OTG's All-Decade Team: Oklahoma City Thunder Edition
With the past decade coming to a close, what better way to ring in the new decade by reflecting on the past. Off The Glass is taking a look at each NBA team and selecting their All-Decade squad, which is defined by one guard, one forward, one center, a role player (someone not selected as and All-Star, or to an All-NBA team), and one wildcard.
Today we are highlighting the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Guard: Russell Westbrook. Perhaps the most beloved player in the organization’s short brief history, Westbrook spent 11 years with the Thunder. The UCLA product was a MVP, 2x scoring champ, 8x All-Star, and 8x All-NBA selection. Westbrook averaged a triple-double for three seasons straight from 2016-2019 in points, assists, and rebounds.
Forward: Kevin Durant. I don’t care how KD left the organization, Durant is the clear-cut choice for this one. He spent eight seasons with the Thunder, leading them to an NBA Finals appearance and winning the MVP award in 2014. He also was a 4x scoring champion and Rookie of the Year. One of the most unstoppable players in the NBA, Durant was the primary force in raising OKC to relevance.
Center: Serge Ibaka. The big man spent seven seasons with the Thunder and was one of the top supporting pieces for OKC during the short Big 3 era. Even after that, Ibaka’s two-way style of play was proven valuable beyond the stat sheet. Averaging double-digit scoring in four consecutive seasons, he just edged out Steven Adams.
Role Player: James Harden. He may be a star now, but in Oklahoma City he was a supporting piece. Winning the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, Harden was a valuable scoring option off the bench. The Beard only spent three quick seasons in OKC until he was surprisingly traded to the Houston Rockets, but it will always be wondered what could have been. In his last season, he averaged 16.8 PPG on just under 40% shooting from deep, completing one of the NBA’s scariest trios.
Wildcard: The Harden trade. OKC traded Harden shortly after he declined to accept their contract offer in the unreasonably small amount of time they gave him to decide. Breaking up the young trio was an interesting move, especially considering that Harden would soon skyrocket to superstar status in Houston. One of the biggest ‘what ifs’ in NBA history, the Thunder had three eventual MVPs on the roster at one time, and decided to break it up, months after reaching the NBA Finals.
Team High: 2011-12 season. The Thunder reached the NBA Finals after achieving a Southwest Division-best 47-19 record. Unfortunately for them, they fell to the Big 3 in Miami, but the future was extremely bright with the young trio of Durant, Westbrook, and Harden at the forefront.
Team Low: The Decision. LeBron James leaving for Miami can be viewed as an act of betrayal, but the Cavaliers would obviously not be able to get over the hump. The Durant departure was on a totally different level. After losing in the 2016 Western Conference finals to the Golden State Warriors, a team that they led 3-1 in the series over, Durant decided to join the team that defeated him. Solidifying himself as one of the league’s biggest villains, Durant broke the hearts of Thunder fans nationwide and closed the door on title contention for the time being.
Upcoming Decade Prediction: The Thunder are in a state of transition after the trades of Westbrook and Paul George. However, they have a competitive team and a slew of draft picks. OKC will make the playoffs more times than not in the decade, but won’t make it past the conference finals.