Oklahoma City Thunder: Creating The Perfect Roster From Best Active Players Who Have Ever Played For Them

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Oklahoma City Thunder: Creating The Perfect Roster From Best Active Players Who Have Ever Played For Them

Before the Oklahoma City Thunder became an NBA franchise, the team featured a rich history in Seattle. The SuperSonics featured some great players like Gary Payton and Ray Allen and even won a title in 1979. When the team moved to OKC in 2008, many believed that the franchise would need a few years before being a contender.

It only took four years from the move before OKC made the NBA Finals in 2012. Since then, we have seen OKC make it as far as the Conference Finals, as well as contend for playoff appearances. With that said, the organization has had a ton of talent over the last few years but hasn’t been able to make the NBA Finals.

With the tenth anniversary of that squad approaching, we look back at all the talent the team has produced over the years. If you were to take all of the team’s talent on the organization over the years, could this superteam go 82-0? Let’s take a look.


Starting Lineup


Guard - Chris Paul (2019-2020)

Chris Paul

In one season, Paul did something that amazed the entire nation. At the time, the Thunder had traded away Russell Westbrook and Paul George. In the Westbrook trade, Paul was sent to match salary. Nobody expected the Thunder to compete in the Western Conference.

Instead, Paul averaged 17.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and 1.6 steals. More importantly, the Thunder were the No. 5 seed in the West and battled the Houston Rockets to a seven-game series. Even though the Thunder were defeated, it was Paul’s play and leadership that helped OKC do the unthinkable.


Guard - Russell Westbrook (2008-2019)

Russel Westbrook Oklahoma City Thunder

The combination of Westbrook and Durant made the Thunder one of the best teams in the NBA. Westbrook was one of the most athletic guards the franchise had ever seen. When Westbrook won the MVP in 2017, he was the first player to ever average a triple-double for a season since Oscar Robertson in 1961.

To be in the same conversation as the “Big O,” is Hall of Fame worthy. Westbrook will be a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer, especially since that MVP season was the first year the franchise had without Kevin Durant.


Guard - James Harden (2009-2012)

(via Bleacher Report)

(via Bleacher Report)

Harden grew to an MVP player during his years in Houston, but many forget that Harden was the team’s prime sixth man from 2009 to 2011. Harden could start, but he provided a role similar to Manu Ginobili during the Spurs’ dynasty run. In the 2011-2012 season, Harden had his best season by averaging 16.8 points per game.

Harden grew to a player that once averaged 36.1 points per game and led the league in scoring three consecutive years. Had the Thunder treated Harden on the same pedestal as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, maybe he would have stayed?


Forward - Paul George (2017-2019)

Thunder's Paul George Talked To Kawhi Leonard About Free Agency, But Keeps Details Secret

George’s first season yielded 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists. Those are respectable numbers, but his second season produced his best year. George was a fixture in the MVP voting, as well as an All-Defensive caliber player.

In 2018-2019, George averaged 28.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.2 steals. Thanks to those numbers, George brought in a first-pick overhaul from the Clippers when the Thunder dealt him to L.A. In this lineup, George would gell well because he could do just a bit of everything on the court.


Forward - Kevin Durant (2007-2016)

Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder

Durant made the move to OKC easier because he was the face of the franchise during those times. Durant was the team’s best player when the team made the Finals in 2012. He won an MVP in 2014. In 2016, Durant led the Thunder to a 3-1 lead in the Conference Finals before the Golden State Warriors bounced back to overtake the series.

In the end, Durant will go down as one of the best to play for the Seattle/OKC franchise. Even though OKC didn’t make it back to the Finals, the team made the Conference Finals three times in his tenure.


Bench


Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2019-Present)

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Despite an injury-plagued third year, many believe Gilgeous-Alexander has the potential to be a max-contract player in this league. In 35 games, he averaged 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 5.9 assists. In his second year, we saw him average 19.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 3.3 assists.

The assist total jumped because it was his first year playing a true role, but his first without Chris Paul. Gilgeous-Alexander has a ceiling as high as Paul George. We saw what George did in his two seasons in OKC. Having a sixth man put up those numbers would have made this OKC team even harder to beat.


Domantas Sabonis (2016-2017)

Domantas Sabonis

Sabonis was paired with Victor Oladipo to bring Paul George to OKC but was acquired in a trade with Serge Ibaka in 2016. In his one season, Sabonis averaged 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds. While those are modest rookie numbers, Sabonis is 25 years old and one of the best overall centers in the league. Had he stayed in OKC, with their player development history, Sabonis might have replicated his All-Star numbers.

Last year, Sabonis averaged 20.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 6.7 assists. With this starting lineup, Sabonis may not have averaged over twenty points, but his passing would have made this one unstoppable lineup.


Jerami Grant (2016-2018)

Jerami Grant

The Thunder traded for Grant in 2016 and he played three seasons with the team. While Grant was considered the main bench player, he eventually grew into a player that averaged 13.6 points per game in 2018. Grant was eventually acquired by the Denver Nuggets before signing a three-year deal with the Detroit Pistons in 2020.

This past year, we saw Grant’s true potential. Grant was in the Most Improved Player of the Year conversation after he averaged 22.3 points and 4.6 rebounds. Even though the Pistons success didn’t follow, it highlighted that Grant truly was a special player.


Victor Oladipo (2016-2017)

Victor Oladipo

After four years with the Magic, Oladipo was traded in a package centered around Serge Ibaka. In his one season, Oladipo averaged 15.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.2 steals. After that year, he was packaged with Domantas Sabonis in a trade for Paul George and the Pacers. During his tenure with the Pacers, we saw Oladipo grow into an All-NBA and All-Defensive player.

Oladipo has battled injuries the last few years, but when healthy, he was one of the best defenders in the league. We have seen what players like Jrue Holiday and PJ Tucker have done for Milwaukee in the NBA Finals. Oladipo would have provided that, and more, for this OKC team.


Carmelo Anthony (2017-2018)

Carmelo Anthony

During the 2017 offseason, Anthony was traded to the Thunder in exchange for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a 2018 second-round pick. After 14 straight seasons of averaging more than 20.0 points per game, Anthony failed to hit that mark in his one and only season in OKC.

However, Anthony still averaged 16.2 points. While that is not a bad number, it was down compared to the years of big-time scoring. Anthony led the league in 2013 with 28.7 points per game. The 10-time All-Star was one of the best overall scorers in his prime. Had that prime been in OKC with all this talent, Anthony might have recorded more success than all of his years combined with the New York Knicks.


Dennis Schroder (2018-2020)

Dennis Schroder

This is one deep team when a former Sixth Man of the Year runner-up is near the end of your bench. Schroder played for two seasons, averaged 15.5 points his first year, and then a near-career-high 18.9 points his second year. His second-year stat line saw Schroder finish second in the Sixth Man of the Year voting, and helped OKC land a first-round pick from the Lakers in 2020.

Schroder played alongside Gilgeous-Alexander and Paul in 2018-2019. The team went a long way for a team that didn’t receive a lot of attention from the media. We saw how well those three played together. It would be even better with a group of All-Stars.


Serge Ibaka (2009-2016)

Serge Ibaka OKC

Ibaka grew to become the loveable man in the middle. Ibaka, formally known as “Serge Iblocka” was adored for his hustle and defensive ability. He led the league in blocks in 2012 and 2013, making All-Defensive First Team three consecutive seasons from 2012 to 2014

After his successful run in OKC, he played briefly for the Orlando Magic and then was acquired by the Toronto Raptors, where he helped the team win their first NBA championship in 2019. It was his second time playing in the NBA Finals with his first being in OKC in 2012. 

Credit for an idea: Ball Numbers