In his latest column for ESPN, Tom Haberstroh looks at 10 things to watch in the second half of the NBA season. Given their place at the top of the NBA standings as well as the star power involved, it's not surprising to see him focus on the Thunder's place right now. However, Haberstroh does pull out some questions regarding the best overall team in the Western Conference.
Simply put, will they be able to last given the incredible amount of minutes they are all playing together. Haberstroh writes:
The Oklahoma City Thunder are rolling, and it's hard to poke holes in a team that has more wins than every team not named the Miami Heat. But how long can they keep throwing out that starting lineup with Thabo Sefolosha? It's not worth getting worked up about who starts and who doesn't, but it is worth getting worked up about who plays and who doesn't. When Sefolosha returns from injury, it'll be interesting to see whether Scott Brooks tinkers with his rotation.
So far, the Thunder's starting lineup of Russell Westbrook, Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins has played more minutes than any of their other lineups, and it's currently averaging 95.5 points per 100 possessions, the worst rate among their 12 most frequent lineups. And get this: That's still six points better than what that unit did in the playoffs last season. They've locked down on defense, but come playoff time, it's probably worth giving James Harden a few more minutes for some offensive injection.
Kevin Durant and company are young, so they have that in their favor, but given the level of minutes and the intensity of the season, it will be interesting to watch.