By: Walter Agnitsch
For the last few seasons I would pray that the Thunder would win every Sunday game on ABC they played. This was simply because if they lost the game you would hear Bill Simmons go on about how the James Harden trade ruined this team and they will never win a championship, it has been pretty nice this year not having to listen to this because Bill now works for HBO. He was right though, during those last few seasons the Thunder received no contribution from the players they received from that deal, it just hurt to be reminded over and over about it again.
The Thunder received Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and three draft picks which they used on Mitch McGary, Steven Adams, and Álex Abrines. Kevin Martin only played one season with the Thunder, and Jeremy Lamb ended up being a wash and being traded to the Charlotte Hornets. The Thunder’s only hope was Steven Adams, and boy has he proven to be the right man for the job. In these playoffs he has single-handedly aged Tim Duncan by 20 years. He grabs any board that comes his way with his Randy Moss like hands. He is developing his game and giving Russ and KD trust to feed him the ball in the low post. He just had 16 points versus the Golden State Warriors, he is having a breakout performance in these playoffs and is making everyone fear the stache instead of fearing the beard. One might say without Steven the Thunder would not have beaten the Spurs. The other two players from the trade show great promise as well, Mitch has a lot of raw talent that just needs to be developed in the next season. He could be the perfect player to replace Nick Collision whenever he decides to hang up his jersey. Álex Abrines, who is currently playing for FC Barcelona Bàsquet just won the Euro League rising star award. Thunder fans can be hopeful that Álex might make the leap over the pond and wear the hollowed Thunder colors next year.
Up until this year this trade has been talked about as one of the worst trades in the franchise’s existence. Now thanks to Steven who is playing like a top 5 center in the NBA we are rethinking this trade. Now I am not saying that Steven is better than James Harden, that would be crazy but he is putting the Thunder on the cusp of being champions.