How will the Durant-less Thunder Fare in 2016?
Posted by: Mike Davis
Online NBA betting fans can finally let out a sigh of relief as the season inches closer every day. After a hefty offseason, various teams are coming into this season with a tremendous amount of expectations. Obviously the bulk of the expectations will be riding the Golden State Warriors, but there will also be a good amount of eyes watching the team Kevin Durant departed from, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Russell Westbrook, the Thunder’s other star, has taken heat before for being a very self-centered player. Now, Westbrook is the lone star on the Thunder’s squad and the entire league will be watching to see how both Westbrook and Oklahoma City rebound after losing one of the best players in the NBA. If the Thunder want to make a statement about not needing Durant, then they better do it early in the season.
Oklahoma City will get the perfect opportunity to prove to the online NBA betting community that they don’t need Durant to enjoy success when they square off against the Philadelphia 76ers in their 2016-17 debut. The Thunder will be traveling to the city of brotherly love to take on the 76ers on Wednesday, October 26, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. As aforementioned, the Thunder will be trying to prove themselves to the world, but the 76ers also have an agenda of their own.
Philadelphia is coming off an extremely disappointing season. After winning just 10 games in the 2015-16 season, it is extremely important for the 76ers to begin this year on a high note. There’s no point in denying it, this is a ‘rebuild season’ for the 76ers, but in all honesty it shouldn’t be too hard to improve on a 10 win season. However, anything can happen in professional sports, so the 76ers need to be weary not to let their guard down. Philadelphia endured 72 losses last season, and this offseason they had to endure a few more.
Most notable of their offseason losses is Ish Smith, who will now be playing in Detroit. In recent years Philadelphia has been quiet in the offseason but this year they decided to make a couple moves. The 76ers brought in Jarryd Bayless on a three-year deal, as well as Gerald Henderson who was brought in on a two-year deal. Philadelphia even went as far as to sign some international talent this offseason when they brought in Sergio Rodriguez, who played for the Real Madrid Baloncesto. Whether or not these moves will pay off remains to be seen, but it’s unlikely that any basketball betting sites will be favoring the 76ers this season.
The Thunder were making headlines this offseason, but mostly because of Durant’s departure. Obviously the loss of Durant is the heaviest any team in the NBA has had to endure this offseason, but Oklahoma City also parted ways with Serge Ibaka – who was traded to the Magic. With that trade the Thunder brought in Victor Oladipo and Ersan Ilyasova. Both of these players are relatively young, talented stars who will be great compliments to Westbrook. There’s no doubt the online NBA betting odds will be siding with the Thunder in this matchup, but we’ll have to wait and see what Oklahoma City is capable of without Durant.