I guess Iím used to rooting for the Celtics. Where making the playoffs isnít exactly an accomplishment.
Exactly, and as Boston sports fans we have several other teams to feel good about even when the Celts aren't competitive.
A fan in Sacramento has only the Kings to root for as a true local team, though they can feel some affinity for the SF / Oakland teams and the LA teams, perhaps. But if you're a true dyed-in-the-wool Kings fan, at this point I have to imagine that having a legit star and a roster that can make the playoffs for the near future would be a huge improvement. The Kings haven't been in the playoffs since I was in high school.
As for the Suns, they haven't made the playoffs since 2010. That's 8 years. There's no telling when they'll be ready to make the playoffs with their current group. 2020? Probably optimistic that this young, young team will be ready in two years time, and by then it will have been a decade since their last playoffs appearance.
I am certain the Suns would love to have a playoff-caliber team with a proven superstar.
But whatís a cityís other teams have to do with the success of the NBA franchise in question? Iím not a fan of any other team from Boston (in fact, I hate the Sox and Pats). Doesnít change what most teams should be about, and thatís winning. Not just being competitive or having a marketable star.
The poorly run franchises lose sight of that and push for temporary, mild success. While I wonít hold Durant leaving against them (although who is to say he would have left if they still had Harden and Ibaka instead of Westbrook?), a convincing argument can be made that OKC has made the wrong decision on just about every roster choice they needed to make in the last 5+ years. Oladipo for a year of George (which amounted to one extra win in the regular season and maybe the same number of playoff wins)?
The Suns and Kings past decade doesnít have anything to do with me projecting the next decade. There have been some truly terrible franchises but most of them realize this and are rebooting. Suns got rid of IT, Dragic, and Bledsoe. They knew they needed to get horrible to rebuild and they are doing that and should have 3-5 very, very good players on cheap contracts. Kings donít have next years pick and may miss out on the top-3 this season, but they are still on the rebuild track.
Itís hard to say OKC is a definite playoff team as they were just two losses from missing the playoffs this season and itís safe to say if they lose in the first round, PG13 is gone. Westbrook isnít getting any better, if anything, heís caring more and more about personal stats and probably costing them in the long run.
So you never want to be in that so-call NBA purgatory. Where you may be good enough to squeak into the playoffs, or just not bad enough to get an impact player in the draft. That looks like where OKC is gonna live for the next 6 seasons, all whilst paying RW $233M.
If I was a Kings or Suns fan, I could look forward to the future. But OKC? Theyíve already been to the Finals (and beaten soundly), they shouldnít be celebrating making the playoffs and getting bounced in 5 annually. Iíd even go as far to say by the end of Westbrookís contract, both the Suns and Kings will be better than Oklahoma City.