Expectations High As Thunder Look Toward Next Season

Friday, June 22nd 2012, 11:11 pm
By: News 9

A look at recent NBA history reveals a pattern. Four years ago, the Lakers won the NBA title, a year after getting spanked by Boston in the Finals. Last year, the Heat were crushed by the Mavericks. This year the Heat was better than the Thunder. Next year? Do you see the pattern?

The nice thing about our Thunder is every member, even the gruff technical foul-collecting Kendrick Perkins realizes how lucky they are. Make no mistake, with all its core members under contract thru next season, this team already has its sights set on an NBA Championship run in  2013.

6/22/2012 Related Story: Thunder Players Offer 'Thanks' To Devoted Fan Base

"Next year we'll be back in the situation and we're gonna bring a championship here," said Thunder guard and NBA Sixth Man of the Year, James Harden at a gathering of fans at the Will Rogers International Airport in Oklahoma City.

About the same time the team arrived from Miami, a group of teens played their own brand of hoops on OKC's outdoor courts in the shadow of Chesapeake Arena.

"I think it's instilled some pride in them. Galvanized them to want to do more," said group supervisor Nathan Lee.

6/22/2012 Related Story: Thousands Flock To OKC Airport To Welcome Home Thunder

Speaking of doing more, remember the huge Harden Beard, Durantula and red Westbrook Glasses Thunder super-fan Mike Harris constructed a few weeks ago at 43rd and Western? Harris tells News 9 while he plans to tear it all down in the next few days, it will go directly into storage because he also believes the same thing Kevin Durant hinted at Friday afternoon as he said goodbye to the best fans in the NBA

"We hope you guys get home safe and hopefully we have a bigger parade next year," said Durant.

Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks told the crowd there are two things he will always remember about this year's team: He'll remember how hard they played, and how hard their fans cheered.

The Thunder estimates more than 4,000 fans were there to greet them when they got back from Miami Friday afternoon.