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NBA History: 5 Greatest Oklahoma City Thunder players ever

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
29 Sep 2019, 18:55 IST

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are among the best Thunder players of all-time
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are among the best Thunder players of all-time

The Oklahoma City Thunder have only been in existence since 2008, although the franchise has managed to quickly establish themselves as one of the NBA's best and most consistent. Since their inception just over a decade ago, the Thunder have missed out on the playoffs just twice, and came close to winning the title in 2012 and 2016.

Nevertheless, after three consecutive first-round playoff exits, the summer of 2019 saw Sam Presti hit the reset button, and the Thunder are now heading towards a potentially long-term rebuild.

Due to this, it is the perfect time to assess the first 11 years of the franchise, and here are the five greatest players in the history of the OKC Thunder. 


#5 Steven Adams

Steven Adams has played a big role since Billy Donovan took over as head coach
Steven Adams has played a big role since Billy Donovan took over as head coach

Steven Adams is still only 26 years of age, although he has now spent five seasons as a starter for the Thunder. Since becoming the first-ever New Zealander to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft, Adams has made an impression with his physical play, and many general managers have labeled him as the NBA's toughest competitor.

Adams has also managed to improve his point and rebound totals each year, and the 2018-19 season was the best of his career as he almost averaged a double-double for the first time. Under contract for a further two seasons, Adams is expected to play an even bigger role for the Thunder going forward, and he is currently on track to have his jersey retired with the franchise.


#4 James Harden

James Harden appeared from the bench during his three years in Oklahoma City Thunder
James Harden appeared from the bench during his three years in Oklahoma City Thunder

Harden was selected with the third overall pick of the 2009 draft, and in his debut season, he produced one of the best three-point shooting seasons by a rookie in NBA history. Harden took that momentum into his second season as he scored 10-plus points on 54 occasions from the bench, although it wasn't until the 2012-13 season that he really became a star.

Despite only starting two games, Harden averaged 16.8 points, 4.1 assists, and 3.7 rebounds as he helped the Thunder to their first NBA Finals appearance. The then 22-year-old was also named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year and appeared set to form a big-3 alongside Westbrook and Durant.

Nevertheless, the Thunder failed to agree on a new deal with Harden, and he was quickly traded to the Houston Rockets - creating one of the biggest 'What-Ifs' in NBA history.

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