Losing two superstars in one summer usually cripples a franchise beyond repair. For most, even losing a single star sends them into a years-long process of rebuilding.
For the Oklahoma City Thunder, people were expecting the same after they lost both Paul George and Russell Westbrook in the span of a few weeks.
Somehow, though, they’ve done more than stay afloat. With about half of the season in the rear-view mirror, the Thunder are 22-16 and 7th in the West. While part of their cinderella story has to do with the debacle that is the Conference right now, much of it can also be attributed to the newly acquired talent they brought in to replace their stars.
The fact is, their new starting lineup is good — far better than anyone could have imagined entering this season.
The 5-man lineup of Chris Paul, Dennis Schroder, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and Steven Adams, is currently the best in the NBA with a net rating of +30.1. They have the best offensive rating in the league at +126.0 and the sixth-best defensive rating at +95.9 (per NBA.com).
On a truly well-rounded effort, the Thunder are showing a lot of promise this season. And while nobody will know what might come at the deadline, what they are doing this season should not be overlooked.