However, that wasn’t the case with the 2011-12 Oklahoma City Thunder, led by 4 young, promising players that looked ready to take the world by assault and win it all. Needless to say, they failed.
The Miami Heat eventually dominated them by taking home a 4-1 triumph in the Finals, and the Thunder hasn’t been able to go back to that stage ever seen. But, what happened with that legendary squad? where are they now? let’s take a look:
Nick Collison – Retired
Even though he was never a superstar, Nick Collison’s legacy will live up forever with the Oklahoma City Thunder. After being drafted by the Sonics in 2004, Collison spent his whole 13-season career with the organization and his mentorship had a huge impact on young stars like Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook. He retired in 2018 and the team decided to retire his number 4 jersey.
Cole Aldrich – Retired
Cole Aldrich made it to the league as the 11th overall pick. However, he didn’t do much to prove he was worthy of being taken that high. During his stint with the Thunder, he played barely 7 minutes per game, and then bounced around the league for years. His last team was the Tianjin Gold Lions, but he hasn’t played since last year.
Lazar Hayward – Retired
Lazar Hayward was a huge promise early on his career, as he even played for Team USA in college. However, he was never able to live up to the hype in the NBA, and bounced around the league for a couple of seasons. After his failed stint in the NBA, he tried his luck in the G-League and then played for Guaros de Lara in Venezuela.
Nazr Mohammad – Retired
There was a time when Nazr Mohammad was a physical force worthy of being recognized down low. However, that wasn’t the case during his brief stint with the Thunder, when he was more of a bottom-of-the-bench kind of veteran. And after an 18-year career in the NBA, the journeyman is finally enjoying his retirement.
Derek Fisher – Coach
Derek Fisher was one of the Thunder’s most vocal leaders during their Championship run. He brought a lot of experience from his years with the Lakers, and played over 20 minutes a night for Scott Brooks’s team. He then coached the Knicks for three seasons, and was recently appointed as the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks’ coach.
Royal Ivey – Assistant Coach
At age 30, Royal Ivey was rarely featured by Scott Brooks during the season, and the NBA Finals weren’t the exception to that trend. After a 10-year career in the NBA, he became an assistant coach in the Thunder’s G-League affiliate and is now a part of the New York Knicks’ coaching staff.
Kendrick Perkins – TV Analyst
Well, Kendrick Perkins took his talents to the New Orleans Pelicans and Cleveland Cavaliers afterward but never played a significant role on either of those teams. Now, the former defensive standout and NBA Champion works as a tv analyst and enjoys sharing hot takes on his Twitter account about everything that happens around the league.
Daequan Cook – Ironi Nes Ziona
Daequan Cook played a big part of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s rotation. He came off the bench as one of their primary defenders and wasn’t afraid to take a shot either. He was traded to the Rockets after the Finals and then waived, and is currently playing overseas for Ironi Nes Ziona in Israel.
Thabo Sefolosha – Houston Rockets
Thabo Sefolosha was once one of the toughest defenders you could find on an NBA hardwood, but injuries and off-court issues took a toll on his game. Now, he’s barely seeing the hardwood with the Houston Rockets, and he’s not likely to come back to his All-Defense level.
Reggie Jackson – Detroit Pistons
Believe it or not, Reggie Jackson was a part of that team. Obviously, he didn’t get many opportunities as he was just a rookie. After a mini breakout with Russell Westbrook injured, he made his way to the Detroit Pistons, but failed to live up to the expectations and has spent more time nursing injuries or coming off the bench than playing.
Serge Ibaka – Toronto Raptors
Serge Ibaka has come a long way since his days at Oklahoma. His game adapted and evolved a lot, as he’s not just a shot-blocker and rebounder anymore. He can put the ball on the floor, create for others, knock down shots from beyond the arc, and even embraced a lesser role off the bench. That’s why he’s an NBA Champion now, and why he’ll be in the league for many more years to come.
Russell Westbrook – Houston Rockets
Russell Westbrook was traded to the Houston Rockets in the summer to reunite with James Harden and so far, so good for them. Westbrook became the leader of the Thunder, but couldn’t carry them to success in the playoffs, so he’s taken a step back to be Harden’s second gun. He’s one of the most talented players in the game, but his basketball IQ hasn’t grown much since 2012.
James Harden – Houston Rockets
Harden blossomed as the league’s most unstoppable scorer after being traded by the Thunder to the Rockets. He should’ve had multiple MVPs by now, and has found the way to bend the rules in his favor. Like him or not, he’s outsmarted the referees and the rest of basketball players through history. Now, all he has to do is win a Championship to prove his doubters wrong.
Kevin Durant – Brooklyn Nets
Kevin Durant went from hero to villain in Oklahoma, after leaving the team to join the 73-9 Golden State Warriors. There he’d win a couple of Championships with back-to-back Finals MVPs, so the gamble sure paid off. Now, he’s nursing an Achilles injury and is the latest addition to the Brooklyn Nets, but we’ll have to wait a full year before seeing him back out there.