Moving on up
As we wait on the Finals to begin, I thought I'd write a bit about the Thunder's playoff run so far.
As is well known, the team committed the most turnovers in the Association and got the fewest assists in the regular season. However, I want to compare last year's playoff stats to this year's. I think this is a better comparison rather than regular season to playoffs as the bad teams are not in the playoffs.
In the 2010-11 playoffs (17 games) the Thunder has the most turnovers (14.9), were 10th in assists (17.6), shot 44% (31.6% on 3s). Russell shot 39% and averaged 4.6 turnovers. KD shot 45%.
In the 2011-12 playoffs (15 games so far) the Thunder are 14th in turnovers (11.2), and 6th in assists (18.7). Russell is shooting 43.6% (35% on 3s) and averaging only 2.3 turnovers. KD is shooting 50.5 %.
So compared to last year's playoff run which ended in the Conference Finals, the Thunder are passing the ball and taking care of the ball much better. There is much less of KD trying to "post up" while Russell dribbles out the shot clock. The offense is much more efficient.
They are also playing much better defense. In the 2010-11 playoffs, they gave up 100.6 points per game. In the 2011-12 playoffs they are only giving up 95.7.
It sounds like a dumb cliche, but Durant has really calmed down, matured, "grown up", and Westbrook is making progress in those areas as well. San Antonio really contained Harden when he drove to the basket so he's going to have to make some adjustments there, but I think the Thunder will beat either Boston or Miami and win the championship this year.