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Updates

2019-20 Season

Season Recap: Newcomer Shai Gilbeous-Alexander led the Thunder in scoring while his backcourt mate, Chris Paul, was tops in assists as the team went 44–28 and made it to the playoffs. Oklahoma City had a balanced offense as well as a solid bench led by Dennis Schroder, the third man in the OKC backcourt. The Thunder pushed the powerhouse Houston Rockets to the limit in their playoff match-up, but lost Game 7 in the frantic final moments.

January 13, 2020: 21-year-old guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander became the youngest player in history with a triple-double that included 20 rebounds.

Season Preview: After trading away Paul George and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder may have trouble making the playoffs. But they should be very entertaining with experienced newcomers Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari joining veteran center Steve Adams and young guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The Thunder traded their stars for draft picks, and should be able to rebuild their club quickly in the next few years.

2018-19 Season

Season Recap: The Thunder won 49 games and made the playoffs, but lost in the first round for the third year in a row. Paul George and Russell Westbrook combined to average more than 50 points and 19 rebounds a game. Both players were chosen to play in the All-Star Game. Westbrook also led the league in assists. The team’s supporting cast included center Steve Adams, forward Jeremi Grant, and Sixth Man Dennis Schroeder, who was acquired from the Hawks in a three-way deal.

April 10, 2019: Russell Westbrook finished the regular season as the NBA’s assists leader, with 10.9 per game, and teammate Paul George led the league with 2.2 steals per game.

February 16, 2019: Hamidou Diallo won the Slam Dunk Contest at the 2019 NBA All-Star Game. On one of his dunks he jumped over Shaquille O’Neal. On another he jumped over the rapper Quavo.

February 14, 2019: Russell Westbrook set a new NBA record with his 11th triple-double in a row. The old record was held by Wilt Chamberlain, with 9.

Season Preview: Paul George surprised the experts by staying with OKC, and his partnership with Russell Westbrook should get the Thunder to 50 wins if both stay healthy. How far they go in the playoffs after losing in last season’s opening round will depend on their commitment to teamwork and defense. Dennis Schroder, acquired in a trade over the summer, should help in both areas. Centers Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel will have to be great under the boards for the Thunder to challenge the Warriors and Rockets.

2017-18 Season

Season Recap: The “Big Three” of veterans Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony combined to average over 60 points a game, while young center Steve Adams had his best season as a pro. Westbrook 10.3 led the league with assists per game and also had 25 triple-doubles, which were the most in the NBA. He averaged a triple-double for the season for the second year in a row—something no one had ever done before. The season ended in disappointment, however, when the Thunder lost in the opening round of the playoffs, to the Utah Jazz.

March 18, 2018: Carmelo Anthony passed Hall of Famer Reggie Miller for 19th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list in a game against the Toronto Raptors.

January 1, 2018: Russell Westbrook was named Western Conference Player of the Month for December 2017. He scored 25+ points 12 times and had 10+ assists 11 times.

October 28, 2017: Russell Westbrook became he first player in history to record a triple-double against every NBA team. He had 12 points, 13 assists, and 13 rebounds in a victory over the Chicago Bulls.

Season Preview: The Thunder were busy over the summer building a team to challenge the champion Golden State Warriors. They added Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to a team led by MVP Russell Westbrook. OKC should be among the best in the West, but the “real” season will start for the Thunder come playoff time.

2016-17 Season

Season Recap: The team played its first season in Oklahoma City without Kevin Durant, who signed with the Warriors. That left Russell Westbrook as the Thunder’s go-to guy, and he responded with 42 “triple-doubles”—the most in NBA history. Westbrook led the NBA in scoring for the second time in three seasons, with 31.6 points per game, and was named league MVP. Unfortunately, he was unable to get his club deep into the playoffs, as OKC lost in the first round to the Rockets.

2015-16 Season

Season Preview: Injuries destroyed the Thunder’s hope of a return trip to the NBA Finals in 2014–15, but the trio of Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, and Russell Westbrook are ready to make another run this year. Veteran center Enes Kanter, who came to OKC from the Jazz last season, provides rebounding and defense, while guard Dion Waiters, who came over from the Cavs, can score in double-figures if needed.

2014-15 Season

Season Recap: Injuries kept All-Star Kevin Durant off the court for much of the season, and the Thunder missed the playoffs by one win. Russell Westbrook stepped up and not only led the team in scoring—he led the entire NBA with 28.1 points per game. He also led the NBA with 11 triple-doubles. Westbrook was named Western Conference Player of the Month in February, March, and April.

February 15, 2015: Russell Westbrook scored 41 points to lead the West squad to victory in the NBA All-Star Game. He set a record with 27 points in the first half and was named MVP. The only player to score more points in an All-Star Game was Wilt Chamberlain, with 42 in 1962.

Season Preview: Injuries to Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant put the Thunder’s season in grave jeopardy, but also created an opportunity for their teammates to take a bigger role. Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb, and Steven Adams have the talent to be big contributors as Oklahoma City tries to make it back to the NBA Finals.

2013-14 Season

Season Recap: The Thunder won the Northwest Division with 59 victories—second-most in the NBA. Kevin Durant won his fourth scoring title and his first MVP award, as he led the club in points, assists, 3-pointers, and steals. He was also second in rebounds. Durant had been the MVP runner-up the previous three seasons. In the playoffs, the Thunder advanced to the conference finals but lost to the Spurs.

More Go-To Guys

This card from 1970 was called a “tallboy.” It was the same width as regular cards, but much longer. Topps made them for two seasons before going back to the normal size. (Topps, Inc.)

This card of Nick Collison shows him in his suit on Draft Day in 2003. (Topps, Inc.)

  • Bob Rule — 6 ‘9″ Center/Forward
    Born: 6/29/1944
    Played for Team: 1967–68 to 1970–71
    Bob Rule was a star from the moment he stepped on the court for Seattle in 1967. An injury to his Achilles tendon ended his All-Star career, but before getting hurt he was averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds a night for the Sonics.

  • Slick Watts — 6′ 1″ Guard
    Born: 7/22/1951
    Played for Team: 1973–74 to 1977–78
    Donald “Slick” Watts had lightning-fast hands and feet, which enabled him to lead the NBA in assists and steals. Watts was also very involved with charities and community events in Seattle, making him one of the most popular Sonics in history.

  • Shawn Kemp — 6′ 10″ Forward/Center
    Born: 11/26/1969
    Played for Team: 1989–90 to 1996–97
    Few NBA players have ever combined power and skill the way Shawn Kemp did. On many of his drives to the basket, opponents simply moved out of the way. In the 1996 NBA Finals against the Chicago Bulls, he averaged over 20 points and 10 rebounds a game.

  • Sam Perkins— 6′ 9″ Forward/Center
    Born: 6/14/1961
    Played for Team: 1992–93 to 1997–98
    Sam Perkins could play any position on the court. His skill and experience helped the Sonics reach the 1996 NBA Finals. Perkins helped the team reach the playoffs every year he played for the Sonics.

  • Nick Collison — 6′ 10″ Forward/Center
    Born: 10/26/1980
    First Season with Team: 2003–04
    Nick Collison and Kevin Durant were the last two Thunder players to have worn the Seattle uniform. Collison was a standout at the power forward position, giving the team great defense year in and year out.

More Fun Facts

Kevin Durant twists around Blake Griffin on the cover of a 2014 Sports Illustrated. The magazine celebrated Durant’s first MVP award. (TIME Inc./Sports Illustrated)

  • MVP! MVP!
    In 2013–13, Kevin Durant was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. No player in Thunder or Sonics history had ever been named the league’s MVP. Durant, Tom Chambers and Lenny Wilkens had won All-Star Game MVPs and Dennis Johnson was named Finals MVP.

  • RHYME & REASON
    Tom Meschery was one of the team’s first stars in the 1960s and early 1970s. After basketball, he earned a masters degree in poetry, published a book of poems, and taught English in Nevada. Meschery is a descendant of the famed Russian author Leo Tolstoy. He is a member of the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame.

  • A TOUCH OF GREATNESS
    In 1996, the NBA celebrated its 50th year by picking its 50 Greatest Players and 10 Greatest Coaches. Lenny Wilkens was the only person to make both lists.

League Leaders

Topps went back to the tallboys for one season, in 1976–77. These cards were taller and also wider than their regular cards. It’s impossible to find holders for them! (Topps, Inc.)

  • SCORING
    2009–10 — Kevin Durant — 30.2
    2010–11 — Kevin Durant — 27.7
    2011–12 — Kevin Durant — 28.0
    2013–14 — Kevin Durant — 32.0

  • REBOUNDING
    No member of the team has led the league in rebounding.

  • ASSISTS
    1969–70 — Lenny Wilkens — 9.1*
    1975–76 — Slick Watts — 8.1*
    2018—19 — Russell Westbrook — 10.7
  • STEALS
    1975–76 — Slick Watts — 3.2*
    1993–94 — Nate McMillan — 3.0*
    1995–96 — Gary Payton — 2.9*
    2018—19 — Paul George — 2.2
    Steals did not become an official statistic until 1973–74.

  • BLOCKED SHOTS
    2011–12 — Serge Ibaka — 3.7
    2012–13 — Serge Ibaka — 3.0

    Blocks did not become an official statistic until 1973–74.

    * Played as Seattle Supersonics

Playing for the Championship

Fans bought this program during the 1996 NBA Finals. The Sonics lost to the Bulls in six games. (National Basketball Association)

THUNDER in the FINALS

National Basketball Association Finals

SEASON OPPONENT SCORE
1977–78 Washington Bullets Lost 3–4*
1978–79 Washington Bullets Won 4–1*
1995–96 Chicago Bulls Lost 2–4*
2011–12 Miami Heat Lost 1–4

* Played as Seattle Supersonics

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