Offseason Improvement Rankings: Northwest Division

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April 11, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts during the third quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The City Thunder defeated the Warriors 116-97. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, the Suns were the worst team in the Western Conference and the fourth-worst overall. They earned the fifth pick in the 2013 draft with that miserable season. This coming season, the Suns will exciting and more interesting, but also worse, because almost all the other teams improved themselves. This could give the Suns one of the top picks in a potentially top-5 draft in NBA history. I asked editors around FanSided’s NBA Division for the low-down on their team.

Disclaimer: It took a while to coordinate with everyone and with some people I couldn’t get in touch, so I had to assess the offseasons of some teams. Also, I had to update some teams who continued signing and trading players after these were written.

  • Oklahoma City Thunder- Andrew Kennedy (Thunderous Intentions)

The offseason for the Oklahoma City Thunder was unsurprisingly pretty uneventful. The biggest news came when Kevin Martin decided to sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves, leaving a sixth man scorer as the biggest glaring need for an OKC team that has just about no money to sign even a mid-level free agent (like Dorell Wright). With the draft, the Thunder did what they always do, which is planning for the future. All three draft picks they took likely won’t be contributing for anyone other than the Tulsa 66ers next season.

The Thunder are still in about as good of shape as about any team in the league. Let’s not forget that a duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook is still probably the best in the league and both are 25 years old or younger. Durant, Westbrook and other young players continue to show signs that they are improving every year like Reggie Jackson and Serge Ibaka.

Instead of blowing anything up and making any major moves, the Thunder stayed to the course that got them where they are now. They will rely on their ability to develop young talent and hopefully be able to replace Martin with Jeremy Lamb and more Jackson. They’ll count on Ibaka to keep getting better and the chemistry of a team and starting five that has now played together for quite a few years, to prove it’s worth more than any other team out there.

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Topics: Basketball, Denver Nuggets, NBA, Offseason, Oklahoma City Thunder, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trailblazers, Sports, Utah Jazz

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