For arguments sake, let’s say the Oklahoma City Thunder was able to re-sign James Harden to a long term contract that will keep him in Oklahoma for the foreseeable future. That means they were able to keep their core players of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Harden intact, essentially forming what many call the “Big Four”.
Now these four players are already a formidable group and should be contenders for years to come. Especially since all four players are under the age of 24. Here’s where things get interesting. Earlier in the offseason, they had Perry Jones III freefall and head their way in the NBA Draft. He was taken by the team with the 28th pick.
Last year, Jones was supposed to be a lottery pick, but injury concerns scouts found out this year had him fall all the way down to the 28th pick. Now he is in a very interesting environment where he will not have much pressure to produce, and he will also have the opportunity to work with one of the best players in the league in Durant.
After being passed on by 27 teams, Jones may start the year with a chip in his shoulder. He may want to prove to those 27 other teams that passed on him that they made a mistake. The Thunder may have gotten a player who is fired up to begin the season and wants to prove to all the doubters that he is still the same player and he belonged in the lottery. He also gets the bonus of playing for a championship right away.
What is even more interesting is that both Durant and Jones have similar skill-sets. Jones can play all three front court positions and he will have the distinct advantage of learning from one of the best players in the league. If all goes well and he realizes his potential, then the Thunder could be sitting on a gold mine. Not only will they have a big four. They could potentially have a Big Five.
While this “fantasy” could very well come true, a lot of things have to go right in order to do so. But the prospect of Oklahoma City being even better than they are now is scary for the rest of the league. In the end, it will come down to Jones if he can realize his potential and be a future star for the Thunder.