2013-14 NBA Season Preview Player Power Rankings for OKC Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder have an established trio of stars, but the key to their championship aspirations will be how the rest of their roster performs. It still remains to be seen whether OKC has enough talent past the "Big Three" on its roster to make a championship run.
How do the rest of the players stack up? Find out with these player power rankings.
The players are ranked by their overall talent and all-around games, not by their value to the Thunder or their role on the team.
Players like Nick Collison and Thabo Sefolosha are very important players for Oklahoma City, but their offensive deficiencies are masked by their superstar teammates.
We already know who the top three players are, but here is how the rest of the roster shakes out.
14. Hasheem Thabeet, C
Thabeet has been a disappointment since being selected with the second overall pick in 2009. Regardless, he provides a gigantic body and the ability to protect the rim (although he commits fouls at a high rate).
His offensive game is non-existent, he’s slow defending pick-and-rolls and his fouls prevent him from getting extended minutes. He would need to make major steps to be anything more than depth at this point.
13. Ryan Gomes, SF
Gomes showed some promise early in his career, but he has since fallen off and his shooting percentages have dipped precipitously over the last two years.
Despite this, he has provided decent production at the NBA level while playing around 30 minutes per game. He’s more of a known quantity than the other non-guaranteed contracts which gets him the highest ranking of the group.
Remaining Guaranteed Contracts
12. Andre Roberson, SF
The rookie out of Colorado is a mix between the forward spots. He is athletic with long arms and is capable of matching up defensively against small forwards. He also brings a terrific nose for the ball, something he has displayed in the preseason by grabbing 16 rebounds in 35 total minutes.
Offensively, he doesn’t have a reliable jump shot or the ability to score off the dribble so he will struggle to find playing time.
His defense and rebounding are enticing skills, but his offensive game needs some refinement before he sees substantial minutes.
11. Perry Jones III, PF
Perry Jones is a player with boatloads of talent, but he wasn’t able to put it all together at Baylor and it resulted in his fall to the bottom of the first round in 2012.
He hasn’t earned playing time yet, and part of the problem is that, like Roberson, he’s somewhat of a “tweener” who is a mix between a 3 and a 4.
His ceiling is still extremely high, but it seems unlikely that he can contribute anything this season.
10. Steven Adams, C
Steven Adams was considered a project coming out of Pittsburgh, but the rookie has been impressive during the preseason. At the very least, he should be the backup center, but he could eventually take the starting job if he adjusts to the NBA game quickly enough.
The 7-footer has shown a good touch around the basket, and while he’s struggled to defend the pick-and-roll, he’s been physical defending the post.
Until we see him get more minutes against NBA competition, it’s tough to rank him ahead of established veterans. With more exposure, however, he could very shortly be ranked ahead of the next two players.
9. Derek Fisher, PG
At 38-years-old, Derek Fisher is well past his prime. Even in that prime, he was a valuable role player who played solid defense and was unspectacular on offense except for in clutch moments.
He’s coming off a terrible shooting season (33 percent from the floor), and his age has caught up to him and made him a defensive liability.
Leadership will be his most important contribution for this season because he'll serve as a mentor for Reggie Jackson. On the court, he will just be looked at to spell Jackson until Russell Westbrook gets back.
8. Kendrick Perkins, C
While the trade for Kendrick Perkins played a large role in OKC’s ascension into title contention, his best days are behind him.
He was never an offensive talent, but he shot the worst field-goal percentage of his career last season. More importantly, his defensive value is plummeting.
When his Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is compared to the player he’s matched up against, he has a net PER of -7.7 per 48 minutes, according to 82games.com.
He still brings experience and a championship pedigree to the Thunder but, like Fisher, at this stage of his career he is much more valuable for his intangibles than his on-court production.
7. Jeremy Lamb, SG
As the 12th pick in the 2012 draft, Jeremy Lamb is all about potential. We haven’t had the chance to see him play significant minutes in the NBA yet, but he’s a very talented young man.
He logged playing time in the D-League last season, and performed very well in that role. Then he was one of the best players at the Las Vegas Summer League, earning All-Summer League First Team honors.
Throughout the preseason he’s shown good activity on the defensive end, averaging over a block and two steals while grabbing close to five boards per game.
He’s also shown the ability to create his own shot off the dribble, but the concerning thing is that he hasn’t been able to knock down those shots with any kind of consistency.
Lamb is hitting 28 percent of his field-goal attempts and an abysmal eight percent from three-point land. If he can improve those numbers and become a legitimate offensive threat off the bench for this team, he has the all-around game to jump a couple of spots in these power rankings.
He already has a more complete game and provides more on-court value than Kendrick Perkins and Derek Fisher. For now, however, he’s stuck at No. 7.
6. Nick Collison, PF
Nick Collison is an integral part of the OKC rotation. He plays good defense and makes good decisions with the basketball.
Despite being a crucial role player for the Thunder machine, his value comes mostly from his energy. He can finish around the rim and hit his fair share of mid-range jumpers, but he doesn’t have much of an offensive game.
On defense, he shows good footwork and a knack for taking charges. He is ranked ahead of Jeremy Lamb because he's proven his ability to contribute in the NBA, but Lamb could very well leapfrog him in the rankings because of a much better all-around game.
5. Thabo Sefolosha, SG
Thabo Sefolosha is a fairly one-dimensional player, but he does his job extremely well. He’s an elite perimeter defender, holding opposing shooting guards to a PER of 12.6 and small forwards to 13.1 (league average is 15.0) per 48 minutes, according to 82games.com.
On offense, it’s a different story.
He’s not a shot creator, either for himself or for others, and 76 percent of his field goals were assisted according to HoopData.com.
To his credit, Sefolosha displayed an improved shooting stroke, making over 40 percent of his three-pointers last year, but he is hardly an offensive threat.
Like Nick Collison, Sefolosha is one of the “glue guys” for this Thunder team. He is scrappy and makes all the little plays that win games, but he doesn’t have the all-around game to be ranked any higher on this list.
4. Reggie Jackson, PG
This may be a controversial landing spot for Mr. Jackson due to the very limited sample size of his coming-out party.
That said, he was a revelation in the playoffs and averaged a very respectable 13.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
He will be asked to resume that starting role for the first month of the upcoming season, and he’s handled the task well in the preseason. Jackson has recorded a 4:1 assist-to-turnover ratio so far, and he’s done a very good job of initiating the offense.
Like Russell Westbrook, he is aggressive when he attacks the rim and is dangerous in transition. He showed his scoring prowess against the Philadelphia 76ers this preseason, finishing with a stat line of 29 points, six rebounds and eight assists while shooting 59 percent from the field.
Thabo Sefolosha plays a very critical role for the Thunder, but Jackson is a better all-around player and he is poised to have a breakout season.
3. Serge Ibaka, PF
Size matters. At least, in the NBA it does.
He’s a dominant rim protector, leading the league in blocks for the past two seasons, and he does so without committing many fouls (second in the league last year with 1.14 blocks per foul).
On offense, he doesn’t really possess a back-to-the-basket game, but his jump shot has improved dramatically over his career. He boasts a very respectable mid-range jumper and extended his range to three-point land last season.
While many of the previous rankings were close calls, Ibaka and the next two guys form a very clear-cut “Big Three” that rivals any other.
2. Russell Westbrook, PG
There aren’t many (if any) No. 2s out there that are better than Russell Westbrook. He’s a lightning rod for criticism because many feel he doesn’t play as a point guard should. That may be the case, but he is an exceptional basketball player.
Unquestionably, there are areas in which he needs to get better. For example, he still has some ways to go in the decision-making department. His efficiency could stand to increase and he needs to put forth more effort on the defensive side of the ball.
Nevertheless, he is a top-15 player in the NBA (No. 9 in the 2012 ESPN player rankings) and he has improved in every season.
He’s one of the best rebounding point guards in the league as well as being an aggressive scorer. Without Kevin Martin on the roster, Westbrook will need to be more of a facilitator on a team without many players capable of creating their own shot.
He would be the best player on most other NBA teams, but he shares the court with the man you’re about to see.
1. Kevin Durant, SF
Kevin Durant has professed his hatred of being second-best in so many of his endeavors. While it’s not the prize he’s searching for, he comes in at No. 1 on this list, and was there ever any doubt that he would?
He’s long been one of the best scorers in the game and he has the scoring titles to prove it. But last season saw Durant take the next step towards becoming one of the game’s best players.
Durant exhibited ridiculous efficiency as a scorer and joined the exclusive 50-40-90 club—a club with only six members in the history of the NBA.
In addition, he also showed off a better all-around game, averaging career highs in assists, steals and blocks. His PER was second only to LeBron James, and there is no question that Durant is the best player in Oklahoma City.