FanSided recently released the Mount Rushmore for every franchise in the NBA. Do you agree with the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Mount Rushmore?
The Oklahoma City Thunder are entering only their 10th season of existence. However, when you add in the organization’s history of the Seattle SuperSonics, there is a rich history of basketball.
Whether it was in Seattle or now in Oklahoma City, the organization has received excellent fan support. The franchise has one championship victory and has been a consistent participant in the NBA Playoffs. Since missing the postseason the first seven seasons of their existence, the SuperSonics and Thunder have never gone more than four seasons without a playoff berth.
There are a number of factors that go into being competitive every season. A stable front office is important, as leadership begins at the top. After that, a coaching staff that understands how to get the most of their players is important. However, there is only so much a coaching staff can do without players. At the end of the day, you need to have the talent to succeed.
The Thunder and SuperSonics have had a number of great players suit up for them. That is evident from the All-Time team in NBA 2K18 that was announced for the organization. It was driven home, even more, when FanSided released their Mount Rushmore for every team in the NBA.
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FanSided put together four-man groupings for every NBA organization like Mount Rushmore in South Dakota with the faces of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
To make the Mount Rushmore for an NBA franchise, you have to be the best of the best. That rings true for the Thunder and SuperSonics, who had quite a foursome put together.
The Thunder/SuperSonic Mount Rushmore is Gary Payton, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Jack Sikma. Those are four of the most talented players to ever suit up for the organization, and they all have good cases to make the cut.
Payton is arguably the best player in franchise history. He is the all-time franchise leader in a number of categories. Of the 51 statistics that Basketball-Reference has on its team index page, Payton is in the top-10 of 32 of them, and No. 1 in 14. Payton is the all-time leader in games and minutes played, field goals, assists and steals, to name a few.
Durant and Westbrook are actually on more of the all-time lists than Payton. Durant is on 33 of them, while Westbrook leads the way with 34. Despite leaving the organization in the summer of 2016, Durant should remain on these lists for many seasons to come as he had some eye-popping numbers.
If Westbrook commits to the organization like he did once already in 2016, he will re-write these record books if he remains healthy. Last season Westbrook averaged a triple-double, scoring 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game. If he remains in Oklahoma City and produces near that level, he will knock Payton from the top spot in multiple categories.
Last but not least is the underrated Sikma. Sikma is a borderline Hall-of-Famer, but surefire one of the greatest SuperSonics in the history of the franchise.
Sikma averaged 16.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game in his nine seasons with the Sonics, adding 3.3 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks as well. He was an All-Star seven out of those nine seasons. Sikma is the franchise leader in defensive and total rebounds, as well as defensive win shares.
It would be difficult to place anyone above these four on the Thunder and SuperSonic Mount Rushmore. They are all great selections and earned the chance to be listed among the best of the best with the organization.