A talking point of confusion surrounding the "OKC Model" is that Kevin Durant part. A first ballot Hall of Famer needs to be acquired in order to activate the model that Oklahoma City is currently following to the NBA Finals. You need an All Star Point Guard too, and an All Star caliber player who is content to put team first and come off the bench like Russell Westbrook and James Harden respectively.
There is also luck involved, and to a degree that player also needs to fall to your team like Greg Oden helped Durant fall to Seattle OKC.
But if you're saying the OKC Model refers to collecting high draft picks and turning them into a contender of sorts more generally, than that's a simpler concept to follow. It's OKC-ish too, and it's also a path that I would concede Minnesota is currently on even if their ultimate destination is more like the Playoffs than the Finals.
Ricky Rubio being a big reason why, of course. Along with Kevin Love, if Rubio is able to get himself back on the track he was this past season before suffering an ACL injury, those two could form that inside out tandem similar to Westbrook and Durant. Similar in the sense that Rubio (potentially) and Westbrook are All Star level point guards, while KD and Love are All Star level Power Forwards. Durant being a cut about that, but still, you get the idea.
In a conversation with Eurohoops.net, Rubio talked about that comparison for his Timberwovles team:
- What can we expect from your team in the near future?
“We are a very young team, we are hungry to get better and play better to get in the next playoffs”.
- Are you jealous of Oklahoma City Thunder? Do you think that Minnesota is going to emerge as a new NBA powerhouse the way that Thunder did?
“OKC is a good example to follow, is a young team with a lot of talent. We have to keep working hard so we can be a team like OKC”.
Assuming Derrick Williams takes a couple steps forward and is able to fill some of the scoring role that James Harden can, then maybe Rubio is on to something with respect to himself, love and Williams - all taken in the Lottery like Durant, Westbrook and Harden were.
At the same time, maybe trying to put Minnesota into a box like the "OKC Model" specifically isn't quite fair either. Regardless, with a healthy Rubio next year's Timberwolves should be a squad that will sneak up and beat you if you're not paying attention. Especially if Rubio has a full recovery, which he went on to tell Eurohoops.net that he's feeling good about right now:
- First of all, how things are going after the surgery?
“Very good, it’s a slow process but I am progressing and exactly where I am suppose to be at this point. I go to rehab every day and I am getting better and better”.
- Do you think that someone jinxed Minesota this season and you were hit so hard by the injury bug?
“Every team had injuries this season, we had bad luck but that can only make us stronger and it’s already making us wanting to play better next season”.
The NBA is a better place with Rick Rubio playing in it. That much we learned this past season. Hopefully he's back playing like Ricky Rubio as soon as possible.
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