The Oklahoma City Thunder are the strongest rebuke to the way the Knicks have done business over the years.
That probably wasn't the most popular reaction to watching the Thunder storm back from 15 points down to beat the Spurs and win the Western Conference on Wednesday night. A lot more people were probably thinking that Kevin Durant is staggeringly good at basketball or that the difference between the Western and Eastern Conferences this season is roughly the equivalent of the difference between those who discovered fire and those who missed that memo.
Despite that, the dominant thought here was a flicker of rage at watching a team built around youth, without flashy names on the sideline and constructed with a plan that lasted for more than a couple of weeks celebrate their just reward. Watching Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden climb the ladder this spring has been a constant reminder that the Knicks could have found benefits to all their losing if not for the historically terrible resource management of the last decade.
The Thunder will have to deal with cap issues in the years to come, but that's a nice problem to have when you actually succeed as opposed to the way the Knicks handled their business. Win a title or two and then figure it all out from there.
Crying about the past and wondering "What If" is something that Knicks fans do all too well, but it isn't nearly as productive as it is cathartic. Thankfully, there are some positive things to glean about the Thunder's road.
Durant, Westbrook and Harden shouldn't work together offensively as well as they do, but it has worked because the Thunder have devised a system that gives them all a chance to do heavy lifting. It hasn't always been smooth sailing either, especially with Westbrook.
The personalities and talent levels are different here, obviously, but that's something to cling to as we wait to see how the Carmelo Anthony/Amar'e Stoudemire/Tyson Chandler/Jeremy Lin quartet makes out with time to actually practice with one another. It may be a pipe dream that they could ever approach the Thunder's efficiency, but pipe dreams come in handy when laying in a sunny spot during the summer.
And maybe a little of the Thunder's magic will rub off on Anthony and Chandler in London this summer. If you can't beat 'em, you might as well steal from 'em.