Captain Planet is one of the first television shows that I can remember watching. For those unfamiliar, it was a cartoon from the early ’90s that attempted to teach children the values of recycling and good environmental practices by showing the five “Planeteers” working together to help fight bad guys attempting to pollute the earth. The five Planeteers had different powers to help them fight the villains, and they all possessed rings that helped them summon Captain Planet — a blue, muscular deity-like figure that acted much like an environmental Superman to help them thwart the attempts of the villains to damage the Earth. The catch was, Captain Planet could only come to life with the combined powers of all five planeteers.
In a similar way, the Thunder as a team could not come to life in the Western Conference Finals without their full compliment of players. The Thudner looked terrible in the first two games of the series in San Antonio as they were without Serge Ibaka. With Ibaka back in the lineup, the Thunder have looked unstoppable, dominating the Spurs in Games 3 & 4 to tie the Western Conference Finals at two games apiece.
With their powers combined, the Thunder have become basketball’s Captain Planet — a dominant force capable of taking down any opponent.
The five Oklahoma City “Planeteers” are:
Russell Westbrook – Fire
Westbrook is the most temperamental of all of the Thunder players. He’s a fiery competitor and always plays like he’s on fire in NBA Jam, shooting pull-up jumpers without hesitation and attacking the rim with reckless abandon with the goal of throwing it down over someone. The energy and bounce Westbrook plays with sparks the Thunder’s offense, but at times he can burn the Thunder with his shot selection and decision-making.
Kevin Durant – Water
Durant’s smooth play and wet jump shot are always a constant for the Thunder, balancing out the volatility of Westbrook. Durant glides around the court effortlessly and will rain points down on the opposition with the greatest of ease.
Serge Ibaka – Earth
Ibaka is the defensive anchor for the Thunder, helping to ground opposing offenses with his presence in the paint. On offense, he spaces the floor well, and provides a tertiary scoring option. Ibaka can be forgotten due to the offensive prowess of Westbrook and Durant, but after how poorly the Thunder played in the first two games of the series without him, Ibaka’s impact on the team has never been more apparent.
Reggie Jackson – Wind
Somewhat overshadowed by Ibaka’s return has been the addition of Reggie Jackson to the starting lineup. Jackson gives Oklahoma City a second ball-handler in the backcourt next to Westbrook, allowing the Thunder to play Russell and Durant off the ball. Jackson’s speed has helped the Thunder on defense, as he swirls around the backcourt pestering the Spurs guards.
Derek Fisher – Heart
HEART. HUSTLE. GRIT. VETERAN LEADERSHIP. Derek Fisher is synonymous with these words, and like Heart is by far the weakest and least popular of all the Thudner. The Thunder could probably be better without Fisher, and no one’s quite sure what he does on the court that others couldn’t do more effectively, but like Heart he’s there and somehow has convinced everyone he’s important to their success . Also, I could totally see him having a pet monkey.
Always remember, Oklahoma City, THE POWER IS YOURS!