Now that the 2012 post season is over, you have to wonder who the OKC Thunder plan to keep: Serge Ibaka or James Harden.
Both are up-and-coming young stars that bring a very specific set of skills to the team, not only that but both were vital to the success that the Thunder have been experiencing. However this upcoming season may be the last they will play together. Both players have been extended qualifying offers for the 2013/2014 season and you should probably expect their stat lines to explode.
Serge Ibaka averaged 3.7 blocks per game this season, that’s a whole block more than the next person in line. He also chipped in a solid amount of rebounds and has continued to polish his offensive game. All of this he did playing just 27 minutes per game.
We all saw him as a key offensive piece during the Spurs series and it’s only a matter of time before he really develops an offensive game. Defensively, he’s already a force on the court. Coming off the weakside he makes teams terrified of driving into the paint and oh yeah he’s turning 23 this year.
James Harden on the other hand holds the Thunder together. He was the glue guy for most of the playoffs till he fell apart in the finals. When defenses collapsed on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook you could always count on James Harden to make that open 3 or drive to the hoop for an easy 2. Harden has shown exponential improvement and is being called the “new” Manu Ginobili.
The decision between the two players will be a tough one for OKC but I suppose you could say this is one of the downsides of building through the draft. If you discover 4 gems like the Thunder did you can’t expect to keep them all.