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Oklahoma City Thunder

Founded in 1967, the Oklahoma City Thunder (formerly known as Seattle Supersonics) are a Western Conference team from the Northwest division. Sam Presti currently occupies the general manager role at the organization. The Oklahoma City Thunder are coached by Bill Donovan, and play their home games at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. OKC’s home court holds 18,000 fans, and is known for its electric atmosphere, especially in the playoffs. The Thunder have consistently been a force in the Western Conference throughout the last few seasons, and are considered one of the most successfully built small market teams in the league.

History of OKC Thunder

The OKC Thunder weren’t always the Thunder. In fact, the team used to play out of Seattle, and was known as the Supersonics, or Sonics for short. The Sonics have played in the NBA since 1967, and were the first major league sports franchise in Seattle. The organization struggled to compete with powerhouse teams like the Lakers and Celtics in the late 60’s-early 70’s.

It took until 1975 for the Seattle Supersonics to make their first playoff appearance. After this season, the Sonics began to ascend in the NBA. Seattle would go on to win the Western Conference in back-to-back seasons in 1978-79. The Sonics won their first and only NBA Championship in 1979, beating the Washington Bullets in five games.

The Sonics would go relatively quite through the 80’s, failing to collect any hardware from this decade. Seattle failed to put together a competitive team for a number of seasons during this time period. The arrival of coach George Karl in 1992 changed the trajectory of this franchise, giving it the boost it needed to get back into the upper tier of NBA teams. The duo of Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton was beginning to develop into quite the tandem on offense and defense. The Sonics would go 63-19 in the 1993-94 season, recording the best record in the NBA that year, winning their division for the first time since 1979.

The success of the 90’s brought four division titles (1994, 1996, 1997, 1998) and one finals appearance (1996), but no championship. From here, things slowly declined for the Sonics in Seattle. After just one playoff appearance in the early 2000’s (2004-05), the franchise found themselves in the cellar of the NBA, failing to compete with the best. After the 2006-07 season, the Sonics had done so poorly, they had been awarded the second overall pick in the upcoming draft. With that pick, the Sonics selected the elite scoring talent named Kevin Durant. Durant hit the ground running in Seattle, and was considered to be the next big thing in the NBA after a huge rookie season.

Despite the hype around Durant, the Sonics went 20-62 that season, a franchise-worst record. Unfortunately for Seattle fans, this would be the last time that the team would play a home game in Seattle. The Sonics would be relocated after the 2007-08 season, landing in Oklahoma City, and renamed the Thunder.

The Thunder drafted point guard Russell Westbrook in the 2008 draft, who would start for most of his rookie season. The young Thunder team struggled in the first few seasons in Oklahoma City, but soon meshed into a dangerous team out of the West.

By 2011-2012, OKC had a squad that could go head-to-head with any team in the league. Led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who had both established themselves as some of the best young talent in the NBA, the Thunder were making deep runs in the postseason. James Harden earned the sixth man of the year award coming off of the bench for OKC, proving the talent they had on the roster. Although they were a young team, the Thunder was ready to contend. OKC made their first appearance in the NBA Finals as the Thunder in 2012, where they would end up losing to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in five games.

The 2012 Finals appearance was the pinnacle of the Thunder’s success in OKC so far. The Thunder were unable to keep the explosive Harden around, as he eventually chose to sign with the Rockets. This left just Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in OKC, which was plenty for the Thunder to compete.

Durant stuck around until the 2015-16 season. In this year, the Thunder were looking strong throughout the regular season and postseason. OKC even had a 3-1 lead over the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, but went on to blow the series in seven games. This was the last time Kevin Durant would be in a Thunder uniform, as he joined the same Warriors team that beat him just months before, signing with Golden State in the summer of 2016.

Durant’s departure represented the beginning of the Westbrook era in OKC. Russell Westbrook would have a historic season in 2016-17. The point guard became only the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double over the course of an entire NBA season. Westbrook put up 31.6 ppg, 10.4 asp, 10.7 rpg in his first season without Durant, and did enough to earn MVP honors for the 2016-17 season.

Since 2017, the Thunder have continued to be a threat in the Western Conference. Quality players like Victor Oladipo have came and went, keeping the Thunder competitive in a tightly contested Western Conference. In 2017, the Thunder would trade Oladipo and the young Domantas Sabonis for Paul George. The move was considered risky, as George’s contract was set to expire at the end of the season. The small forward ended all speculation, as he signed a long term deal after just one season with the Thunder .

Historic Players of Thunder history

The Oklahoma City Thunder have had the luxury of having some of the best NBA talents of all time in their organization. Listed below are the players that have done the most for this franchise on the court. Note that some players played for the organization while it was located in Seattle.  This list is based upon the production and performance the player has had exclusively with the Oklahoma City Thunder/Seattle Supersonics.

  1. Gary Payton (1990-2002) Point Guard – 999 games played, 18.2 ppg, 7.4 apg, 2.1 steals per game
  2. Russell Westbrook (2008-present) Point Guard – 821 games played, 23.0 ppg, 8.4 apg, 7.0 rpg
  3. Kevin Durant (2007-2016) Small Forward – 641 games played, 27.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg
  4. Shawn Kemp – (1989-1997) Forward/Center – 625 games played, 16.2 ppg, 9.6 rpg
  5. Jack Sikma – (1977-1986) Center – 715 games played, 16.8 ppg, 10.8 apg

2018-19 and Beyond

The future of the Oklahoma City is bright. The Thunder are a team that continue to gain momentum and traction, as they are continuously able to attract and maintain plenty of star power on their roster. In the summer of 2018, the Thunder were able to sign superstar small forward Paul George, keeping George in OKC until the 2020-21 season with a player option for the following year.

In fact, most of the Thunder core are on contracts that will keep them in OKC for multiple seasons to come. The entire starting five of Russell Westbrook, Terrance Ferguson, Paul George, Jerami Grant, and Steven Adams are all under contract until at least the end of the 2020-21 season.

The Thunder’s roster has a good mix of proven veteran talent, mixed with promising up-and-comers. 25-year-olders Steven Adams and Dennis Schroder are two of OKC’s most developed and dangerous young talents. Both players have proven themselves on huge stages for the Thunder already, and the pair still has much potential to fulfill. These two, combined with stars like Paul George an Russell Westbrook, bring a potent dynamic to this Thunder team.

This is a Thunder organization that is known to be able to put together a roster. GM Sam Presti has made a name for himself as a big-move maker. Along with this reputation, the Thunder are also becoming known as a very good drafting team. After all, this is the organization that picked Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden out of their respective draft classes. With the solid core of players, plus the world class scouting and drafting ability of the OKC organization, the Thunder have the look of a team who will remain competitive for years to come.

Oklahoma City Thunder 2018/19 NBA Results

DateFixtureQ1Q2Q3Q4OTFinal
2019.04.23 OKC
POR
37
29
23
32
30
27
25
30
115
118
2019.04.21 POR
OKC
26
24
24
22
29
22
32
30
111
98
2019.04.19 POR
OKC
22
21
17
28
43
37
26
34
108
120
2019.04.16 OKC
POR
31
26
23
28
21
37
19
23
94
114
2019.04.14 OKC
POR
25
39
23
15
21
22
30
28
99
104
2019.04.10 OKC
MIL
29
31
39
27
30
31
29
27
127
116
2019.04.09 HOU
OKC
32
26
28
25
33
29
18
32
111
112
2019.04.07 OKC
MIN
38
31
24
29
33
37
37
29
132
126
2019.04.05 DET
OKC
34
30
32
35
30
32
14
26
110
123
2019.04.02 LAL
OKC
28
34
27
25
23
35
25
25
103
119
2019.03.31 DAL
OKC
31
24
27
32
22
19
26
28
106
103
2019.03.29 DEN
OKC
33
29
23
23
30
23
29
30
115
105
2019.03.27 IND
OKC
27
29
27
16
15
31
30
31
99
107
2019.03.25 OKC
MEM
23
31
25
23
30
32
25
29
103
115
2019.03.22 OKC
TOR
22
29
26
29
35
22
33
29
116
109
2019.03.20 TOR
OKC
39
31
24
24
29
23
18
32
13
4
123
114
2019.03.18 MIA
OKC
27
25
31
30
28
20
30
32
116
107
2019.03.16 GSW
OKC
40
27
24
19
23
25
23
17
110
88

About Seth Hatcher

Seth Hatcher
Seth has been writing content for many of the big name sports sites. How long you ask? Well he'll reply with something along the lines of since Liverpool last won the league! A big Arsenal and NBA fan, Seth immerses himself in sporting action throughout the year. #COYG !! :)