunder got the most out of this deal. Honestly, I think this was a pretty good trade (just slightly favoring the Thunder). The reason I say that is the Magic are getting a relatively young stud in Serge Ibaka that would be allowed to play the style of ball he’s accustomed to playing — supporting rim protector and a pick n’ roll catch and shoot-man.

It will be a little weird to watch Vucevic and Ibaka both try to defend the rim, and be “that guy” for the Magic front court, but I think it can work.

Oklahoma City Thunder

This is a straight message to Kevin Durant that they are willing to do whatever it takes to encourage him to stay with the team. I’m definitely convinced that this is a huge upgrade to the 2-guard position (ahem, I mean, Roberson) currently on the squad. If you compare stats side by side, you’ll see that Oladipo is a huge upgrade. It could be because they used him as a point guard though. He was asked to do a LOT more than what Billy Donovan and this Thunder squad will ask him to do.

Nevertheless, the Thunder are getting a player that is tenacious on the defensive end, and can play well as a complementary player.

I might go out on a limb and say that if Durant decides to stay with the Thunder, they will be the overwhelming (and yes, I said overwhelming) favorite to win the NBA Finals next year. What’s that bet? Can I get an alert when I can bet on the Finals Champion future?

About Matt Strobel

Matt Strobel is the editor and lead writer for LebortsReport.com. He works in marketing analytics and has been writing for the last five years. Don’t forget to subscribe to his website, share this article, and see the latest from Matt to show support for our new site!

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